By KATELYN MASSERELLI
While the gym can accommodate many students’ workout needs, it isn’t the go-to place for everyone. Given frequent crowdedness and a predominantly weight-training-oriented setup, many flock off-campus to get their workout burn in.
Some run or bike along Bayshore Boulevard, where they can also take advantage of the fitness stations along the path such as pull-up bars or sit-up benches. Others opt for the popular Yoga in the Park.
For five years, Yoga in the Park has been a free session that takes place every Sunday in Curtis Hixon Park, and is run by local yoga instructors from Yoga Downtown Tampa. Freshman film major Fallon Fischer and junior Laura Andujar both regularly attend the event.
“[Yoga in the Park focuses on] hatha yoga that is suitable for all ages,” says Andujar, “No need to be a pro in order to go.”
The event is much like the yoga classes offered at McNiff. The one difference that stands out the most is that Yoga in the Park is held outdoors. The atmosphere given by the setting sun and fresh air gives Yoga in the Park a natural feel with a calming environment.
“Due to the fact that the practice is in the park’s grass and it is during the sunset, you obtain that connection with nature. You hear birds singing from every corner,” Andjar said.
“The class begins with a sunny daylight sky, and it is ended with a beautiful sunset just behind the university. The view of our university right at the climax of a sunset is breathtaking.”
Being off campus, Yoga in the Park serves as an escape from the cobblestone streets and brick walls, reminding students that a world exists outside of UT.
“Going off campus serves as an escape from the campus environment,” Andujar said. “Sometimes I feel walking 10 minutes to do an hour-long practice is a hassle, but as soon as my back lays on the matt, I feel so refreshed.”
Fischer first found out about Yoga in the Park through mutual friends who posted about the event on social media. Andujar’s interest was first sparked when she walked by a session being held.
Yoga in the Park continually becomes a welcome escape for the students that go, as the organizers strive to make every session fun. They provide live music at some sessions performed by local artists and this past Halloween, encouraged participants to come dressed in their costumes.
“I really enjoy going there because it is a work out and it’s fun and the meditation reflection time at the end is so rewarding and it destresses me too,” said Fischer. “It’s a very safe, welcoming, and non judgmental class. For once, even with strangers there is no fear or awkwardness. For the hour we do yoga, all other thoughts and stresses disappear because the focus is turned to being engaged and present in the moment, the mind becomes at ease.”
Yoga in the Park is held every Sunday at 5:00pm and is open to anyone interested.
“It’s a very indescribable feeling. I highly recommend any person to go,” said Andujar, “Even if you have never been to a yoga class before. Nothing wrong comes with calming our minds and connecting with our surroundings for an hour.”