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Give a good stretch with yoga in the park

7/10/2013

Yoga in the Park will be at the Hub Spot, 215 Water St., on July 13 from 9-10 a.m. with Linda Garcia from Family Tree Yoga instructing this session.

Yoga in the Park will be at the Hub Spot, 215 Water St., on July 13 from 9-10 a.m. with Linda Garcia from Family Tree Yoga instructing this session.

There is just something about a good stretch that makes a person feel limber and ready. For those with limited flexibility, people who first try yoga can come off looking less like an agile feline and more like Garfield — it can feel embarrassing. On the other hand, those with too much confidence can come off looking more like a cat in heat. Many would just prefer to do yoga behind closed doors and hide their contorted facial expressions, groans and grunts. But most fitness coaches will tell you, sometimes company during a workout can be motivating, more fun and yield the best results. Why not step out of your comfort zone and into Yoga in the Park?

A common misconception about yoga is that you have to be flexible, said Jen Kees of Kees Camp and occasional instructor of Yoga in the Park.

“You gain flexibility through the practice, and starting is step one,” Kees said.

The Des Moines Park and Recreation Department invites anyone interested in yoga — from novice beginners to seasoned stretchers — to enjoy a Saturday morning together participating in a free weekly yoga session held from 9-10 a.m. every week through Sept. 28.

Usually, Yoga in the Park is held at Gray’s Lake on the southeast shore, but this weekend has something different in store. As a part of National Park and Recreation Month celebration, this Saturday’s Yoga in the Park will be held at the Hub Spot (215 Water St.) on July 13 and led by Linda Garcia from Family Tree Yoga. One of the great things about Yoga in the Park is just how many different instructors participants have to learn from. Each week local volunteer teachers lead each session, which means folks will have a different yoga experience each week.

“I hope students walk away from my yoga with an awareness of their limits and potentials; as well as the excitement to return to a class to learn more about their bodies,” said Kees.

One prospective visit to Yoga in the Park is a small first step toward improving one’s overall health. Few people can do all the moves on their first attempt, so there is no need to be shy or embarrassed. Yoga means more than simply bending the human body into a pretzel.

“There isn’t just one form of yoga; there are several, and some forms suit different people. You should try yoga five or six times before making any definitive decisions about what you like or dislike about it,” Kees said. “It saved my life on the surgery table at one time in my life, and ever since then I’ve been an instructor and have been sharing the wealth of connecting your body to your mind and spirit.”

Use this weekend’s “Yoga at the Hub Spot” as a relaxing free-stretch in preparation for a post-yoga jaunt to the Court Avenue Bridge to play games and learn about activities and programs Des Moines Parks and Recreation offers the community throughout the year. Bring a mat or a towel, some water and clothes you can move in, and bring a friend. No registration for the class is required. Just show up Saturday morning at 9 ready to relax, release and enjoy the experience of yoga. CV

David Rowley is an Iowa native with a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Iowa and a master’s in film journalism from the University of Glasgow in Scotland.

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