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Queens Chronicle

Say ‘Ohm’ to free yoga classes in Queens

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Posted: Thursday, July 3, 2014 10:30 am

Yoga is growing in popularity but classes can be expensive.

Fortunately, groups including the Queens Library and Parks Department provide plenty of options for you to get your downward dog on this summer for free.

Contrary to popular belief, there are many types of yoga, though many studios teach Vinyasa, or flow yoga, to beginners.

Each type provides a different experience and focuses on a specific element of achieving balance within oneself.

For example, Vinyasa yoga focuses on synchronizing breath and movement through a variety of traditional motions.

Unlike many group-exercise courses, yoga is not intended to be competitive. In fact, many studios do not put up mirrors.

This is to promote inward reflection and remove any judgment one may have toward classmates or oneself.

In order to provide the opportunity for everyone to experience yoga, the Parks Department, through its Shape Up NYC campaign, offers dozens of options all over the city for beginners and yogis alike.

Outdoor Yoga

Doing yoga outdoors can be a peaceful and relaxing experience that works the muscles while slowing the mind, allowing one to connect with nature.

At Socrates Sculpture Park, located at 32-01 Vernon Blvd. in Long Island City, participants practice Hatha yoga, which integrates body postures, breathing techniques and meditation, while looking out at the East River and Manhattan skyline.

Afterward, visitors can sample local produce at the park’s Greenmarket.

Classes: Saturdays, thru Sept. 27 at 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Hunter’s Point South Park at Center Boulevard and 51st Avenue in Long Island City is also on the water and provides basic-level yoga classes that cover total body flexibility and core strengthening. It is recommended for teens, adults and seniors.

Classes: Saturdays from July 12 to Aug. 23, 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Brookville Park, located at Brookville Boulevard and Southern Parkway in Rosedale, offers a teen-only course in the evening.

Classes: Tuesdays from 6 to 7 p.m., thru Aug. 26. Meet at Brookville Boulevard and 143rd Avenue.

The Jackson Heights Green Alliance began a new program at the 78th Street Play Plaza — recently closed off between Northern Boulevard and 34th Street and soon to be integrated with the nearby Travers Park playground — each week, with Mimi-for-Me yoga instructors.

The course is basic yoga with a focus on morning stretches and a meditative full-body workout.

Classes: Saturdays thru Aug. 30 from 9 to 10 a.m.

More summertime classes sponsored by the Jackson Heights Green Alliance, including aerobics and cooking courses, are available at: jhgreen.org/calendar.php.

Indoor Yoga

For those prefer their yoga classes indoors, the Detective Keith Williams Field House, located at 106-16 173 St. in Jamaica, is offering a class to people of all ages.

Though it is open to everyone, it is specially designed for those who may be wishing to explore yoga for the first time. More advanced cueing is offered to more advanced students.

Classes: Wednesdays from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

A list of additional fitness classes in Queens’ parks is available on the department’s site at nycgovpark.org/programs.

The Queens Library’s Woodside Branch, located at 54-22 Skillman Ave., is offering yoga classes in a cool, air-conditioned space for all-experience levels.

Classes: Wednesdays at 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., thru Dec. 17.

Information on yoga at the Queens Library is available at queenslibrary.org.


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