In fulfillment of its goal of bringing awareness of the benefits of yoga to men, women, and children of all ages and backgrounds, the nonprofit group Yoga Across America regularly conducts sessions in public parks around the country. People from New York to Alaska are discovering the ways in which the ancient practice can enhance their mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual lives.
Picture a group of individuals gathered on a bright, clear day to enjoy the cool breezes and fresh greenery of a beautifully landscaped park as they flow through a series of focused movements designed to celebrate the flexibility and resiliency of the human body and mind. This has become an increasingly common sight in places such as McKinley Park in Sacramento, California, where each week the largest public yoga class in the city’s history convenes.
Since 2009, when Yoga Across America launched the class, thousands of people have come together to create an energized yet relaxed atmosphere that one participant compared to heaven on earth. Proponents praise the sense of community that such regular gatherings help create, as well as the welcoming spirit exhibited by participants.
Some park-based yoga classes, such as one held in Phipps Park in West Palm Beach, Florida, donate associated fees to local charitable organizations. For example, the Florida group has aided the Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County and other youth-focused nonprofits. Yoga, with its natural focus on community building, offers numerous possibilities for doing good while building physical and mental agility.