There’s something magical about doing tree pose and gazing up to see light filtering through towering trees in Willows Park, says Jules Payne.
“It’s a pretty dreamlike setting,” says the Ajna Yoga Centre co-director and instructor. “It’s just a buzz when it’s that many people and it’s outside.”
Payne is among the leaders in the fourth year of free summer sessions in Oak Bay.
“Usually we get between 100 and 300 people out,” she says. “We are hopeful as soon as the sunshine comes out and stays we’ll get back up to those numbers. Last year every single Tuesday the whole lawn was covered.”
The free yoga, led by Anja instructors in July and Recreation Oak Bay instructors in August, includes a leader and two assistants each Tuesday night from 6 to 7 p.m.
“They don’t need to bring anything honestly, just clothes to move in,” Payne says of participants. “If you don’t have a yoga mat, bring a towel if you don’t want to be directly on the grass.”
A mom herself, she sees many a parent take turns each week supervising kids on the play equipment while others partake in the yoga, making the outing a real family affair.
“Some people bring their grandmas and everyone in between,” Payne said. “All of the teachers have a really good idea of how to teach to beginners and how to teach a range from four-year-olds to 84-year-olds who show up.”
Some people come and continue yoga at their small Oak Bay studio, or Recreation Oak Bay come fall, others are fair weather participants. Either way, all are welcome. “It’s totally accessible to everyone, you don’t have to have done yoga before,” Payne says. “What’s so great is just to see the diversity of people who are out.”
The fourth annual free summer yoga is every Tuesday in July and August from 6 to 7 p.m. in Willows Park.
“If you want to be close to the front get there early, because the mats set up very very quickly,” Payne says.