Monday, July 9, 2007

Yoga in the Park with Carl

Now here's a bargain: free yoga classes, twice a week, great instruction, no tips accepted! Every Monday and Wednesday morning from 9 to 10:30 a.m., Carl Brown teaches a deliciously challenging yoga class on the tennis court at Moulton Meadows Park. Besides the joy of having the wind in your hair and the sun on your skin while being led through a series of pretty sophisticated yoga poses, it is also a worthwhile exercise in shutting out the distractions of the sounds of traffic, children at play, tennis on the adjacent court, and airplanes buzzing overhead. A full 90 minutes and you feel like you've been thoroughly bent, twisted and strengthened. Check it out.

For those who find the use of tennis courts for yoga questionable, consider this: Carl has been offering free yoga instruction on the courts for more than a year now. Only twice has he had people waiting for his group to get off the court. Courteously, Carl's group only takes a court if they are not being used and no one is waiting. When the courts are occupied, they use the basketball court, but they try for the far tennis court to have shade. Carl reports that tennis players really never seem to be out there when the yogis are -- most days, his yoga group is the only activity on the court. He also notes that the courts are for public use and his right to make use of them are not necessarily superceded by those bearing tennis racquets. Carl's class is a free community service. In his case, no one is using public property to make money, unlike, say, a tennis instructor. He figures he can't make everyone happy, but he suggests that a good strong yoga session can help one limber up for tennis and calm the aggressive, competitive mind.

I like to think of seeing morning yoga being done on a tennis court at a park as a sliver of Berkeley or some other free-minded venue (which Laguna once was). This charmingly surprising, unique offering of free yoga is a gift to the community. Namasté, Carl!
You can check out Carl's blog with the complete schedule at (Carl also teaches at Yoga Shakti in Irvine, near the Edwards Theatres and Trader Joe's across from UCI.)