Sunday, July 12, 2009

Guerrilla Yoga and Mr. Lone Ranger

Guerrilla yoga is back!! After about a month of rain and drizzle, we finally had a beautiful and sunny weekend here in Halifax. Which means.... yoga in the park! After a brief check in with friends and a few last minute new-friend invitations, it looked like we were going to have NINE yogis attending Saturday. So yoga on the "Keep Off!" fort which has a fantastic view of the Atlantic ocean and is so nicely concrete and flat, was not an option (yogi/nis falling off during yoga would be slightly uncool).
(Working into our first downward dogs of the morning!)

Despite practicing on mushy, dirty grass with zero view of the ocean, I was pumped for our first outdoor yoga since May. A little under the weather from the slight excess of Guiness the night before... but hey, sweating the toxins out was a fine way to begin my Saturday!

As we stood at the entrace of Point Pleasant, waiting for a few yogi/nis to arrive, the Park Enforcement white Ford Ranger (very tough!) pulled up, almost side swiping Andrew (who stood his ground darnit!). The security dude got out, swaggered over with his wrap-around black sunglasses and stood right next to us. Quietly. Just stood there.

"Is there a problem?" from our tiny, yoga-mat carrying group of yogic gang bangers.
"You guys waiting for someone here?" question directed to the cars out in the parking lot.
"Yup" waiting for a response for a few minutes... awkward silence. "Should we wait somewhere else?"
"I don't want to cause any problems" Problems? Like a mob of yogis shaking their... blocks?
"Is this bench not for sitting?" - now this came from me, I was a little irritated about the I AM GOD attitude... so I kinda mouthed off a little teeny bit...
"I don't want to cause any trouble, could you wait inside the gates?"
"Why?"- this again from moi.
"I can't say"... hmmm CSIS (Canadian CIA) now has ties to the parking officers in Halifax???

... so we walked dutifully ten feet over to the gates and waited there, while Mr. Lone Ranger followed and stood creepily shoulder to shoulder in our little circle of yoga-terrorists. It was the weirdest most surreal experience.

We managed, after some joking about our crazy yoga-dealings out in the park, to enjoy a beautiful hour of practice in the hot sun (got a nice criss-crossed burn even though sunscreen was applied!). A cute happy Lab Retriever came to visit and sniff some faces during our down dogs and there shade was available for a few yogis who were smart enough to fight skin cancer. Ohms were had with reassurances that if it felt "too weird" then there was no need to partake, just to set intentions or absorb our practice and J. brought YUMMY cookies to share!

Making our way back to the entrance of the park we were joined by our wonderful guide Mr. Lone Ranger in his nice small white truck... escorting us slowly out of the park. Hah. So of course we stopped, and he ambled over.... and.... apologized! Supposedly Paul McCartney (who was performing last night in the Halifax Commons) had indicated that he wanted to take a bicycle ride with his girlfriend through Point Pleasant, and Mr. LR was instructed to keep traffic moving. It was nice that he apologized and almost made up for how poorly he handled the situation. I guess a former Beatles member might do that to some people. At least now we know that our Lulu gear and Zen-auras weren't deemed threatening!

That afternoon, I caved and visited Lululemon to see about finding a new yoga-top. The Lulu-worker commented on my nice yoga-burn and became super pumped when I mentioned the words "yoga in the park" with an immediate: "Where? What studio? What instructor??" host of questions. I had to sheepishly inform her that, well, Halifax seems to be the only city that doesn't officially have a certified teacher led "Yoga in the Park" event... so we do it guerrilla style. Most likely, with the recession going as it is, I'm not sure how many studios would volunteer their time for free anyway. I made sure she understood before leaving that my "leading" the yoga in the park was completely "at your own risk" and not as a yoga teacher-poser. If ever a yoga teacher would like to take over, I would be grateful- there is just no comparison. :)

If there are any other eco-yogi/nis out there that wish their city had a Yoga in the Park why wait? Grab a couple of friends and practice Guerrilla style, an impromptu yoga at it's best.



  1. I'm glad there was an explaination for the park enforcement guy. How weird.

  2. Oh the douche cop! What a funny story! We enjoyed hearing it over brunch yesterday! ;)

  3. I love it! I'm involved with a teachers' group here and I would love to have us organize a yoga in the park day. Until then, I am still trying to screw up the courage to practice in my new beautiful yard with all the neighbors watching! :D

  4. Grace: yes I was as well. IT was extremely weird... lol.

    Alli: haha, yes it will go down as one of the weirdest yoga-stories :) Have we taught Diego another new slang word?? lol

    Babs: The cool thing about yoga in the park is that usually there are trees and stuff around, so it's not completely open. And the park is a normal place for yoga to occur- so you'd probably feel less self concious with a group of yogi/nis where you're not the only one! :)

  5. That is too funny!

    So, silly question: How exactly does "guerilla style" work? I get that you don't have a teacher leading you, but your picture implies that you all do the same poses together. Or was that planned?

  6. Greenspell: well, we don't have a certified teacher- and I guess the word 'Guerrilla' came about originally as we were practicing on an 'off limits' part...

    I have been leading the park yoga- so I have a plan and talk people through it (inhale arms up, exhale forward fold...) trying to remember some basic pose requirements- Warrior I, heels aligned, hips straightened to the front of the mat, shoulders back, breathe for three breaths... etc.

    It's what I do for my practice at home, so the idea is that I'm just talking out loud during a personal practice- but that everyone there realizes that I'm not a certified teacher and it's at your own risk (so Guerrilla in that sense). Also I don't go and adjust anyone- I'm not qualified at all!!

    So, it would be loads and loads better for a certified instructor to come lead the class, but I highly doubt that will happen. So it's basically my personal practice with Andrew and whoever else would like to join :)

  7. Wish I lived closer, would totally volunteer! That story would make a great SNL it.

    So about the Guerrilla yoga...The "rink patrol" was more into laughing about us on the rink than trying to enforce any proper discipline. (he was about 16 though...)

    I tried to get my husband to let me do some yoga on a giant Sombrero over the weekend, but he wouldn't stop. Damn him. (South of the Border,Along I 95, Dillon, SC)

  8. That's so cool. I've been thinking of doing that, but I would want someone else to be the "leader." I was a bit of a plumpie as a child, and still get nervous exercising in front of others, or drawing attention to myself while doing so. Though no one would be so infantile as to laugh at me these days, even if I was still plump... It's just one of those bad memories that linger.

  9. What a beautiful day you had for yoga in the park. Wish I lived closer. I've done yoga on the beach a few times but I mostly meditate when I'm at the beach by myself.

  10. Just in the manner of sharing (an in case anyone is taking a trip to S.Africa this November-February): In the summertime we walk up Lion's Head, one of our 3 mountains in the city bowl (i live in cape town, SA) every tuesday and thursday at 5:30am and do yoga at the top while the sun rises. It is hands-down The Best way to start one's day and quite possibly one of ct's best secrets! We have two fabulous qualified instructors who take turns to guide us and (as an appreciation) we give them a small contribution expenses (they are awesome)...

  11. Haha, only in Halifax...

    I went to Dal for my undergrad, where my roomate was repeatedly (three separate times) threatened by the tight fist of the law to...stop rollerblading.

    She was a menace, I tell ya ;)


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