The past few months of imposed isolation and social distancing haven’t just reintroduced us to the great outdoors, but they’ve also forced us to look inward. In the cool, not-so-calm of our chaotic Bay Area domiciles, we’ve had to examine who we are — all the parts and pieces that make us uniquely peculiar. (For better and worse.) This explains why mindfulness and outdoor recreation haven’t been more talked about in recent memory.
And no better activity highlights those two observances more than socially distant yoga classes conducted atop our local greenspaces.
Thankfully for us San Franciscans, we reside in a city that boasts well over 150 public parks, so we’re never too far away from either a grassy lawn or sandy beach. Even if sometimes underneath Karla the Fog’s early-morning gaze, there’s something about doing yoga outside that’s inherently special and centering.
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Here are five SF yoga studios hosting outdoor, socially distant classes that you can take up to namaste in the sun alongside Mother Nature.
Founded in 1998, Yoga Garden SF has remained a local hub for outdoor yoga for over 20 years. They believe that yoga should be equal parts a pursuit in bettering your mind as it is one to improve your physical being; you won’t find any off-putting, aggressive commands or instructions at any of their classes.
To abide by social distancing norms, the studio is now hosting Vinyasa in the Park sessions a few times a week at the Golden Gate Park’s panhandle. The hourlong classes — which specifically focus on strength and breathing exercises — are limited to 11 yogis per class, and each attendee must wear a face mask and provide their own mats. All reservations must be booked at least 24 hours in advance.
Outdoor Yoga SF had a leg up on other studios even before the pandemic came down with a life-altering thud — because all of their classes had always been held at Baker Beach. Now, they’re merely just choosing to make that fact more well-known and have recently expanded their class schedule to accommodate the recent influx in new attendees. Yogis can choose between an hour-and-15-minute-long morning power yoga class that’s meant to center you for the day or a more calming, endurance-focused sunset yoga session.
Also, Outdoor Yoga SF recently introduced a new hourlong Friday evening class that’s followed by another hour of cardio-focused dancing, should you be so inclined. Per usual, BYOM (bring your own mat), and don’t forget your towels and water bottles; each class is limited to 30 people, and all the provided headphones are cleaned before each use. For East Bay locals, the yogi collective also just released a new list of classes in that neck of the woods.
Yogabeach is a locally owned and operated neighborhood studio in San Francisco’s Ocean Beach neighborhood (you know: the same slice of the city that’s recently erupted with signs aimed to offer hope as Election Day looms). Much like all the other studios listed on this roundup, they offer online classes, and they’ve recently expanded the number of outdoor sessions they hosting.
Wild Yoga, as the studio calls it takes place multiple times a week at the Beach Chalet Soccer Field. Present yogis can expect a full-body-sculpting, hourlong session that’s meant to reinvigorate your core and bring you peace of mind. Advance sign-up is required, and all attendees must wear face masks and practice proper social distancing at all times. For an extra bonus: Use the promo code “20WILD” to save 20% off your reservation if you’re not a member. Each class is limited to just a dozen people — and don’t forget your mat.
On the weekends, Glow Yoga and Wellness now hosts a “wellness outdoor experience” at Washington Square Park where yogis can take to their own socially distant circles and namaste well more than six feet from the cool, calm, and collected individual to either their left or right.
Those keen on taking an outdoor Glow Yoga class can choose between Cardio Core, a full-body tempo class that’s meant to single-out certain muscle groups, Gentle Yoga — which, as the name would suggest, is a slower-paced class centered on the notion of reconnecting your mind and body through a series of stretches — or a gentler, less strenuous Glow Barre class that’s meant to elongate your muscles and ease your joints. BYOM and, depending on the class you take, make sure you have your weights or resistance bands before leaving the house.
Baptiste Power Yoga was started by a former ER nurse and a multidisciplinary construction contractor — so suffice to say the founding duo knows a thing or two about how taxing and grinding a fast-paced lifestyle can be, especially on the body. Located at 38 Mesa Street in the Presidio, the yoga studio has also begun doing hourlong outdoor classes aimed to tone, strengthen, and clear your mind, leaving you with a sense of accomplishment and empowerment.
The exact location of each class, which will be held somewhere in the Presidio, will be shared once you register for it. Don’t forget to bring your masks and yoga mats; socially distancing is enforced each session.