I recently moved to a new city thousands of miles from the city I’ve called home for the last eight years. Because of this I’ve had the pleasure of exploring and discovering the heart of a whole new place, but also because of this I’ve experienced the loneliness and sense of out-of-placeness that comes from being in a new city where you don’t know anyone. So I did what many in today’s day and age do — I joined a Facebook group! It is there I found a listing for a free-of-cost, twice-weekly community yoga class hosted by a woman who formerly worked for a studio in town.
Started by Erin Hurter, Yoga by The Bay with Erin has operated since the middle of 2020, when Hurter saw a need in her community for people to come together in a safe way to work through their individual and collective situations. Since then, her movement has grown larger than she may have imagined at the start. At the request of the city, she now hosts the class twice a week, on Tuesday evenings and Saturday mornings, and each class averages (at least) 50–100 students. All show up to unwind by the beautiful Sarasota Bay, build new friendships and humbly test the limits of their strength against the ancient practice of yoga.
As I stood in Warrior II pose, I felt real, true peace (aside from, of course, my shaky leg muscles!!). People kayaked in the blue bay below us; pelicans dove for their daily catch; the sun did its thing in the sky; a rabbit feasted on a bush right next to me; a bird sat above me, looking down on all of us below — it was the definition of being “in the moment.” I didn’t want to be anywhere else. It was the perfect way for me to start my weekend. I left the Van Wezel feeling centered, proud of myself for showing up and ready to take on anything.
I think what this really shows is that, even in a pandemic, people need community — introverts like myself included. It’s a part of self-care; humans are social animals! While we slowly return to travel, there are still opportunities to go out and see the world by engaging in your very own community. On your next free day, I challenge you to try something new in your town. Whether it be a new restaurant, a museum exhibit, volunteering or the cooking class you’ve been wanting to take forever, you’ll feel so good you did it.
If you find yourself in the Sarasota area, consider joining a class. All are welcome!
Tuesdays: 6 p.m. at Bayfront Park
Saturdays: 9:30 a.m. at Van Wezel Performing Arts Center
Bring a mat/towel and water bottle.
— Amanda Jones, account executive
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