After hearing about it late last summer and missing out, I’ve been attending several of the 2013 sessions of free yoga on Parliament Hill. This event is organized every Wednesday (noon-1pm) in the summer by Lululemon. Apparently this has been happening for the past 5 years or so, starting out with only a handful of people and growing to a maximum turnout last August of over 2,000. My very rough estimate would be that there have been about 300 or so people there on the really nice days, but still at least 100 last week when the weather was grey and rainy. The first time I went was an absolutely beautiful sunny day, probably about 22 degrees or so, and I have to say that it was one of those events that reaffirms a person’s faith in humanity. Perhaps that sounds a bit hyperbolic, but it really felt that way. It’s so easy to hear all the constant barrage of stats about how inactive we are as a society and how like 80% or people are obese (okay, so it’s probably not quite that bad…but it is some stupidly high number). But to see hundreds of fit, healthy-looking people taking time out of there weekday schedules to enjoy some exercise in the middle of downtown Ottawa – just makes a person feel inspired.
I would totally recommend anyone in the National Capital Region to try to check it out. They seem to have a different instructor leading it each week. Even if you only show up for a half hour, you just find some empty space on the lawn, toss down a mat and follow along. They have speakers but sometimes it’s hard to hear. It’s easy enough to follow those around you if you miss something. I normally like a good strenuous workout at lunchtime, but this is a nice change of pace once a week. It’s something I’m not really good at (I know, I know, yoga isn’t supposed to be competitive), but I think it helps with overall mood, stress levels and flexibility. As I age, I notice that flexibility is the one fitness marker that atrophies the fastest, more so than strength, speed, endurance, etc. Hopefully this helps in some small part. And you can’t beat the price.