Monday, June 21, 2010

Yoga In The Park; It's Oh-So-Good

Move over Reformer and Spinning classes. My new favorite thing to do on Saturday mornings is Yoga In The Park.

This past Saturday morning, I met five friends at McKinley Park. We lined up our mats together, in full view of McKinley's famed rose garden, and spent 75 minutes breathing, moving and appreciating the beauty of being outdoors.

Yoga In The Park was created by local instructor, Gina Garcia. Ironically, I've known Gina for years but am just now enjoying the connection we have together as yogis. Gina has selflessly offered up her talents, her experience and her great playlists to our community with Yoga In The Park. Every class is free, but the experience is priceless.

Since discovering yoga nearly ten years ago, I've often said that the only downside of our Western practice of yoga is that it is generally not widely available to the masses. Studios are too expensive, gyms don't offer a "true experience," and instructors usually don't have the resources or the time to cultivate community outreach through yoga.

But now, thanks to the lovely Gina, all that is changing in the greater Sacramento area.

Gina has completed multiple trainings with the famed Baron Baptiste, who is known for his rigorous, yet passionate practice. One thing I love about Gina's teaching style is the fact that she puts her heart and soul into yoga. Her music is strong, she weaves themes into her teaching and she puts forth an energy that is radiant and warm. As she moves through the rows of students, it's impossible not to feel the sweetness of her presence.

Prepare to work hard in Gina's class. On Saturday, she had us in Bow pose at least three times, possibly four. On my final attempt at the pose, she caught my shoulders from behind and literally arced my back into what felt like the perfect Bow. It was a great adjustment; one that I would expect from a very good and very experienced instructor. It was an adjustment that I'm still feeling, three days later!

I'm going to spend as many Saturday mornings as possible in the park this summer. Each time I've gone, at least two people have joined me. Please email me directly or catch me at the club if you would like to come.

And a big thank you to Gina for taking on such a remarkable community endeavor. She's indeed spreading the best karma possible!

Yoga In The Park takes place during the Spring and Summer months each Saturday at 9:00am in McKinley Park. Class is held behind the Rose Garden. Complete details can be found on the Yoga In The Park Facebook page.