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Take Your Vinyasa: Pop-Up Yoga at the Botanical Gardens

February 16, 2015

If you are looking for the perfect way to say goodbye to winter and welcome in springtime, it’s difficult to imagine a better way to do so than free yoga at the U.S. Botanical Gardens. With Love D.C.’s Pop-Up Yoga series in the U.S. Botanical Garden will offer free yoga classes every Saturday at 10:30 a.m. throughout the month of February.

Pop-Up Yoga, a yoga community known for hosting donation-based yoga classes in unconventional spots throughout D.C., hits its stride with the Botanical Gardens series. Holding a yoga practice in the Botanical Gardens speaks to the connection of mind, body, and spirit that contemporary yoga seeks to forge within its practitioners as well as the deep religious roots of traditional schools of yoga that stem from Buddhist and Hindu traditions.

As somewhat of a yogi, I found the idea of practicing yoga among the flowers and trees of the gardens extremely appealing. I envisioned intense connections with the trees,streams, and rocks;you know, like talking to birds and raccoons. Real Pocahontas-level shit. I literally could not wait to have some grandmotherly, talking tree figure out my life for me, all while finding my Ujjayi breath in Upward Bow Pose.

Even though the class was held indoors in the West Galleria due to the weather, the indoor plants and fountains still added some good old-fashioned love of nature into our practice. The class was packed— almost mat to mat. Yet the instruction of Julia Romano, owner of yoga studio Yoga NoMa, did not lose its quality in the large class size. Her cues to move from asana to asana were natural, and the range of postures she chose was accessible to a wide variety of levels.

Like in most large yoga classes, as soon as you walk in, you’ll probably see some yoga master who is so flexible that he doesn’t seem to have a skeleton, balancing upside down on his head before the class even begins. But if you’re new to the practice, don’t be intimidated by hard-core yogis. I promise that most of the people at Pop-up Yoga will have the range of motion of an average human, and that the class will not be beyond your skill set. The instructor included everything from straight-forward Sun Salutations to some really sick inversions, so don’t worry if getting upside down isn’t your thing— just get ready to leave it all on the mat.

If you are looking for a way to break your routine and get out into D.C. for the next two Saturdays, grab your mat and head down to the Botanical Gardens. You’ll definitely see me there testing out my Handstand Scorpion.

Photo: With Love DC

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