I am the "Goldilocks" of Yoga. I have sampled every style; giggling through Laughing Yoga, tumbling through Acro, suspending through Aerial, sweating through Bikram and floating through Paddle. Every year, I go back to "the just right" feel of outdoor yoga in our city parks. At once, ancient meets modern for the perfect combination of all the things I love: community, parks, my City and its many moods and colors.
Besides the obvious benefits to practicing yoga in Nature, outdoor yoga provides an opportunity for regular physical, healing and therapeutic activity to those who may not be able to afford a class or membership. The casual setting also challenges the "yoga body" image and encourages new students and guests of all body types and abilities.
June to October, you can practice Yoga at the waterfront sponsored by The Hunters Point Parks Conservancy in Long Island City on Mondays and Thursdays at 7pm. Classes are offered by Melissa (Otero) Lomax, who was introduced to yoga during her own personal healing journey while coping with depression.
It was a Bikram Yoga class in Los Angeles and I remember feeling an excitement I hadn't felt in a long time. I started doing Bikram 5 days a week and noticed I was truly healing. Upon returning to New York, I took on Jivamuktiand continued to feel amazing bliss in my heart, body and mind. I could not deny it. Yoga was healing me. After immersion in Vinyasa years later, I was ready to bring this gift to others. During The Yoga Room teacher training, we were required to experience the yoga philosophy that ultimately changed my life...I was able to not only share and face my vulnerability, but also my happiness. This is what yoga is all about–meeting yourself on the mat day in and day out. Facing your demons and awakening to your angels surrounding you.
I had the wonderful fortune to meet Melissa through Sigrid Pichler (The Barkan Method), an instructor at The Yoga Room in Astoria, Queens. I was hooked on Sigrid's style, strength, humor, poise, ease and...her playlist-- a flow of Leonard Cohen, Caetano Velosa, The Beatles, Bob Dylan, the classics, with a bit of The Cranberries sprinkled in). Her Wednesdays and Thursday evening classes are addictive.
After studying and practicing with Sigrid for a number of years, Melissa now dedicates her practice to helping others with the invisible wounds of war, trauma and abuse. A growing number of studies suggests that yoga reduces stress, anxiety, depression, and insomnia by calming and regulating the nervous system and stress response symptoms. New research shows that people suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) experience relief with yoga. It is also good for the brain!
Oh, and did I mention?
That Melissa is an Award Winning International Pop and Latin Pop recording artist? and she started The Angels & Demons Foundation to support those suffering from depression and PTSD to heal through the power of holistic therapy and yoga.
Yoga: The Summer Sunset Series, Hunters Point Park South, 7pm Enjoy the sunset and watch the lights come up on New York City. Relax in Savasana and open your eyes to the moon and the stars. Long Island City also happens to be the geographic center of NYC. Let the magic begin! Just show up with your yoga mat, water, towel and sunscreen! Free and open to all ages and abilities. There is also a concession on site that is open until 10pm.
Melissa is a Certified 200hr Vinyasa and Trauma Informed Yoga Instructor in New York City. Yoga became an important part of her life in 2009 after a long battle with depression. Upon discovering yoga and its healing benefits, Melissa dove deep into the practice and decided to bring her new found love to others by taking a Vinyasa Teacher Training in 2015. Melissa hopes to share her love for music, yoga and body/movement-based interventions in her classes.
Ann O'Connor is a "Cultural Collaborator," Board Member of the Hunters Point Parks Conservancy and owner of Zoescope Studio. The studio brings humans together and combines elements of the arts, culture, education, healing and environmental awareness to build and activate communities through socially- conscious, inclusive content, programming and engagement. I hope we meet in the space of Real "Social" Media - LIVE and in-person. "Zoescope" is derived from the Greek "Zoe" meaning "Life": See Life Differently.