Here Oms the Sun: Yoga in the Park
I always manage to be a little embarrassing. Spreading my blanket out on the damp grass of Strawberry Park in Fairfax last Thursday evening, I attracted the attention of the petite woman next to me in the Sweetgreen t-shirt, standing on a pretty, actual yoga mat. “Is this your first time doing yoga?” she asked kindly. “You can use my mat if you like and I’ll use the blanket.”
I certainly looked like a first time yogini in my rainbow tanktop and gym shorts. “No,” I smiled — thankful but sheepish. “I actually used to teach yoga. Truth is, my bunny rabbit ate my yoga mat.” Which, he did. Thanks, Milhouse the Bunny.
But the point is, she reminded me of the focus of yoga. It’s not about the right yoga pants, mat, water bottle or jewelry. It’s about love and comfort. It’s about not judging others, being present in your body, and feeling connected and at peace. Last night’s “Here Oms the Sun” event at Strawberry Park, sponsored by the Tyson’s Corner Lululemon Athletica, Beloved Yoga, and Sweetgreen accomplished just that.
Yoga with the Beatles
The event was free, the evening was sunny and beautiful and Jafar from Beyond Yoga lead us through the vinyasa-style practice, with humor, love and good energy. A DJ played Beatles music to keep us moving. We warmed up to Across the Universe, saluted the sun to Hey Jude, crunched in our boat poses to Come Together and ended the practice with a peaceful savasana relaxation pose and group om to Imagine. Especially after the week this country has had, it calmed hearts and minds to take a moment to send love and feel connected to the people of West, Texas and Boston, Mass.
Afterward, the folks at Sweetgreen provided perfect summer after-yoga refreshments — wraps, hummus and pita, a make-your-own-granola station and fresh pressed juices. The pineapple-cucumber-mint hydrate juice blew me away.
Breathe in, breathe out
We drew a bit of a crowd and yet no one got embarrassed, giggled or stopped. We hummed and swayed and stretched in the sun, focusing on being present in our practice. After a stressful day in an air-conditioned cubicle, nothing felt more right than my feet in the grass, friends old and new around, good food and good tunes. Yoga is great for breaking a sweat and building muscle, but I always come away feeling the best workout in my sense of self.
Health editor, Tini Howard is a writer, aerialist and foodie from the East Coast.