Monday, May 14, 2012

Free Yoga!

Every Thursday, Lululemon sponsors free Yoga in Bryant Park from 6:00-7:00.  As we all know, I'm newly obsessed with Lululemon, but can't afford any of their clothing, so I'm pumped I can afford something that they offer!
I decided to run to Bryant Park from work and then go to Yoga.  I work on the Upper Westside, so the distance from my school to Bryant Park is almost exactly a 5K. I changed and left work and headed to Central Park for a nice run through the park.
As a resident of the West Village, I don't have that much experience with Central Park.  I don't live that close to it, so I don't go there much.  And when I do, we usually wander aimlessly and I'm not using it to get from point A to point B.  I entered the park at 93rd street and headed towards the loop.  I get to the loop and one way looks like its going directly east, and the other way looks like it is going directly west and possibly even out of the park.  I decided to go east because Bryant Park is east of work, so at some point, I have to get east. Several blocks into this run, I look over to my left and realize that Central Park West is still next to me.  I can't be going East if I'm running along an Avenue!  I had to run out to the street to see where I was and yup. 99th street.  Dammit.
I ended up running an extra 12 blocks total, which apparently really slowed me down.  The other issue that I encountered was when I exited the park at Central Park South.  MIDTOWN IS CRAAAAZY!
I thought that 6th avenue wouldn't be so bad, but I was dead wrong.  I could not run basically from Central Park South to Bryant Park, so that 15 block leg took me like 20 minutes.
Lesson learned... if I'm going to run a 5K for training purposes, make sure to avoid midtown.
I got to the park at like 5:56 and found one of my friends who was meeting me for yoga.  I got a mat, but he wasn't able to.  He said he didn't care because it was kind of cool to do yoga on the grass, so thanks because I wanted a mat!
The class was pretty straightforward- lots of Vinyasa flows.  The teacher was from NY Yoga and she was very pregnant but also very energetic.  There were almost 200 people doing yoga, which was pretty awesome.   We were towards the back, so it was a little hard to see her at times, but since I have yoga experience, I was able to follow along to what she was saying without as many demonstrations.  For newbies, it would be beneficial to show up early and practice in one of the front few rows (maybe not the front row as it's always helpful to see what other people are doing).  The instructor did a very good job explaining modifications you can make to make a pose harder or easier based on your flexibility, strength and experience.  Considering there were so many people there, it would have been very easy for her not to do this, and I appreciated that she took the time to mention binds when appropriate or leg changes when appropriate.
I'm a little ADD (as you can tell by my blog post title), so it was a little hard for me to concentrate on yoga at all times.  I kept looking around and looking at the sky and looking at the buildings and then I would realize I'm supposed to be doing something else.  However, that's just me.  It was a very New York experience.  Also, I would say its not for people who don't like being watched.  I did feel kind of like part of a yoga flash-mob.  People would take pictures and I heard tons of tourists stop, watch and talk about us for a while.

The very end of yoga.  As you can see,
I put socks on because my feet were cold.
1) It was free!!
2)  It was awesome to do yoga outside.  Other than my distractibility, it was great to be on the grass and to be in NYC enjoying the city while still doing yoga.
3) The instructor was really good for someone who had to teach to that many people

1) People will watch you
2) You don't get any physical correction and you can't always be sure the people around you are doing the right thing, so supplementing your yoga practice with smaller classes as well would be beneficial
3) I happened to get cold at the end of this class, but that won't be an issue in a few weeks.  I just didn't have a sweatshirt because I'd come straight from a run.

In short, I would definitely do this again! It was free, fun and relaxing.  Great way to enjoy NYC without spending any money.

Do you get distracted working out outside? Have you tried any free classes around NYC or anywhere else?

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