Yoga mats are rolled out on the grass. Sneakers and flip flops are kicked off. Instructor Kelly Rich puts some music on, and the sounds of easy-going tunes are carried through the wind, maybe serenading sailors out on Casco Bay.
It’s not until everyone sits down on their mats and Kelly asks us to close our eyes and take a deep breath in that my senses start noticing the details. The warmth of the sun on my eyelids and cheeks. The wind brushing across my skin and causing loose hairs to dance on my head. Birds. Water. A car. A little girl riding her bike on the paved path who asks her dad, “Oh wow, are they having a party?”
Yes. It’s a party of sorts. A yoga-in-the-park kind of party. There’s no cake lit with candles, but Yoga at Bug Light with Kelly Rich Yoga is a treat. And while there are no wrapped gifts, taking this hour in the grass under the big sky is a chance to “show up for yourself,” as Kelly says. Presence. That’s a gift you give yourself, right?
This is the third season that yoga instructor Kelly Rich has led classes at Bug Light Park in South Portland. She’s created quite a community along the way – and yogis of all levels turn up to do yoga in the grass all spring and summer long. When I bumped into a friend there and said it was my first time attending, she said “Oh, Kelly Rich is magical.”
The whole thing is magical. The stellar views of the Portland skyline, the boats passing between Portland Harbor and Casco Bay, the sounds of kids playing, the feel of cool grass on the soles of your feet. The setting is spectacular. And Kelly Rich leads class with an easy-going calm that’s wonderfully contagious. And if your mind tends to be busy with work, home, kids, life, Kelly will remind you to take note of the wind, your breathing, the way your body feels when sinking into a lunge or reaching toward the sky.
“The community is really what it’s all about,” said Kelly. “I truly love being there, offering what I offer and feel immensely grateful for the opportunity to share my voice.”
There’s music emanating from a portable speaker and Kelly uses a headset, so it’s easy to hear her, even if the wind picks up or there’s other noise in the park. And all levels are welcome. Just bring a yoga mat or blanket, some water, layers if it’s expecting to be cool, and enjoy an hour of yoga.
When the season is in full swing, Kelly teaches classes at the park five days a week (Sundays from 10-11 a.m. and Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 6-7 p.m.) A $10-$15 donation is encouraged. Classes have already begun for the season (although the May schedule is more play-it-by-ear, depending on the weather, so definitely check Kelly’s Facebook page for class dates/cancellations) and usually continue into the fall.
Kelly leads additional events as well, like Full Moon Yoga on May 29, Summer Solstice Sun Salutations on June 21, both a Bug Light Park. She also teaches classes at Arcana and has a fall yoga retreat at Nurture Through Nature in Denmark Sept 14-16.
Yoga at Bug Light Park
At Bug Light Park, South Portland, with Kelly Rich Yoga
10-11 am Sunday
6-7 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday (note: this is the full-season schedule. Most of May will be play-it-by ear depending on the weather. Classes often go into the fall if the weather is good. To find out if class is happening, check Kelly’s Facebook page.
For more info and the list of upcoming events: https://www.facebook.com/pg/kellyrichyoga/events