Yoga in the Park

By Sari Gelzer

Today I ventured to my local park to practice yoga outside. I found a plot of firm dirt underneath a palm tree. The sun beamed down on the hilltop park and the heat attracted a large Sunday crowd. I established my breath for a practice focused on steadiness. My teachers taught me that achieving steadiness is easier when preceded by movement. My Warrior I began dynamically ~ leg straightened, leg bent ~ arms cactus style, arms straight in the air. I paused in Warrior I and held my gaze steady avoiding the eyes of passerby's walking adorable dogs. Steadiness. Breathing in light, breathing out and concentrating that energy.

A woman sat behind me with a journal on a bench. Out of the corner of my eye I could see her looking my way in fascination.  Entering Half Lord of the Fishes Pose I turned her way and she smiled. I smiled back, but stayed focused. I recognized the difficulty in turning inward but remaining soft.

Savasana in this public space didn't make me comfortable at that moment so I instead took a seated position with my eyes cast downward. In my closing moments I noticed a bit of fear appear. It was the familiar anxiety of the unexpected when in the bustle of San Francisco. I eased into it, melted it the best I could.

My inward practice anchored me. As I gave gratitude at the end of my practice I noticed the firm seat I had created on that park hill in San Francisco. By firmly planting myself on the earth that Sunday my view was more expansive.

Movement led to steadiness. Turning inward led to more outward clarity. Funny how that works.

Sari Gelzer is a certified yoga teacher in San Francisco offering group and private sessions in studios, community centers, schools and in the workplace. You can email her at sari(@) sarigelzer.com 

Sari Stankowski

Sari Gelzer is a yoga teacher and online media consultant based in San Francisco, CA.