When Fleet Feet running store announced they were offering a series of yoga workouts along the waterfront, a lot of people got very excited. It was even better that a portion of the money would go to local charities, but it is rare that you get to do yoga outdoors in different settings with a group of like-minded people.
Runners run in different locations, take hikes on trails or travel to races. Bicyclists cover long distances through unique trails and country roads, but yoga is usually practiced in a studio and can get kind of boring. There are only so many downward dog and cobra poses you can do before you wonder what the allure is to tying yourself up like a pretzel and hearing your joints pop as you reach to the heavens.
When Claudia Deen hosted an outdoor yoga meet up at Hucapoos on Tybee a few months previously, the nearly thirty participants expressed how great it was to gather in a group outdoors in a new location to raise money to support Venezuelan citizens who were undergoing civil skirmishes in their own country, leaving many without food and water and afraid to travel to the city where violence was more likely.
There was talk of hosting more outdoor events, but as summer sizzled, the idea seemed to fade with it until Fleet Feet and Biza Quattlebaum Mabry, a local fitness expert who also teaches yoga, announced they would be holding a three series of yoga on early Sunday morning at three different river and ocean front locations.
The cost was $15 per session with a package deal for all three and a special discount closer to the event that allowed you to do all three events for under $9 a piece, with one dollar from each person going to a local charity.
The first session on the waterfront at River Street had to be cancelled due to heavy rain and flooding and it looked like the second event at the beach the week later might also have to be cancelled with rain falling in the night and gray clouds and drizzle in route, but the event was held under the pavilion facing the Atlantic Ocean and went on without a hitch.
Yogis arrived early to stretch. There was no visible sunrise, but a few did arrive early to walk or jog the beach, while many stayed afterward to do the same.
One woman from out of town was passing by and saw all the yoga mats and asked if she could join, but almost everyone else was local with many showing up to support the charity for the Fresh Air Home (FAH) which provides summer camp for children in a Christian environment.
They also host special events to better the lives of all children and have a small complex right on the beach in an old home that houses girls and boys quarters and a large common area with old style high ceilings, and open balconies that really do allow fresh air to circulate from the ocean breezes.
The ocean breezes at the pier were light today, with hardly any waves at absolute low tide when the beach seemed more expansive than the ocean as it disappeared into the gray skies.
A few crows flew beneath the pavilion to see what all the humans were doing lying flat out on their backs on the floor.
Mabry started by asking if anyone was new to yoga and when no one said they were, the group immediately went into dog pose, followed by multiple named poses that had many, who had done yoga for years, having to look up to see what they were supposed to do.
Apparently the terminology of poses is extensive and not all self explanatory and many people seemed directionally challenged with trouble knowing their right leg from their left.
Still, everyone enjoyed the experience and while a sunrise and full ocean beating the shore would have been more fulfilling, it was nice just to be out that early doing something fun with friends.
If you missed Yoga on the Pier, it’s not too late to register for Yoga on the River, which was rescheduled for August, or Yoga at the Fort, which is coming up this Sunday at 7:30 at Old Fort Jackson looking out over the Savannah River.
Even if you are not an expert at yoga or the terms that go along with it, being with a large group of like minded people and looking out at nature rather than staring at a mirror or four walls, is inspirational and encourages you to take in more of nature and challenge your body to balance not only your muscles but your thoughts so that you can face the work week with calmness rather than chaos.
If you want to come, the cost is $15 if you register on line at: http://www.fleetfeetsavannah.com/yogaatthefort or $20 at the Fort.