Yoga in the Park Series

Off Road Pursuits Yoga in the Park (2013)

Kellogg Park; La Jolla, CA

Photo courtesy of Ian Cunningham

Photo courtesy of Ian Cunningham

Our practice included postures that focused on the typical areas that runners repetitively use.  Regardless if the student was a regular yoga practitioner, new to yoga or just curious about yoga, he/she was invited to join. The classes were more athletic based, but no experience was necessary. It was up to student to set his/her intention for the practice.

  • Each class was 60 minute practice that covered a series of asanas (poses), pranayama (breathing), focus, and relaxation techniques.
  • Classes were held outdoors at Kellogg Park in La Jolla, CA.
  • All levels of athletes and yogis were welcome.
  • Students were required to bring a yoga mat, and dress appropriately for the weather.
  • Classes were on a donation basis.

Below are my experiences from each class. As an instructor, I felt very fortunate to spend time with people that have an appreciation for the outdoors and were willing to attend rain (we had a misty day in there!) or shine.  I also feel very fortunate to have met more amazing people throughout this series. It may sound cliche, but we had so much fun along the way. They definitely “felt the sensation!”

Sunday, January 13th Overview:

Today was our first class and I want to thank all of the yogis that participated on this beautiful (and cool) Sunday morning in La Jolla.  Our theme was twists and we worked with various poses that incorporated a twisting element (as you probably could have guessed). While today’s class had this particular theme, we still worked with other poses that did not involve twisting.

Just to be clear: Although a “theme” is set for each class, it just means we’ll incorporate a few more poses that include that theme into the practice.  We will still move through other poses and vinyasas, even if they don’t have an element of that particular theme.

For today’s twists, we included the following into the practice: seated twist, spinal balance variation with twist, twisting lunge, revolved hand to big toe, seated straddle with twist and lying twist.

January 2013 yoga class in La Jolla. Just a short walk from the ocean...

January 2013 yoga class in La Jolla. Just a short walk from the ocean.

January in San Diego

January in San Diego

Sunday, February 17th Overview:

Another beautiful day in La Jolla, another beautiful day to practice yoga outdoors.  Today’s focus was hip openers.  As I guided the participants through the practice, I couldn’t help but reflect on my experience at a yoga retreat last spring.  A friend of mine, Samantha, was taking us through pigeon and double pigeon poses. I had to do my best to breathe through each posture and not have to request a leather strap to bite down on.  With all the running I had done leading up to the retreat, my hips were a little tight.

The students that practiced today lead very active lifestyles.  But even normal daily activities, such as sitting in a chair for long periods of time (if you want to call that an activity) can create tightness in the hips.  Regardless of athletic background or experience, I believe this was a very beneficial practice for each student.

Today we worked through poses such as standing figure 4, half pigeon, wide squat, and butterfly.  We also included a low lunge variation by bringing the forward foot towards the outside of the mat and lowering the back knee to the mat. If necessary, the elbows lowered as well.

February Yoga in the Park.  Photo courtesy of Toby Guillette.

February Yoga in the Park. Photo courtesy of Toby Guillette.

Sunday, March 10, 2013 Overview:

We’ve been so fortunate to have the most amazing weather thus far for yoga in the park.  Today’s class involved a strengthening theme.  We held postures such as lunge variations, chair, and planks for longer durations and added in the optional yoga pushups within vinyasas such as sun salutation A. We ended the class with a relaxing savasana under the sun with a slight blowing breeze.  It definitely felt like spring was around the corner.

March yoga in the park!

March yoga in the park.

Sunday, April 14/May 19/June 16 Overview:

The beautiful weather has lasted into April, aside from a few clouds and a slight mist.  Our classes have continued to include vinyasa sequences such as sun salutation A, warrior sequences and sun salutation B.  Hip openers such as half pigeon were greatly appreciated by all the runners in the group!  As we practiced one of my favorite arm balances, crow/crane, I was so happy to see the progress made by the students.  Where only one foot previously came off the ground, that second foot started to leave!

The weather  has been warming up and the activity in the Kellogg Park area has been heating up as well.  With many environmental “stimulations” happening, these have offered excellent opportunities for the yoga students to practice centering their focus on breathing and staying present in the moment.  It’s been so pleasant to have positive energy happening around us. For that we’re definitely blessed to be able to practice in a such a beautiful area.

Forearm balance variation.  One of my favs!

Forearm balance variation. One of my favorites.

Crane. Another favorite.

Crane. Another favorite.

Sunday, July 21/Sunday, August 18 Overview:

I feel continuously grateful to lead yoga in this beautiful location with fantastic students attending to practice. The summer months brought sun and warmth to the air. The beach was crowded with people wanting to breath in the beauty of La Jolla. We even had a group of people wanting to practice their football skills extremely close to our class (while there was plenty of other space around).  However, we turned this into an extra challenge of focus while not getting caught up in the external distractions.

Sunday, December 8 Overview:

Today was a special day for me. I taught my final class in La Jolla. I am about to start a new life journey on the east coast but before I leave, I had to teach one more class. We revisited several poses and practiced flowing through a warrior series (incorporating triangle). I noticed that more people braved the crow pose as well!  This yoga series in the park has helped me grow as an instructor.  It is outdoors and there are a million things happening around us.  As an instructor, it has been my duty to center my focus and be concerned with what was happening in the moment. If I hadn’t done these things,  the students may have had difficulty doing the same. I will continue to grow in my abilities as an instructor, but I am so grateful for this experience in La Jolla with Off Road Pursuits.

Namaste.

December yoga class.

December yoga class.

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