Lexington citizens interested in taking a yoga class have more options now than ever before. Classes are offered in a variety of locations, for all prices and levels of experience.
“If there’s a cool community space, people are filling it with yoga,” yoga instructor Anne Dean Dotson said of Lexington.
From equine yoga workshops to rolling out your mat in a brewery, below are some of the classes you can take outside of a yoga studio.
Yoga on the Field at Whitaker Bank Ballpark
When: Sunday, July 30 from 9:30-10:30 a.m., with more sessions offered in the fall and spring.
This was the second yoga session to be offered on the Lexington Legends baseball field. The first, in May, attracted more than 100 participants, according to Jillian Waitkus, executive assistant to the president and CEO of the Lexington Legends. Waitkus, who said she has been practicing yoga for three years, has organized both of the yoga sessions.
This session cost was $5, and participants received a ticket to Sunday’s Legends game. Additionally, $2 mimosas were served after the 60-minute Vinyasa flow session.
“People love to get out on the field, and it’s not something a lot of people get to do,” Waitkus said.
Although Yoga on the Field was only offered once this summer, Waitkus said they are “definitely planning on doing it again.” Waitkus said another session will likely happen in late September or October, with more again in the spring.
Waitkus said at the session offered in May, participants were able to interact with Lexington Legends players, who were warming up on the field at the same time as the yoga session.
“You get to experience things that you normally wouldn’t at a normal yoga studio,” Waitkus said.
Waitkus said the program is for people at all levels, and benefits include stress relief, emotional release, increased flexibility and better sleep.
“There’s a million benefits to doing yoga,” Waitkus said.
For more information on future Yoga on the Field sessions, email Jillian Waitkus at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yoga at Raven Run Nature Sanctuary
When: Each Saturday at 1 p.m. and Wednesday at 2 p.m.
Yoga sessions are offered twice a week, each week for free at the Raven Run Nature Sanctuary, according to Michael Downs, program director.
“It’s open to everyone,” Downs said.
Downs said the session is an “all levels program,” and is great for first-timers or seasoned yogis.
“Like a lot of yoga practices, the benefits include strengthening the body’s musculature system ... as well as relieving stress,” Downs said.
Raven Run Nature Sanctuary has yoga mats and blocks for up to 10 participants, but has space to accommodate more. Downs said when the weather is nice they practice outside in the nature sanctuary, but also have indoor space available for inclement weather.
While the sessions are scheduled for each week, they can be canceled for various reasons. Downs recommended calling before the classes to make sure they were still scheduled.
For more information, contact Raven Run Nature Sanctuary at 859-272-6105.
Balance & Brews at Mirror Twin Brewing Co. and Pivot Brewing
If you’re looking to do yoga and enjoy a locally brewed craft beer when you’re done, Balance & Brews is the program for you. Balance & Brews offers programs throughout the country, with two upcoming events in Lexington.
Balance & Brews began in Cleveland, Ohio, but moved to Lexington with Carly Conatser, yoga instructor and coordinator for Balance & Brews. The $15 fee includes a 60 minute yoga session led by Conatser followed a pint of locally brewed craft beer. The classes are taught at Mirror Twin Brewing Co. and Pivot Brewing, but Conatser said they are hoping to expand to other locations in the future. Conatser said that despite the “nontraditional location,” the class can “accommodate for anybody.”
“What we’re creating is a fitness, yoga, social experience,” Conatser said.
Classes are open to participants of all levels of experience, and typically have about 20 to 25 participants, Conatser said. Conatser said because of the $15 fee and capacity restrictions of the breweries, each participant has “enough space to be calm and to be confident.” Despite capacity restrictions, however, Conatser said they have not had to turn anyone away or close the classes due to size.
Conatser said creating “community” is at the heart of the Balance & Brews program, and creating connections between participants and local breweries. Conatser said participants “can stay and connect” with each other. Conatser also said the program brings business to local breweries at a time of day when they may not have a large crowd.
“Most important is community,” Conatser said, “coming together to practice together.”
Conatser said Balance & Brews creates community by teaching “in a way that people get to know each other,” along with the opportunity to connect with one another after classes at the breweries.
“We want you to come and get to know other like-minded individuals,” Conatser said.
Horses and Yoga Workshop at the Kentucky Horse Park
When: 6:30-8:00 p.m. Aug. 25
The upcoming Horses and Yoga workshop, hosted by Lexington psychotherapist Charlotte Hiler Easley, allows participants to interact with horses before, during, and after a yoga session.
“It’s based on the premise that yoga is about awareness and connection,” Easley said. “And the horses bring that extra heightened sense of connection.”
During the hour-and-a-half long workshop, participants enter the arena and meet the horses before beginning the yoga sequence. The group will then exit the arena to do yoga, before reentering the arena for standing poses while the horses are around them. Easley said all of the yoga is on the ground, and none of the exercises take place while mounted on the horses.
This is the second Horses and Yoga workshop that Easley has done, and she said they aim to keep the groups small and “intimate.” Easley said being surrounded by the horses helps participants to feel “the intimacy of the herd.”
“Animals can calm our nervous system and enhance awareness,” Easley said.
Easley said the session focuses on mindfulness and awareness, and how to bring that into your everyday life. She said that the presence of the horses brings a sense of “awe and expansion” to the session.
“There’s a real sense of ... letting go of all the expectations, and enjoying who you are,” Easley said. “And the horses support that.”
West Sixth Yoga at West Sixth Brewing
When: 6-7 p.m.Wednesdays
Another option for participants looking to incorporate yoga and locally brewed beer is West Sixth Yoga, hosted each week at West Sixth Brewing.
West Sixth Yoga was started nearly five years ago by yoga instructor Anne Dean Dotson, who said she was inspired by a similar program in Charleston, South Carolina. Every Wednesday night, participants meet at West Sixth Brewing for an hour of yoga. In the spring and summer, weather permitting, the yoga practice happens outside at Coolavin Park. In cooler months or bad weather, the practice happens inside at the West Sixth Brewing Beer Garden, Jesse Brasher, taproom manager, said.
“The crew that comes in really enjoys being outside,” Brasher said.
When the class is held inside, Dotson said there is room for about 70 participants. When held outside, Dotson said there is room for up to 100 participants.
Dotson was originally the only teacher, but when she had a baby two years ago, she began bringing in a “rotating set of teachers.” The teachers continue to rotate week by week, in order to “expose students to different teachers,” Dotson said.
The class is taught for all levels of experience, from those doing yoga for the first time, to yoga teachers wanting to attend. The class is free, but donations are accepted for the teachers each week, Dotson said. Their Facebook page encourages participants to arrive early, because of the limited space.
Dotson said she has seen a “hunger for yoga and community” from those attending the West Sixth Yoga, and the class has grown into a community movement. She said she’s seen friendships grow from the class, with participants talking to one another before or during the class, or staying at the brewery after the class. She said she hopes the class encourages participants to be “a little softer and a little kinder toward yourself.”
“My hope is that you’ll leave the class feeling a little better than when you came,” Dotson said.
Monica Kast: 859-231-1320, @monicakastwku