NYC offers a lot of free activities during the summer. There are movies played on big screens in the park, puppet shows, dance shows, theatre shows, and numerous classes. The majority of these events take place in the big city parks. I had planned on taking advantage of all these free events this summer, but I did not consider the fact that I was going to be out of town over half of the summer.
All of a sudden it’s the end of July and another school year is creeping up on me. ( I swear that summer vacation is much more fun as an adult….although, they also fly by much faster.) Today, I decided to take advantage of the summer in the city before it’s gone and time to break out my Autumn wardrobe. My first venture into free park-classes was a yoga class at Bryant Park. The only thing I knew about this class is that it starts at 6pm, it’s free, and yoga mats are provided. I was worried that either a) no one would be there and I’d be stuck in a one-on-one instruction with a yogi, or b) that a million people would be there and I wouldn’t have space or a mat. I decided to get there a half hour early to check out the scene.
When I arrived, there were about 50 people spread out among a couple hundred mats. Lucky for me, there was an empty mat in the very front row and center. I sat down next to a middle-age woman who was also trying the class for the first time. She was actually on vacation, and it turns out she works out every day no matter what, and especially on vacation. I told her she was crazy, but I admired her dedication.
Class began when a petite guy with a ponytail picked up a microphone and began telling us how beautiful it is to being doing yoga on the grass in the middle of the city. “Open your ears to the sounds of the city while connecting your body to the Earth and show your love for both.” This guy was a really good yoga teacher, but used a little too much “yoga-ese” for my taste.
I love yoga because it makes me feel relaxed, happy, and like I’m doing something really wise and mature, but often I wish it was silent yoga. The corny phrases are just so ridiculous that I often laugh out loud. I’ll look around expecting others to give me that “I know right?! Who talks like that!” glance, but instead I get the “What the hell are you laughing at?” glare.
Some of my favorite phrase used today were… “Soften your skin”, “Melt your bones into the Earth”, and “Spread the wings of your heart.”
I mean…seriously, that’s funny. Right?
About halfway through yoga…somewhere between downward dog and chair pose… I glanced around the park and realized there were about 400 people in the yoga class! In front of me, there were hundreds of people taking pictures, or just sitting in the park chairs watching. Who could blame them? The whole thing looked pretty impressive and bizarre. It would be impossible for any tourist or local to walk by the park and not notice hundreds of people chanting and moving in sync.
By the time we bowed our heads and said “namaste”, I was feeling pretty darn good about myself. It’s rare that I feel calm any given day, but to be laying in the grass at 6 pm, one block away from Time Square, eyes shut, and have nothing but positive thoughts running through my mind is an incredibly unique experience. I’m positive I’ll try this again, and hopefully some other classes too. Maybe tai chi? Painting in the park? Or Kub!?!?!
I mentioned in a Hilton Head post that our family LOVES to play a Swedish game called Kub. Much to our surprise, Kub classes and games are offered right in the middle of Bryant Park! NYC is constantly surprising me with the many adventures it has to offer.
No one can ever complain about being bored in this town. Money or not, there is ALWAYS something to do.
Cheers and Namaste!