I still remember a particular (rare) sunny Winter afternoon back in 2011 when I walked from 8 Limbs Capitol Hill down to the waterfront. I was meeting with Seattle Art Museum staff about an exciting proposition: free summer yoga classes for Seattleites at Olympic Sculpture Park.  That first summer, classes rotated among different grassy areas throughout the park and there was not yet an outdoor speaker system – our teachers got to really tap into their breath practices to project their voices!

On the cusp of our seventh season I’ve been thinking about how this community partnership has grown, and also bloomed into something more special than I could conceive of that winter day. We now hold two classes Saturday mornings through September in front of Richard Serra’s Wake sculpture, offer a designated Family day, and our teachers are mic’d!

As Executive Director there are so many things I love about these classes:

  • Increasing accessibility of yoga in Seattle;
  • Bringing yoga outside of studio doors and into public life;
  • Experiencing how the whole can be greater than the sum of the parts through powerful community partnerships;
  • Expanding teaching opportunities for our beloved teachers;
  • Supporting newly graduated and passionate Teacher Training grads through assistant teaching positions; and
  • Simply giving back to Seattle, a community that has so strongly supported us for over 20 years.

As a participant in many of these classes, my love catapults into an entirely new stratosphere. I don’t know that I have words to describe what it feels like to practice alongside hundreds of people who inhabit different body types and have different skin tones, who speak different languages and love different kinds of people. Or to directly witness three generations of a family having so much fun moving their bodies together in a nearby row. I love how general park-goers from all over the world occasionally stop on a path and strike a pose and that folks in nearby buildings set up mats in their balconies to join from their own private perch. There’s also nothing like coming up from a sun salutation to spot a soaring bird overhead or breathe in the beauty of the sculptures and a passing ferry. Connecting with community, city, and summer in these ways takes my breath away every time.

I invite you to choose a Saturday (or more) and head down to the waterfront to experience for yourself. You can come on your own or with friends and family. Along with your mat, I suggest both sunscreen and sunglasses, and know the grass can be damp. All levels are welcome. Classes kick off this morning with Chiara Guerrieri and run through September 30th. Click here for full schedule details.

And then after class maybe meander in the park, or sit for a spell…and breathe in the interconnected beauty this special Seattle treasure offers us all.

Posted by: Ashley Dahl, Executive Director

Neighborhood Studios