PHOENIXVILLE, PA — Yoga In The Park has been a win for Phoenixville, as grateful participants show up at Reeves and Kimberton parks to take in the sunsets and enjoy the class.
Yoga teacher Sheila Keating was not sure how she would continue classes when businesses and schools shutdown, but she forged a way, and created Yoga In The Park.
“Once we hit the yellow phase and could have 25 participants outdoors, I was ecstatic,” she said.
Coordinating with Phoenixville Parks and Recreation, East Pikeland Township, and Upper Providence Township, Keating arranged to have outdoor yoga classes last summer. The classes will continue until the end of October, and the class in Reservoir Park in Phoenixville will continue into November, or, said Keating, “Until the folks let me know it’s too cold to go on.”
She said participants have requested to continue classes, so she is currently trying to find an indoor location to move classes to when necessary. All classes now are at 6 p.m.
Monday’s class is at Anderson Farm Park , at 499 Hopwood Road, Wednesday’s class is in Kimberton Park, and Thursday’s class meets in Reservoir Park.
“Yoga in the park has been a blessing to both myself and the participants,” said Keating. “Everyone shows up needs some movement and connection, some form of normalcy in this mess.”
“When COVID happened we as teachers were finding ourselves in a dilemma with how to teach and keep our tribe in place. Zoom was a frustrating situation at first – now it’s much easier – but, we were still missing that connection,” she said.
The participants are just as grateful for this connection as Keating.
Class member Gabriel said, “Sheila is an incredible yoga instructor. I look forward to Sheila’s class weekly, because I know I’m going to have a wonderful time and feel relaxed when class is over.”
Participants supply their own mats, along with their own “open heart and wonderful vibe,” said Keating. They set up their mats at least 6 feet apart. The classes instruct in yoga for all levels, with options for participants to take things back a notch or up a notch, depending on ability.
“Everyone leaves with with a renewed, reset body and mind,” Keating said.
Keating said she got into yoga because she had a vocal condition called Spasmodic Dysphonia.
“The simple description is vocal spasms which directly affect the vocal chords. Robert Kennedy Jr. has this same condition,” she explained. Keating said, after watching Kennedy’s speeches, she realized he was not letting it stop him from accomplishing his goals, and she was encouraged.
“I became determined to find tools to help me on a daily basis and yoga was at the top. The breath work and mindfulness were tools I could slip in my mind and call upon as needed,” she said.
“Those that have taken my class know I have good days and bad days but, I do what I love anyway. It doesn’t stop me. Once I start teaching I get out of my own way — out of my head — and place my focus on the participants. How can I help them today? What do they need in this moment? That’s when my rhythm kicks in. I love it.”
Kristen, another of Keating’s students, said, “I have taken yoga classes for a few years with Sheila. Sheila has a natural calming presence that promotes relaxation. Her non-judgmental style allows you to focus on your inner self while stretching and strengthening your body.”
Keating said wonderful people are showing up for Yoga In The Park, from beginners to advanced.
A $10 donation is suggested for taking the class. More information on schedules, location, and mini-retreats can be found at YogaWithSheilaK.com.