Since the 1970’s yoga has evolved from an esoteric practice that often required travelling to find a teacher, to being so commonplace that almost everyone has tried it. The healing benefits of yoga are well-documented, and medical researchers continue to find evidence to support its use for reducing pain, decreasing stress, and improving both mobility and mood.
Locally we have a vast array of teachers and studios who offer classes tailored to every need. Both Newmarket and Aurora have hot yoga studios (Modo) for those who love to work up a sweat. Many studios and fitness centres offer classes that are gentle, restorative or therapeutic. Chair yoga is widely available, as well as combo classes such as Pilates and Yoga, Chi Kung and Yoga, or Yoga Tune Up® (which combines self-massage, strengthening and yoga). Essentially, there is something for every taste, but at this time of year, when the sun finally re-appears, going indoors to a studio class can feel just—wrong.
Luckily, we have local opportunities to change things up and practice outside. Krystle Murray and Sheryl Love started offering their combined fitness and yoga class at Fairy Lake last year, and it grew in popularity as the summer progressed. They will be offering free weekly classes rain or shine at 7:30pm on Thursdays. Their program is called EveryBODY Bootcamp and Yoga and all the information you’ll need is posted in their Facebook Group of the same name.
Calmunity Yoga, also in Newmarket, offers a variety of outdoor options over the summer. These include a Restorative Yoga Class at Fairy Lake, Kids Yoga on Tuesdays, an “All Levels” class on Wednesdays and Family Yoga on Saturdays. These classes require registration and are available on a sliding scale fee.
A little further afield (pun intended) you can try out Yoga Beside the Sheep at Hutchings Farm in Pefferlaw. Instructor Shannon Perry explains that she loves teaching alongside the calming sounds of birdsong, wind in the trees, and the baaing of lambs. The experience includes learning to make salad jars with the fresh produce from the farm. The class schedule has not yet been posted, but check their Facebook page for upcoming dates.
Another scenic yoga experience is offered at Janet Tuenschel’s flower farm, Country Cut Flowers, just outside of Newmarket. Tiziana D’Angela, owner of Stretching Canvas studio, will offer a meditation and art workshop on July 27th, 2019. Local teacher Carina Clark also offers weekly gentle yoga classes in the barn, depending on demand. Check Facebook or countrycutflowers.ca for updates.
If you love water and a balance challenge, you can try Stand-Up Paddleboard Yoga with Carly Smith. Carly hosts a number of classes in Uxbridge/Sunderland and Beaverton, but can also come and teach a private party if you have water and willing participants.
Are you up for a festival experience with camping, entertainment and an optional 10Km run? The Muskoka Yoga Festival runs July 19, 20 and 21st, 2019 in Huntsville, Ontario. Check muskokayogafestival.com for details.
Finally, if your love of yoga is second only to your love of beer, Market Brewing Co. in Newmarket will be offering a monthly “Planks and Pints” event where you can practice with Catharine West from You Align Yoga and then chillax with your favourite brew. Schedule post on the Events Pages at marketbrewingco.com.
Yoga is all about flexibility in mind and body, so in the tradition of salutations to the sun, you can take your asana outside and make the most of the warmth and light.
Elaine Jackson is a freelance writer and yoga teacher. You can find her at www.jacksonyoga.ca.