By Adam Brazeau
CORNWALL, Ontario - For the next 12 weeks, expect to see a growing group of yogis do the downward dog, low warrior and modified cobra in Lamoureux Park.
Body in Balance instructor Jenn Torrance launched a new Yoga in the Park series in Cornwall on Monday.
Rather than practicing yoga within the confines of a studio while attempting to recreate an ambience of soft lights and pleasant sounds, and even an aromatic experience, Torrance wanted the great outdoors as her venue.
"Why settle for a replica of natural surroundings when you can have the real thing?" asked Torrance. "Outdoor classes add a different dimension to one's practice and pare yoga down to its original link with nature."
There are five sessions a week: Mondays and Wednesdays - 10 a.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays - 6 p.m., and Sundays - 9 a.m. If it rains, classes will be held in the Lion's Club Bandshell.
Classes are $12 each or $100 unlimited.
Taking yoga out of the studio and into the park has enticed over a dozen people to unroll a mat and strike a pose. And she expects that number to grow.
Torrance noted that yoga is for all ages. The benefits promote an interdependence between mind, body and spirit.
"Physically, it will help to develop a toned, flexible and strong body," she said. "Through yoga, you can look and feel younger than your actual age."
Torrance chose the park as the event's location because it's a large, open space located at the central point of Cornwall with plenty of nearby parking, and all routes of the bike path converge there.
"It also invites people passing by so that anyone and everyone are welcome," she said. "Essentially, less distraction in a free environment."
Torrance explained that many aspects of yoga are in fact about being in the moment and at one with nature or the universe. That's why so many asanas (yoga positions) reflect animals and nature. It gives people a benchmark, not for performance but for how their body feels as they move through the guided positions.
"By putting your body into the shape of a tree or a stretching cat, by exploring the graceful wingspan of a bird or the fluidity of the Sun Salute, by breathing with the same cyclical sense as the tides or with an ocean sound, you evoke a sense of harmony, timelessness, and connection to the universe," she said.
Torrance discovered yoga at the age of 16 when training for triathlons. In the past 10 years, she has added many certifications to the list.
"In 2009 I graduated from Queen's and went on to complete 200 hours of yoga teacher training under Blissologist Eoin Finn," she said.
During that time Torrance practiced Meditation, Pranayama, Blissology Alignment & Biomechanical Principles, Anatomy, Vinyasa, Subtle Energy Systems, Classical Yoga Philosophy and how to bring Nature into your Practice.
She also has a background in holistic nutrition, Olympic-style lifting and gymnastics.
"Yoga means 'union,' and when it's practiced outdoors it seems like the union with nature, humanity, and the universe is truly felt," said Torrance.
For more information, visit facebook.com/BodyInBalance55.