YRP desi springer group shot

A park full of trees

“We’re lucky to live in Colorado,” says Erik Vienneau, Yoga Rocks the Park (YRTP) Event Director. Funny, I say that just about every day when I wake up to a clear, blue, expansive, sun-lit sky in Denver. One of the many, many reasons I remain in Colorado, so far from my family who all live on the East Coast. “We’re part of one of the kindest, most conscious communities in the country, and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate it than with yoga, music and wellness under the sun,” continues Vienneau. Okay, now it feels a bit like Vienneau and I share a brain. One of my sisters and I have an inside joke that we are Siamese twins separated at birth…I’m beginning to think I may have a twin on the Front Range as well. I suspect I’ll find myself surrounded by hundreds of them when I attend my first Yoga Rocks the Park session this summer.

An outdoor practice is such a remarkable experience. There’re just so many things to love about practicing beyond four walls, under the sun and clouds and open air, swathed in fresh smells and neighborhood noises. One of which is the feel of the earth beneath your feet: so solid and familiar, yet so lush, natural and foreign—an unconventional sensation completely contradicting the firm, steady foundation of a yoga studio floor. There is a distinct way that the mat sits on the earth, not fully settling onto any one spot, but moving in subtle and slow ripples as you undulate on it through the postures. It even seems to create and emit a soft noise all its own in nature. The grass has pockets of cold like the ocean does and can feel a little shocking against your sensitive skin if you shift off your mat, yet, the coolness of it can feel refreshing and welcome as your body heats up from the sun and its own energetic movement. Tapping into the sensation of a blowing breeze—over you, around you, past you—can prickle your limbs and make you feel alive and young and new. Blades of grass can lightly stroke your shoulder in savasana, or tickle your chin or nose in Chaturanga Dandasana, or simply remind you just how enormous the world is when you see the movement and motion of insects that are always beneath your feet, rarely earning a place in your thoughts, now in your line of sight as you lower to your mat to rise into Urdhva Mukha Svanasana UPWARD-FACING DOG. Beyond the music, you may hear laughter (not at all uncommon inside a studio either, of course), children playing in another corner of the park, horns honking in nearby traffic. These senses are different than what you get from a yoga studio practice, and they undoubtedly will bring an enlivening perspective of the world around you, and your surrounding community, that opens up the breadth of your morning, your Sunday (best day of the week!), your life, your yoga.

Yoga Rocks the Park offers the opportunity to practice with the Front Range’s most esteemed instructors, including Kindness Yoga’s Patrick Harrington, Samadhi Yoga’s Buffy Barfoot, Om Time’s Shannon Paige Schneider and Warrior Academy’s Scott Anderson. Next week, on Sunday, June 17, the park practice will take place at Sloan’s Lake with music by MantraMatrix. Check the schedule weekly for locations and plan to stay after the yoga concludes to participate in a full-blown wellness festival: enjoy healthy food and drinks, get a massage, check out integrative therapy exhibitions, wander through a variety of yoga garb vendor booths—all set to the soundtrack of live music. Yoga Rocks the Park is just about to begin its fourth season, and it happens almost weekly all summer long, taking only a few Sundays off to celebrate regional yoga festivals. Show up next Sunday at 9 am to register; yoga starts at 10:00. From Sunday, September 16, Yoga Rocks the Park will be taking over several of Denver’s beautiful city parks.

Yoga Rocks the Park soundtrack

Yoga Rocks the Park soundtrack

You have approximately fourteen Sundays left this summer (don’t think about that too long, just enjoy it!) to create your own Yoga Rocks the Park experience. Check out the schedule and get your tickets today.

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