Who are we?
Yoga in the Park is an open yoga community in Groningen, the Netherlands since 2021. It is supported by a team of committed and passionate teachers, plus a vibrant community of diverse participants.
What do we do?
We teach weekly yoga classes based on Ashtanga, Hatha, Kundalini, Iyengar and restorative yoga traditions. The classes are beginner-friendly, and we also welcome more established practitioners. Our classes are free or donation-based, and take place indoors and outdoors, depending on the weather (we <3 the park!).
We also meet regularly for social activities including concerts, drinks and more.
Community is at the heart of our practice. We make yoga accessible and fun for everyone, regardless of their background and experience. We practice together to explore movement in our bodies, forge new friendships and generate a little joy in our daily lives.
Our story so far (last update August 2022)
It took a couple of drinks to convince at-the-time Groningen newcomer Angelos to share his Yoga expertise. (I was there, I saw it happen, true story.) We suspected he had had some serious Yoga practice when he walked onto the terrace behind Le Petit Thêatre, and got him to confess to it. By the end of that Sunday summer afternoon, 2021, we had decided on a time and a place to have a single Yoga class: Wednesday, and it would be in the park. Invitations went out on Whatsapp and Facebook groups.
A group of seven or eight beginner- and intermediate-level “Yogi’s” gathered by the Nieuwe Kerk. Angelos’ motivation was simple: he wanted to do Yoga outdoors but didn’t want to be a lone lunatic striking poses in public spaces. As a group, we could experiment, play, and coach each other. After that class, it was clear: we should do it again, and then again and again, after that, as long as it’s in the park. After the class, we would hang out at a bar down the street (more on that later).
Every week, we would have the one obvious question for the outdoors class: what if it rains? We defied the clouds and Yoga in the park saluted the sun every Wednesday evening, and even occasionally on Sunday afternoons, always in the open air. As luck, or whatever force you call it, would have it, we managed to meet consistently for about four months, undeterred by rain or cold. The group grew. Some even brought their children along, who would join for a pose or two, play in the back, try another pose, and then play some more as we went into Shavasana.
Among the more experienced participants, Saoirse felt challenged to take a chance at developing her own skills in an instructor position. So, with a well-pondered plan in hand and a deep breath in lungs, she flexed her instructor muscles for the first time, with Angelos’ guidance in the beginning. Following Vinyasa Yoga, her classes keep movement and breathing closely connected.
But we could only test our luck with the weather for so long… and we knew it. Where could we go to escape as autumn showed its true colors? It just so happens that one of the members of our group, Maaike, also lead mantras at the community center on Metaallaan. She made the connection, and we partnered up, at which time we began following the community center’s practice of charging 7,50 euro/month. Luck, or whatever you want to call it, has a particular sense of humor: our yoga vibes co-exist with kickboxing fury in this shared space. Most importantly, as autumn drew to a cold and dark close, we could keep our group going: now, it was Yoga in the Gym.
But even with the cold upon us, Christa introduced us to a new level of gezelligheid as she began the Sunday Workshops. These classes are slightly more advanced, but working carefully through a select set of movements and breaths that make the class accessible to everyone. With her, we learn about the use of props while practicing Yoga, such as bands and blocks, following Iyengar Yoga. She also introduced the use of herbs and sounds. Then (after one last brief stretch of social distancing for Covid that we’d rather just skip), live music began to accompany portions of our class as Pascal (a member of the group) and Christa brought such instruments as a double-flute, kalimba, and a handpan.
Speaking of music, the Yoga classes and workshops are only one way we meet. We also hang out together informally on Thursday evenings for live music, keeping up our tradition set ever since the first class. We practice shaik-yer-buti-yana-asana at the highest underground bar in Groningen. After all, this is more than Yoga: it’s a community.
Happily, summer is back upon us, and we complete the year back in prime conditions for more Yoga in the Park! Now we meet regularly on Tuesday evenings, often “in the Gym” at Metaallaan 255, and occasionally on Wednesdays for Yoga in the Park and Sundays for Yoga Workshops.