Set Your Mind, Body and Soul Free for Free

Free yoga is the recessionistas way of staying in shape and stress-free

It’s the worst catch-22 situation: Your will-I-have-a-job-tomorrow work situation is causing you to stress-eat. Now you’ve gorged yourself into a whole new pant size, but you can’t afford a gym membership because, well, unemployment doesn’t really cover that.

Before you make yourself any more stressed out, fat and out of shape, it’s time for an intervention. Enter the boatload of free yoga classes around town.

Not only will you whittle that waist back down to your old pant size, you’ll also release the tension you’ve been lugging around with you since you realized you could buy a house three times the size of the one you’re in for about a quarter of the price you paid for yours. Wait, before you get all worked up again, repeat after us, “Om.” Now grab a mat, some water and a towel and get started on your path to free enlightenment.

DOWNTOWN: If your overpriced, undervalued palace is located near Bayfront Park, head there Monday and Wednesday nights at 6 p.m. for a little yoga overlooking Biscayne Bay at the Tina Hills Pavilion. The hour-and-15-minute-long class is a real workout, but beginners and old yogis alike are welcome to come and test their stretching limits. The Park also offers a class Saturday morning at 9 for the early birds.

COCONUT GROVE: The Free Yoga Foundation wants to help you reach new heights both spiritually and physically. Great, now you’ll be able to upgrade your aura’s color to something a little less grim and put your legs behind your head. The group, which is open to all levels, including beginners, meets every Saturday at 9:30 a.m. in Kennedy Park. While the class is free, the foundation accepts donations and managed to raise more than $10,000 for Camillus House, Peruvian earthquake victims and Miami-Dade public schools.
MIAMI BEACH: What’s more peaceful than closing your eyes and following your breathe amongst the lush tropical plants of Miami Beach’s Botanical Gardens? Every Friday at 9 a.m. the garden opens its gates for a Hatha yoga practice. Hatha yoga focuses on a variety of postures, like say balancing on one leg while you stretch your other leg behind you so your toes can reach the top of your head. But don’t worry, they won’t expect you to do that one on your first (or second or 50th) attempt. While the class is free, they wouldn’t mind if you could toss a little coinage their way every now and then.
Also in Miami Beach, Flamingo Park welcomes yogis Wednesdays at 6 p.m. and Saturdays at 9:30 a.m. for a little downward-facing dog action. Don’t know what that means yet? Don’t worry, you’re still welcome. The classes are open to all levels. All you need to bring is an open mind and a flexible body.

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