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Yoga outside the studio — in gardens, fishtanks, libraries

Yoga instructor Kimberly Hard taught a class at Georgia Aquarium in February. AJC file photo.

I’ve had an on-and-off relationship with yoga since college, one I wish was based on a maturing sense of how to take care of myself, deal with stress, blah, blah, blah. I’m well aware that it improves my quality of life, but realistically, there’s a direct line between my dedication to yoga and the distance I have to travel to do it.

When I moved to Atlanta, there was a yoga studio outside my front window. I had no excuse not to go once a week, sometimes twice a week, and hey, maybe once on the weekend, too! These days, I can’t smell incense in the breeze, but I only have to go about a mile for a class. Not bad.

But I see, too, a lot of unconventional yoga spots in the area — destination yoga, perhaps, where it’s as much about the place as the practice.

Callanwolde Fine Arts Center
I received an e-mail yesterday about a new “Outdoor Yoga for Life” class in Callanwolde’s gardens. The message said the restored gardens and a new amphitheatre made it a natural space for Hatha and Vinyasa yoga, led by instrcutor Kate Holland. More info: www.callanwolde.org.

Atlanta Botanical Garden
The Garden held yoga classes in its organically grown Rose Garden all summer, and it’ll continue another session Sept. 8-Oct. 13. Registration is open online and by phone for the once-per-week classes taught by Kim Alford of Kashi Atlanta. More info: www.atlantabotanicalgarden.org.

Georgia Aquarium
The world’s largest fishtank began to offer “Yoga Under the Sea” earlier this year. (Photos here.) Although it’s not going on right now, the Aquarium’s Web site says it will be back as a special program in the fall. Keep an eye on the Web site, or follow the Aquarium on Twitter. More info: www.georgiaaquarium.org.

Eryn Rogers tried a yoga class at Northeast Spruill Oaks Library in Johns Creek in June. AJC file photo.

Libraries
Might not be as lush or awe-inspiring as a rose garden or aquarium, but the local library can easily meet the requirement for convenience, and it’s usually free. For those intimidated by a studio where everyone seems to have plush mats and a yoga wardrobe, it’s a good start. Plus, it smells like books! The AJC published a story that included library yoga earlier this summer, but check in with your local library system to see what’s offered nearby.

Kiddie yoga
They’re over for the summer, but the Movin’ Groovin’ Mornings by Heritage Sandy Springs got kids outside for free physical activities like dance, martial arts and yoga. (The AJC checked in the day they were working on kung fu.) YogaKids has taken the little ones to the Aquarium for yoga, too!

Where else around metro Atlanta can you do yoga outside a studio or gym? Share your ideas and experiences in the comments or via Twitter @insideaccess. We’ll add those places to the list, too!

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