Yoga in the Park

It’s a sunny morning in mid-August. For those who have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of the cooler and crisper fall season, the weather was promising. The sun was beating down enough to warm my skin, but not too strong that I couldn’t sport my favorite autumnal colored houndstooth workout set.

My chance to attend the free Sunday morning yoga class at the Common Ground Park in Sayville had finally come. It wasn’t a monetary or registration issue, as this class is free and open to anyone who wants to attend. It was a scheduling issue; with a family that works almost exclusively in schools, summer is a busy season. So, as I crossed over Montauk Highway and my GPS indicated that the destination was only a few hundred feet away, I was excited! Also, I was a bit nervous.

This Yoga in the Park series had been occurring all summer long, so I was a newcomer. Would arriving only three minutes early have me awkwardly stumbling across the lawn feeling as though I was interrupting and intruding? Would there only be a couple of other people, who all know each other? Would I be the only person who shows, including the instructor? Well, luckily for me, the sight of half a park filled with yoga mats and yogis of all ages and genders eased my mind.

I parked my car and headed over to the group. I unrolled my mat in a perfect spot. I was towards the back, which always makes me most comfortable, but was still in the center with a clear view of the instructor.

The class was great. While I’m no pro, though there really is no such thing in yoga anyway as the instructor reminded us (teachers are students and students are teachers, she said), I like a decently challenging flow. I’ve been practicing yoga for a little over three years now and hope to enroll in a course to become a teacher myself within the next year or so.

I grew up as an athlete, but what sold me on yoga is that it is the one activity where I have truly felt myself getting stronger month by month. I have witnessed my progress. From wishing I could hold a certain pose, taking the baby steps to reach that goal and then finally loving the part of each class where I can now enter the pose, I am filled with a sense of pride and peace.

I would highly recommend this Yoga in the Park class to everyone. If you’re a yogi, it’s always nice to switch things up and get outside and if you’re new, this is the perfect way to give your body (and mind) an introduction to the practice.

There were roughly 35 people at the class. Mostly women, but there were a few men. Ages ranged from early 20s into the 60s and 70s. This naturally meant that there were different skill, or flexibility, levels. The instructor was a fantastic leader. She walked the class through each pose, starting with the basics and then cuing in those who have it in their practice to deepen the poses. I explained this all to my mom when I got home and am hoping that she will come and join me next time!

Most important in yoga is the breath, and that’s my favorite thing about outdoor classes. Something about being in nature allows me to better surrender my thinking mind to the sound of my breath. When I closed my eyes at the end of the practice, I focused on my breath and the sun beating down on my skin after a nice flow and even the sound of cars driving by or people walking their dog through the park failed to take me out of the beautiful ‘nothingness,’ the peace.

Yoga in the Park at The Common Ground in Sayville is sponsored by Om Shanti Yoga and Reiki Center and is being offered at 8:30 a.m. on Sundays into late September. Whether or not you find yoga to be spiritual as well as good exercise, I recommend you take an hour to yourself one morning and go to this class. If nothing else, it’s a great stretch all while lying under the natural beauty of a late summer/early fall morning.

Namaste,

Colleen

Yoga in the Park Dates:

  • August 28

  • September 11

  • September 18

  • September 25