Free Yoga Boston (Winter/Spring 2022)

Whew! Between moving in October, working, the holidays, then getting COVID, things got away from me. This list is up far later than I’d hoped, but it’s also very special. I recently realized that this is a milestone list. Back in 2012 was the first time that I posted a full listing of free yoga classes by day of the week. That’s 10 years ago!

While I may abandon word games at the drop of a hat, I’ve hung in there with Free Yoga Boston. Much of the reason is because I’ve gotten such great feedback over the years from many of you about how useful you find this information. Back then, I could have never imagined all the virtual classes. Life comes at you fast! So we adapt.

Make sure to check the Free Yoga Boston Facebook Group in addition to the Free Yoga Boston Facebook page. The group is private, but you can request to join. Members share information and sometimes there are additional classes and events listed.

You can also find classes on Eventbrite and Meetup. Classes listed here are free or donation based and the time is Eastern. Click on the links for more details on dates and to register. Because of the way some of the classes are listed, it was easier to include a few that will take us into summer. You can plan early!

As always, this list is a work in progress that will have changes and updates. Please let me know if you have any questions, corrections and/or tips! Enjoy!

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MONDAY

Harvard Pilgrim Health Care: Ongoing (Online)
5:15pm – 6:15pm

TUESDAY

Yoga Hub & Boston Public Library Yoga: May 3 – June 7
(Senior Chair Yoga @ Codman Square Branch, 690 Washington St., Boston)
11am – 12pm

WEDNESDAY

Humble Roots Yoga: Ongoing
(Thomas Crane Public Library, 40 Washington St., Quincy)
9:30am – 10:30am

Pranayama ~ Joy of Breathing: Ongoing (Online)
1pm – 1:30pm

Harvard Pilgrim Health Care: Ongoing (Online)
5:15pm – 6:15pm

THURSDAY

Humble Roots Yoga: Ongoing
(Tufts Library, 46 Broad St., Weymouth)
9:30am – 10:30am

SATURDAY

Yoga Hub & Boston Public Library Yoga: April 30 – June 4
(Family Flow @ Lower Mills Branch, 27 Richmond St., Dorchester Center)
10:30am – 11:30am

Yoga Hub & Boston Public Library Yoga: March 19 – April 23
(Family Flow @ Adams Street Branch, 690 Adams St., Dorchester)
11am – 12pm

Yoga Hub & Boston Public Library Yoga: May 28 – July 2
(Hatha Yoga For Active Adults @ South Boston Branch, 646 E Broadway, South Boston)
11am – 12pm

SUNDAY

Vinyasa Yoga (Biweekly starting 2/20/22 – Registration Required)
(Allbirds, 29 Brattle St., Harvard Square, Cambridge)
9:30am – 10:15am

Boston Parks Winter Fitness Virtual Yoga: Through April 24 (Online)
6pm – 7pm

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Into 2022 & Plant Medicine

Hoya Lisa my plant medicine

Three months ago was the last time that I wrote on this blog!

Between regular life, work, continuing to settle in my new place, the holidays and then getting COVID, I didn’t prioritize my writing. Which is wrong, because I always start feeling off when I don’t write. I’ve had this nagging feeling for a while that I should write something here. Anything, no matter how short.

Recently, a friend and my mom both separately mentioned to me that I should start writing again. So I’m here. Getting back to my practice. Like I do when I return to yoga or meditation when I’ve been away for awhile. Which had been the case for a few weeks when I stopped those as well.

I like to think that I’m good at taking care of myself. But we all slip up every once in a while. Things get overwhelming and we lose track of time and don’t center our wellness. When we don’t center our wellness, we get sick.

In 2020, I didn’t gather with anyone during the holidays. It was awful. So it was wonderful to spend time with loved ones this past Thanksgiving. It was a small gathering. We were all vaccinated and things felt mostly safe.

A COVID CHRISTMAS

In December, when I heard that Omicron was quickly spreading everywhere, I knew that gathering for Christmas was going to be a risk. My mom, brother and I spent three days together over Christmas.

My brother had sniffles by the time he went home. Pre-COVID, we would have thought nothing of it. Luckily he gets tested regularly and soon tested positive. Most of his housemate were sick as well.

My mom and I started to have similar symptoms. I tested positive soon after, but we were never able to get my mom tested. Thankfully we’re all fully vaccinated and boosted, so our symptoms never got worse than that of a bad cold. We assumed my mom had COVID as well, so we all isolated for ten days. The new five day CDC guidance seems questionable at best.

Anyway, now I don’t even know what to think. I took extreme measures not to get COVID. My activities have been extremely limited. I haven’t eaten in a restaurant in almost two years. I never stopped wearing a mask indoors when out in public. I’m barely out in public and work from home.

Even though my case was very mild, we don’t know the long-term effects of COVID. Until the past few years, I had never known that there were long-term effects from getting chickenpox until I learned about shingles. This summer I also got the two doses of the shingles vaccine. 2021 was about getting all the vaccinations! Got the flu shot too!

Although I might have a somewhat heightened immunity to COVID right now, I know that it won’t last. Especially with all the variants popping up. I don’t want to get it again. I’ve heard of people getting it two and three times! So I’m still being very careful. But I do want to find a way to be out in the world a bit more, because I’m missing out on a lot and it’s getting to me.

PLANT MEDICINE

Taking care of my plants, learning about plants and even talking about plants makes me happy. It’s bringing that peaceful feeling from being out in nature to the indoors. From being more immersed in the wellness community, I’ve learned the new (to me) way that many refer to things that help you feel better as medicine. If there’s a certain song that you play that makes you feel better, that song might be your medicine.

It makes sense when you think about the definition of medicine – a treatment for or prevention of disease. Usually we think of it as a pharmaceutical made by a company to fight disease. But what is disease? Dis-ease. When we are not feeling at ease – feeling unwell. Many things can make us feel at ease and they don’t have to be pharmaceuticals.

I’ve realized that plants are a medicine for me and plant therapy is good for my soul. The plant pictured above is called Hoya Australis Lisa. Yes, I have a namesake plant! She is the latest addition to my plant family and a Christmas gift to me from my mom. I usually get plant cuttings from friends and family, so I don’t buy many plants.

I don’t think I’ve ever ordered a plant online, but this was a plant that I really wanted. I’m not going to many stores nowadays and the stores that I do visit, I haven’t seen one. I don’t know anyone with this plant, so I couldn’t get a cutting. I ordered her from Horti and the delivery was very fast, so I was happy with the experience and finding this plant medicine. This is my first Hoya, so I’m looking forward to learning more about this plant as I move into 2022.

Free Yoga On The Library Lawn

yoga on the libary lawn

Over the years, I’ve read about many free yoga classes at public libraries in Massachusetts and in other states as well. This morning, I was finally able to attend a free yoga class right here in Quincy, outside on the lawn at Thomas Crane Public Library. This class was the first in a series of community classes taking place each Wednesday morning in September on the library lawn.

It’s hard taking pictures and enjoy the relaxing vibe, but I managed to snap a few.

There was a nice breeze — and lots of bees. Four or five bees hovered over blades of grass in front of me. A few ants made their way onto my mat too, but no stings or bites!

I was beneath a large tree, so there was some shade and bright sun streaming through the branches. There was a mostly clear blue sky with a few wispy clouds floating by. Even though the class was in the morning, it was warm and a tiny bit humid. Perfect weather and a reminder that summer is still here.

There was a good turnout and new arrivals kept showing up through most of the class. We were mostly an older crowd, but there was young woman who arrived towards the end with the cutest little girl. They both got on their mats and dove right into their practice.

From conversation I heard, a few people said this was their first yoga class. Our teacher, Rhiannon Skolnick of Humble Roots Yoga, was enthusiastic and has a gentle soothing way about her.

This might have been my first yoga class since the pandemic started. Possibly the second, but the first this summer. Because I’m vaccinated now and there was a lot of space to spread out on the library lawn, I felt comfortable not wearing a mask. Hopefully the weather will cooperate next week for another wonderful class.

Free Yoga Boston: Summer 2021

The 9th Annual listing of free yoga classes for Greater Boston and beyond is here!

Getting from the summer of 2019 to now encompasses so much. There’s grief for people lost during the pandemic. But there’s also triumph. We survived.

Virtual classes were the norm for the past year and a half, so this summer list focuses on live in-person outdoor yoga classes. Finally! Classes listed are free or donation based.

Click on the links for more details and to be sure there is class. Sometimes registration is required and also double check in case of bad weather, because classes may be cancelled. Bring your own mat, props, water and anything else you might need.

Make sure to check the Free Yoga Boston Facebook Group in addition to the Free Yoga Boston Facebook page. The group is private, but you can request to join. Members share information and there are additional classes and events listed.

As always, this list is a work in progress that will have changes and updates. Please let me know if you have any questions, corrections and/or tips! Enjoy!

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MONDAY

Boston Parks Fitness Series: Through September 27 (No class September 6)
(Vinyasa Yoga, Lopresti Park, 33 Sumner St., East Boston)
6pm – 7pm

Seaport Sweat: Through October
(Mindful Warrior Yoga, Seaport Common, 85 Northern Ave., Boston)
6:30pm – 7:15pm

Flow Yoga On The Greenway: Through September 27
(Rose Kennedy Greenway Parcel 16-Rowes Wharf Lawn, Atlantic Ave. & India St.,Boston)
6:30pm – 7:15pm

TUESDAY

Boston Parks Fitness Series: Through September 28
(Ashtanga Yoga, Adams Park, 4225 Washington St., Roslindale)
6pm -7pm

WEDNESDAY

Blue Sky Kripalu Yoga: Through the summer
(The Green at Partners Village Store, 865 Main Rd., Westport, MA)
8:30am – 9:30am

Community Yoga Class: Through October
(Thomas Crane Public Library, 40 Washington Street, Quincy)
9:30am – 10:30am

Boston Parks Fitness Series: Through September 29
(Chair Yoga, Symphony Park, 39 Edgerly Rd., Boston)
10am – 11am

NamaStay Flowing: Through the summer
(Revere Beach, Revere)
6pm – 7:30pm

HarborFit: Sunset Yoga at Piers Park: Through September 15
(East Boston Piers Park, 95 Marginal St., Boston)
7:30pm – 8:30pm

THURSDAY

Boston Parks Fitness Series: Through September 30
(Virtual Chair Yoga)
11am -12pm

Seaport Sweat: Through October
(Yoga Sculpt, Seaport Common, 85 Northern Ave., Boston)
5:30pm – 6:15pm

Boston Parks Fitness Series: Through September 30
(Yoga, Brighton Common, 30 Chestnut Hill Ave., Brighton )
6pm – 7pm

Boston Parks Fitness Series: Through September 30
(Yoga @ The Frog Pond, Boston Common, 38 Beacon St., Boston )
6pm – 7pm

Yoga & Movement: Classes may be every other week
(Rose Kennedy Greenway, Boston )
6pm – 7pm

Outdoor Yoga: Every other week
(Magoun Park, Medford)
6pm – 7pm

FRIDAY

Seaport Sweat: Through October
(Vinyasa Flow, Seaport Common, 85 Northern Ave., Boston)
12pm – 12:45pm

Boston Parks Fitness Series: Through October 1
(Fusion Fit (HIIT & Yoga), Doherty Playground, 349 Bunker Hill St., Charlestown)
6pm – 7pm

SATURDAY

Blue Sky Kripalu Yoga: Through the summer
(The Green at Partners Village Store, 865 Main Rd., Westport, MA)
8:30am – 9:30am

Yoga @ 3rd Ave Burlington: Through September 25
(3rd Ave Burlington, Third Ave., Burlington, MA)
8:30am – 9:30am

Franklin Park Yoga: Through October 2
(School Master Hill, Franklin Park, Dorchester)
9:15am – 10:30am

Boston Parks Fitness Series: Through October 2
(Restorative Yoga, Marcella Playground, 260 Highland St., Roxbury)
10am -11am

SUNDAY

NamaStay Flowing: Through the summer
(Revere Beach, Revere)
9:30am – 10:30am

Outdoor Yoga:
(Magoun Park, Medford)
10am – 11am

Yoga  @ Jamaica Pond: Through September 26
(Pinebank Promontory, Perkins Street and Jamaicaway, Boston)
11am – 12pm

Lotus Community Outdoor Yoga:
(Magnolia Park, Arlington)
12pm – 1pm

NEY Outside Community Yoga:
(Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park, Atlantic Ave., North End)
5pm – 6pm

Boston Parks Fitness Series: Through September 26
(Virtual Yoga)
7pm – 8pm

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Sea Us Now & Black Beach Culture

Photo from Sea Us Now

As a Virgo Sun and Taurus Rising, my astrology is deep into the earth. That may explain why I love my plant babies so much!

But some of the best times in my life take place near water. Not long ago, I learned that I’m a Scorpio Moon, which adds some water to my chart. Growing up on the East Coast may have a lot to do with it too. Living in Quincy, Massachusetts, I’m just a couple of miles from the beach. When I open the windows in the summer and the wind blows just right, I can smell the salty air — one of my favorite scents.

There was a pool in the apartment complex where I grew up, so I swam a lot. I loved doing handstands under water and playing Marco Polo. I lounged by the pool almost everyday during the summers and played ping-pong in the cabana. As children, my brother and I took swimming lessons at the local college. Our parents brought us to the beach for picnics and lots of swim time on the Cape. As a young teenager, I even went to marine science camp.

It wasn’t until I was much older that I realized many considered it unusual for African Americans to swim. When you think about movies showing beach culture, often focused on surfing, someone like me usually isn’t there. But things are changing.

On Instagram, I found a group of Black women surfers calling themselves Textured Waves. Their website describes who they are and their goal.

Textured Waves [w]as created to propagate the culture and sport of women[‘]s surfing towards women of color and underrepresented demographics through representation, community and sisterly camaraderie. We value integrity, inclusion and advocating diversity in the water.

In the early summer, Textured Waves premiered a short film called Sea Us Now, which was created in collaboration with Seea, a progressive women’s surf brand. The film itself is extremely short, but the conversation around it is fascinating and worth watching.

It reminded me of the importance of creating something for the future. Documenting that yes, Black women surfers are out there enjoying life right now. Their existence shows a roadmap for the next generation. The conversation alludes to the precarious history of African Americans and water. Our African ancestors were brought to this country in ships. Many suffered horrifying deaths at sea and those who lived witnessed it. There is also a strong history of racial discrimination at public swimming pools in this country. If we look at the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, even our drinking water is harmful. African Americans have ancestral and current trauma involving water that needs healing.

The joy of Sea Us Now starts that aquatic healing. It feels like a daydream. The women of Textured Waves in colorful bathing suits catching the waves. The sound of moving water, peaceful music and driving in a vintage car by the seashore. Carrying their surfboards. Palm trees and ice cream. Short vignettes of style, beauty and warm weather. Flowering trees blowing in the breeze along with their natural hair. Sisterhood. A carefree afternoon. Time for reflection and dreaming. The gift of exercise on the beach. Black health and wellness.

They describe the film as “a re-imagining of our history with the coastline and the sea” and “a love letter to our past and our future.”

If you want to skip right to the film, it starts a little after 25 minutes and goes until almost 30 minutes. But I do hope you watch the conversation.

It’s quite striking that the timing of the film’s release was in the midst of the protests after George Floyd’s death. Watching the video of his murder made me physically hurt. This film is like a balm for the body and soul. In the midst of everything, we can still find happiness and peace. We always have. That’s how we’ve survived.

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Screenshot: YouTube