Bayfront park, located at 301 North Biscayne Blvd., offers free yoga sessions to the public on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays at the Tina Hills Pavilion, near the south end of the park. The classes are from 6 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays, and from 9 a.m to 10:15 a.m. on Saturdays.
Registration is on a first come, first serve basis, and the instructor decides when the class is full. Participants have to be at least 18-years-old and are required to sign a liability waiver. Attendees must bring their own yoga mat, towel and water bottle.
Each day, a different instructor guides the class through meditation, stretches and poses, suggesting several variations on particular moves to cater to levels of difficulty.
“The instructors are great, and it’s never the same experience twice. More and more people are going, and you can make the class suit you based on what you want from it,” said Jessica Freites, a Miami local who regularly attends the yoga sessions. “I keep coming back, it’s nice being outside and seeing the community gathering here.”
The classes are a fifteen minute walk from Wolfson Campus, or you can take the metro mover and get there in under five minutes. If it rains, classes are moved to the Bayfront Park office.
“We’ve been doing this for over ten years and never cancelled,” instructor Paul Richardson said. “You just gotta jump in, you suck at first but that’s part of the learning process.”
Everyone is welcome and as soon as you find yourself a place in the lush greenery of the park with a nice view of the ocean, you’ll feel calmer. A couple of breathing exercises in, and you’re thinking clearly. The people around you chant OM and stress melts away with the final Savasana—a pose that is simply done by laying down on your back. Classes are meant for both newcomers and old-timers, the goal of Bayfront Park Yoga is to allow anyone to practice.
The classes at Bayfront Park started with a banker and a yoga instructor, who in 2006 wanted to move their practice out of the building. What used to be a small group of yoga enthusiasts of 10 to 12 people is now a growing crowd of several hundred people attending per day.
“There was an invisible wall separating people from being able to practice yoga due to cost. Yoga was often practiced by people that could afford it and not necessarily by everyone who wanted to practice it,” executive director Timothy Schmand said. “We wanted to offer free yoga to the masses, while eliminating social and economic barriers. The classes also contribute to the health and wellness of our downtown Miami community. If funding allows, we would like to expand all of our free classes including yoga.”
With the last namaste, the session ends in a splendid sunset. The cool breeze and calm atmosphere could put anyone in a good mood.
“Usually I feel more centered and can let go of the day,” Lysett Baboscai, a participant said. “I’m my happiest after class and I’m very much myself and present.”
For more information, call (305) 358-7550 or go to www.bayfrontparkmiami.com/Yoga.html