Living in a city like New York isn’t the easiest thing in the world, to say the least. It’s a city known for chaos, movement, excitement, and lack of sleep. We are constantly faced with situations that put us in fight-or-flight mode whether we are simply commuting to work, jogging around the park, or walking to your local bodega — New Yorkers know, anything can happen, anywhere, anytime.
This fight-or-flight response releases “stress-hormones” into your body, promoting the animalistic instinct to either fight or run for your life in survival situations. Over time, the over-exposure to these stress hormones can cause chronic stress and negative effects on your physical and mental health.
The Mayo Clinic states: “The long-term activation of the stress-response system — and the subsequent overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones — can disrupt almost all your body’s processes. This puts you at increased risk of numerous health problems, including:
- Digestive problems
- Heart disease
- Sleep problems
- Weight gain
- Memory and concentration impairment
That’s why it’s so important to learn healthy ways to cope with the stressors in your life.”
A great, inclusive, and cost effective way to cope with stress is yoga. Although it has become a trendy workout in the past few years, yoga can be traced to ancient India over 5,000 years ago. The beauty of yoga is that it is for all ages, all fitness levels, all genders and all spiritualities. So in honor of National Yoga Month, we’ll share some of its health benefits, as well as free yoga events going on around the city to get you started on your journey.
Health Benefits of Yoga
There are over 100 different types, or schools, of yoga, so feel free to explore and find what school of yoga best fits your goals.
All schools generally include breathing exercises and holding poses (aka asana or postures) to strengthen and tone muscles, increase balance & flexibility, and help guide you through meditation. All of these poses can be modified to ease or intensify depending on your individual fitness needs.
No matter which school of yoga you gravitate towards, there are many other health benefits which you can reap. For example, the American Osteopathic Association has listed the following:
- Improved respiration, energy and vitality
- Maintaining a balanced metabolism
- Weight reduction
- Cardio and circulatory health
- Improved athletic performance
- Protection from injury
- Stress reduction / relief of chronic stress patterns
- Mental clarity and sharpened concentration
- Reduced anxiety and depression
(For 13 more benefits along with their corresponding research, please click here.)
With physical and mental health benefits like these, why not give it a shot?
Top 5 Free Yoga Events in NYC September 2018
1. Free Yoga at Washington Square Park
at Garibaldi Plaza (in Washington Square Park), Manhattan
Thursday, September 6th 8:30 a.m.– 9:30 a.m.
Get your yoga on in Washington Square Park this summer and fall with Sacred Sounds Yoga. Guests are asked to bring their own yoga mat.
Learn More: https://www.nycgovparks.org/events/2018/09/06/free-yoga-at-washington-square-park
2. Yoga at The Battery
at Woodland Lawn (in The Battery), Manhattan
Sunday, September 9th 11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Join in on the Woodland Lawn overlooking the Fountain, the blooming Bosque, and majestic Lady Liberty. Talk about #views!
Learn More: https://www.nycgovparks.org/events/2018/09/09/yoga-at-the-battery
3. lululemon End of Summer Festival
Coffeed at LIC Landing – 52-10 Center Blvd, Long Island City, NY 11101
Saturday, September 15, 2018 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Join lululemon for a music festival meets wellness market hybrid to close out summer with a bang. They’re teaming up with some of your favorite wellness brands to bring you the experience of the summer.
They’ll kick off the morning with a run (5K) followed by yoga + soundbath. The rest of the day is up to you. Add a little wellness to your day with Saje, ride with Flywheel for a cycling demo, or kick back with a beer & live music.
4. Yoga In The Garden 2018
By Brooklyn Greenway Initiative
Naval Cemetery Landscape
35 Williamsburg Street West, Brooklyn, NY 11249
Thu, September 20, 2018 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM
The class will draw from the vinyasa and hatha yoga traditions and will use breath and movement to achieve meditation and relaxation.
Classes are suitable for all experience levels and will include postures and breathing techniques that promote balance, strength, and flexibility of body and mind. Just remember these classes are BYOM (Bring your own Mat).
5. Free Yoga at Fannie’s Garden at Paradise on Earth
at Paradise on Earth, Bronx
Saturday, September 29th 10:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m.
These free, outdoor yoga classes are a great way for the entire family to stay fit!
Learn More: https://www.nycgovparks.org/events/2018/09/29/free-yoga-at-fannies-garden-at-paradise-on-earth
Continuing Your Practice
If you have enjoyed some of these events and would like to continue the journey without costly memberships associated with trendy fitness clubs / yoga studios, be sure to check out Yoga to the People, a chain of United States-based yoga studios which offer free or donation-funded yoga classes to any kind of student, from total beginners, to casual yoga practitioners, to lifetime expert yogis and yoginis.
Regular classes are only a $10 suggested donation; optional mat and towel rentals $2 each, and water $1.
Hot yoga classes can cost you anywhere from $8 – $14 per class in NYC.
There are other locations in San Francisco & Berkeley, CA as well as Tempe, AZ. You can view more about them and their locations by clicking here.
The light in me honors the light in you -- Namaste.