(San Jacinto)Mountain Pose

Despite being fully vaccinated, I’m still reluctant to go back to my favorite yoga studio. I like my yoga HOT and can’t imagine enjoying a challenging 75 minute class while wearing a mask. It simply doesn’t appeal to me and I’ve been reasonably satisfied practicing at home.

The Hot Yoga Spot offers what I think is a terrific value of unlimited virtual classes, along with access to an extensive on demand library, for $50 a month. The schedule provides lots of options in terms of style, instructor and time of day and I’ve been taking 4 or 5 classes a week, which has really improved my practice.

Despite the gains (Chaturunga! Crow! Headstand!) I’ve made during this Covid year, I do miss being in the studio. While there isn’t generally a ton of socialization during class, it’s nice to be around other people, and I appreciate observing others while also receiving corrections and adjustments from the instructor. Hopefully, I’ll get back inside soon.

For now, though, there’s outdoor yoga to anticipate. Practicing outside lends an element of nature and literal grounding which I’ve really grown to enjoy. Once upstate NY truly commits to spring, I’m certain outdoor classes will be back on the schedule and I will definitely partake.

My recent vacation to Palm Springs, the place where I experienced my first ever hot yoga class years ago, provided a taste of the pleasure of flowing outdoors. S, my travel companion, found a studio that offered classes which provided the ideal pre-hike morning stretch in beautiful Ruth Hardy Park.

Urban Yoga offers an array of classes in multiple locations and virtually with a requested donation of minimally $10 a class. The studio supports many progressive organizations and we happily made an additional donation when one of the classes proceeds were earmarked for an organization supporting maternal healthcare to women of color. The schedule featured an 8:15 a.m. practice and we managed to get ourselves there on 3 mornings, which I thought was pretty good for vacationers committed to little beyond being outside as much as possible.

We had the chance to experience three different instructors and each brought their own vibe as they led us through practices which were well paced, fun and appropriately socially distanced. It was apparent that this was a genuine community of yogis (we noticed a number of the same faces each time we joined), yet they welcomed us warmly and made us feel as if we were a part of their circle.

While the style of the instruction varied, the mountains we often faced from our (borrowed) mats remained consistent in their beauty. It was impossible to not feel inspired by the strength and constancy of the San Jacinto Mountains and, since returning to Albany, I’ve found myself channeling their snow topped energy while on my own mat in mountain pose.

Hummingbirds darting, flowering trees and blue skies added elements of nature to an already wonderful experience and I can’t wait to once again practice in this remarkably beautiful place. Thanks and see you again, Urban Yoga.

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