Thursday, July 5

Yoga Glow at Fernwood | Niles, MI

The original hot yoga, or at least that's what I was thinking when we ventured out near the river at the Fernwood Botanical Gardens to do some yoga. 

LOCATION: With my trusty Waze app I took off from Champaign this morning, luckily early (as I forgot there was a time change between here and Michigan). So grateful as I entered the grounds of Fernwood Botanical Gardens (which, by the way, had amazing signage along the way because it's a tourist attraction). Parked my car (for free) in the shade on this 100°+ day and walked up to the main entrance that smelled amazing. Thinking back on it now, it smelled like dried flowers... which may very well be the case in this heat. Regardless, it was a warm (pun intended?) welcome. At the front desk I asked about the yoga class, but I was the first one there so neither of us were sure if this class was really going to happen. So I looked around a bit, checked out the bathrooms (standard bathroom setting), filled up my water bottle, and looked at the art (beautiful photography by Sharon Beals). A second yogi showed up, so I was hopeful. Then our instructor showed up and we chatted whether to practice inside or outside. We braved it and opted for outside. As we walked down the pathway I was able to peek at some of the gardens set up, then we ventured into the woods (thank goodness our instructor grabbed the bug spray). We arrived at a wooden platform with benches to set up. It was beautiful. 
STUDIO:  How do you really top the beautiful outdoors? You can hear the river noises, little squirrels and birds chirping about, sunshine peeking through the leaves, and the view so relaxing. Even with the tempature at a heat index of 110°. Nature's hot yoga! 
CLASS DESCRIPTION: This class is designed to support all levels and is held outside (weather permitting) within the gorgeous Fernwood Botanical Gardens in Buchanan. The natural beauty of the surroundings will delight your senses and inspire deeper connection in your practice. 
INSTRUCTOR: Deirdre Guthrie holds a PhD in Anthropology and has been teaching yoga since 1998 in San Francisco, Chicago, and Southwest Michigan's Harbour Country. Deirdre complete the Chicago Temple of Kriya Yoga's two-year advanced teacher training program and Seminary, apprenticed with Dynamic Yoga Teacher—Godfrey Devereaux in Ibiza, Spain, and is certified in Ayurvedic nutrition and deep-tissure massage. She has helped facilitate yoga workshops and retreats in Scotland, Mexico, California, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and the Bahamas. Read Deirdre's Yoga Journal article

Deirdre had us start out laying down to do a lot of our work, because of the heat. But that didn't mean that our yoga wouldn't be challenging with some great focus on core. She slowly started to introduce some viniyoga, which I always recognize when we do this in other classes but never really knew what it entailed. The linked article includes most of the bits I read from different articles. From my little experience, viniyoga is gentle yoga that revolves around the breath (I know, all yoga does, but I don't know how else to explain this... in class, viniyoga always gets the whole classroom honestly focusing on their breath) and the movement is from one pose to another repeated.

The sun moved on us (ok, we moved on the sun), so we shifted to the other side of the deck that was shaded. This is where the viniyoga really came into play. To be honest, I'm losing details in my memory because I enjoyed the view so much. Every Virabhadrasana I (Warrior I) or lunge we went into had us gazing up into the trees. And when we'd go into Vrksasana (Tree Pose) the breeze would kick up (the hippy in me decided it was all the trees joining in). Basically, if you've never done yoga outside... find a class or just take your mat outside for your home practice. It really does heighten the experience.

We ended in a sivasana that was a little challenging as you felt the ants crawl on you, heard the flies buzz by your ear, or your mind wanders to the breaking of twigs in the distance (I enjoyed the thought of deer or other nosies watching us silly humans from a distance). Dierdre is a lovely instructor who didn't do any physical adjustments but was great at verbally walking us through the poses, stopping to correct us when needed. She is also working on a paddle board class (I've always wanted to try that) and shared workshop info with me coming up next weekend (see their website home page for details). This definitely has me wondering if I can sneak a class in at YogaGlow's studio to learn more about what this director is brewing up. 

I somehow was too distracted/forgetful to take pictures of the yoga spot, but here are a few pictures from the sculpture gardens (where that sweet lil red Elephant lives):

0 responses:

Post a Comment