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Taking Yoga Outside

Acting as holistic prevention to stress, anxiety, depression, unhealthy living and overall daily dysfunction, yoga has become the catch-all answer to much of what ails modern human beings. Connecting us to an inner self which often gets overlooked during the current state of chaotic, fast-paced, jammed packed living, yoga beacons to bring us back to our true selves and encourages a slowed down state of being, which inspires inner peace, connectivity to the natural world and a way to listen to our bodies, relax, regroup and recuperate.

The ultimate goal of yoga is to attain a harmony between the mind body and soul and to reach a path of divine enlightenment. During this journey, yoga increases flexibility, builds strength and aligns the body. But it’s also a mental calisthenic, exercising our thoughts to focus on the here and now and the positivity of life.

Liberating us from built up tension and stress, yoga allows us to stretch, ground and connect ourselves in way that few other activities can and by bringing this kind naturalistic, physical discipline out of doors, combining it with the likes of goats, alpacas and scenic ocean views, yoga enthusiasts are learning to enjoy this mindful exercise in an entirely new way. Here is a list of examples of where and when you can take your yoga mat outside for a new mind, body and soul experience in coastal Connecticut:

YOGA AT THE BEACH

It’s summertime on the shoreline, so what better way to marry together exercise, nature and relaxation? Bring that yoga mat to the beach and listen to the lapping waves of Long Island Sound as you unite natural spirituality with gentle stretching and breath.

Beach Yoga at Hammonasset State Beach is offered by Body Karma Studio every Sunday morning at 9 a.m. at Meigs Point Beach. This free community class begins June 30 and runs through September 1. All donations will go to the Friends of Hammonasset.

YOGA AT THE PARK

Yoga in the Park is offered free, in downtown Essex on the first Thursday of each month at the Main Street Park overlooking the picturesque Connecticut River inlet. Taught by certified yoga instructor Angela Stevens, this nature inspired class comes with plenty of fresh air, an awe-inspiring view and peaceful, tranquil experience. Offered in conjunction with the Essex’s Board of Trade First Thursday Celebrations, after class guests are encouraged to take a stroll through downtown Essex and visit some of the amazing art galleries, stores and restaurants.

Free Yoga in the Park will be held on June 7, August 1 and September 5 from 5:15 to 6 p.m.

YOGA ON THE GREEN

Unwind with Yoga on the Gallery Green in Guilford offered in the peaceful Green Art Sculpture Garden located behind Chapter One Restaurant, at 25 Whitefield Street. The fee is $20 a class, which includes a free glass of wine with friends, after class at the Chapter One Restaurant and a 20 percent discount at BSK Design Art next door. For more information, dates and times please email eebartolome@gmail.com.

YOGA IN A LAVENDER FIELD

What could be more serenely beautiful, relaxing and conducive to all that yoga is and inspires than yoga class in the middle of a lavender field? You can experience this natural phenomenon at Lavender Pond Farm in Killingworth, located at 318 Roast Meat Hill Road.

Offering Vinyasa Flow Yoga designed for all ages and levels of experience, certified Yoga Instructor Amy Hewitt guides guests through one-hour, Saturday morning sessions held at 9 a.m., amongst the sights, sounds and fragrant aromas of the lush lavender fields. The cost is $14 per class. For more information go to www.lavenderpondfarm.com or call 203-350-0367.

GOAT YOGA

Nadeau Farm in Hamden, a nonprofit, livestock rescue located at 74 Calamus Meadow Road, has been in operation since 1939. It offers gentle yoga classes for ages 10 and up along side furry, playful baby pygmy goats who will help you find your inner peace while stretching, breathing and most importantly smiling from ear to ear. Classes are $30 and offered on Saturday mornings at 10:30 a.m. and 12 noon and Sundays at 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. For more information go to www.nadeaufarm.com or call 203-671-5690.

Lockets Meadow Farm, also a non-profit rescue, is located in Bethany, at 771 Litchfield Tpke. This fifteen-acre animal rescue and sanctuary home to 140 animals including baby goats, pigs and puppies offer yoga classes that are not just an exercise, but a nature-centered experience with fur babies of all shapes and sizes helping guests to relax and connect to nature in a different, more spiritual way. Classes are offered every Saturday morning at 9, 10:15 and 11:30 a.m., the cost is $25 per class. For more information go to www.locketmeadow.org. or call 203-848-0051.

Bradley Mountain Farm, located at 537 Shuttle Meadow Road in Southington offers fuzzy, fun goat yoga for all levels on Saturday mornings at 9 a.m. The cost, per hour and a half class, is $35. Stretch, laugh and cuddle with the roaming, romping goats who love to join in on the fun and relaxation. For more information go to www.bradleymountainfarm.com, or call 860-385-4628.

ALPACA YOGA

So, goats are one thing, but alpacas are another; come and experience the unique experience of yoga with alpacas offered by Inner Sol Yoga Studio Team, at Chakana Sky Alpaca Farm located at 36A Turkey Hill Road in Chester. Join Khooper, Angelina, Annie and Captain Castiale at this small, huacaya alpaca breeding farm and see how much fun it is to downward dog with long-necked, furry alpacas by your side. Offering Sunday morning classes, check the website for dates and times at www.chakanaskyalpacas.com or call 860-204-1646 for more information.

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