DE PERE - You may have noticed outdoor yoga classes popping up this summer. Several studios are starting to dabble in them, and having success.
One, that takes place in a De Pere park, is free to attend and is making a difference, helping to feed the hungry.
When you watch yoga instructor Ryanne Cunningham go through her poses, it seems effortless and yet challenging at the same time. She is the owner of Flow Yoga studio in De Pere, and two years ago, she had an idea.
"I noticed Voyager Park has the open grass area and I just thought what a neat idea to be able to do yoga outside, in the open area," said Ryanne Cunningham, yoga instructor.
So with that idea, she contacted the city, and got the necessary paperwork in place. And since the class began, it's been an instant success.
"It's a fun way to do yoga. There's usually about 300 people and it's just a great environment to do yoga," said Colleen Conway, De Pere resident and class participant.
Each Thursday night, during the summer, from 6:00 to 7:00, the outdoor class, called "Yoga in the Park," runs for one hour.
"I think it's just something different. Our summers are short lived in the Green Bay area so it's nice to get out and enjoy the fresh air, and be exercising at the same time," said Tara Granquist, De Pere resident and class participant.
Cunningham sets up on a hill, with a microphone and speakers, and takes the class through beginner poses. Another instructor walks around, checking form.
"I love the exercise. I love the stretching. I work with people and use my body all day long doing physical therapy. So it's nice to be able to stretch out and get exercise and concentrate on my own body," said Colleen Nowak, De Pere.
"I'm not very experienced, and that's one of the fun things. You can get out here and kind of try and do different things, and maybe I'm making some mistakes, but that's okay," said Conway.
In the open field, there's plenty of room to move around and do the poses. The outdoor setting keeps them coming back each week."
"Every Thursday. I'm a big fan of yoga, so I come as much as I can," said Sethyn Chamberlain, Appleton.
This year, Cunningham wanted to do something even bigger, so she asked participants to consider bringing a can of food to donate to charity.
"It's a great thing that they do here. To bring a food item. Even though it's technically free, it's still great to give back," said Chamberlain.
"They're taking advantage and enjoying a free opportunity for themselves, so I think this is their way for all of us to give back to our community at the same time," said Cunningham.
On the final night of the class, Cunningham had a table filled with donations.
She knows this class is making a difference, with the donated food, and the benefits that come with doing yoga.
- For more information on Yoga in the Park and Cunninham's studio Flow Yoga, click here.
- If you know of a someone or something that is “Making a Difference,” click here.
- You can also send Michelle a message on her Facebook page here.