With warmer weather and sunny skies, yoga students are rolling out their mats on various patches of grass around the city, including small community parks.
The New York Restoration Project, an organization founded by Bette Midler to restore New York City parks and create open spaces, is holding free yoga classes in two of its community gardens in East Harlem and Brooklyn.
â€œMany other outside yoga events are in larger parks and appeal to the masses, said Lauren Loeb, the organizationâ€™s spokesperson about its Club Fit program. â€œNYRPâ€™s outside yoga classes take place in intimate community gardens.â€
Target East Harlem Community Garden on East 117th Street, a tiny enclave with two picnic tables and a small grass lawn, holds a weekly yoga session every Saturday morning at 11 a.m. The program holds another yoga class simultaneously in Brooklyn at its Jane Baily Community Garden on Greene Avenue.
The East Target Harlem yoga classes are small and geared toward the least practiced person to make the class accessible to everyone. Many of the class participants live across the street or in the neighborhood.
â€œA lot of people from these buildings attend the parkâ€™s events,â€ said Lourdes Acevado, an East Harlem resident. The Harlem native maintains the parkâ€™s grounds and watches the children in the park while their young mothers practice yoga.
â€œObviously, because this is free, itâ€™s nice to come here on Saturdays,â€ said Roz Thomas, 31, who lives across the street from the park and practices yoga at a local studio. â€œYoga is a spiritual practice, so itâ€™s nice to be outside and not inside a studio.â€
Thomas attends Harlem Yoga Studio for her studio practice, but says there arenâ€™t a lot of options for practicing yoga in her neighborhood. Harlem only has two yoga studios â€” Bikram East Harlem on 4 Luis Munoz Marin Blvd. and Harlem Yoga Studio on 44 W. 125th St.