‘It’s lovely to be able to look up at the sky; I’m so grateful that Sue is doing this for us,’ says participant of popular program
“Mindful movement outdoors cultivates resilience, suppleness and strength while reminding us to laugh and be playful.”
This is the description found on social media for the outdoor yoga classes offered by Orillia’s Kind Living with Sue Sinclair. Not only does it describe the benefits of yoga, but also reveals how Sinclair has adapted to our ever-changing circumstances.
With Kind Living’s physical studio space temporarily closed due to COVID-19, the business has launched an online studio space as well as in-person outdoor yoga classes.
“I seem to be using the word ‘adapt’ quite a bit this year, as we all try to navigate uncharted territory,” said Sinclair. “Offering outdoor classes is one of the ways we are adapting. Even with last-minute changes because of weather conditions, students say they love being outdoors. They’ve been such a supportive community for us.”
Sinclair runs the business with partner Robb McDonald, who, in recent months, has been able to assist with the technology challenges of an online studio, where a wide range of classes is offered.
From chair yoga to five- and 10-minute conditioning routines to full body Hatha Flow classes, participants can choose to practise when and where they want. There’s even a 20-minute ‘Sweet Dreams’ session to help you sleep.
Except for special events and requests, this is the first time the studio has offered regular outdoor classes. The classes take place in the shady backyard of the Kind Living facility, located along the Lightfoot Trail near Couchiching Beach Park.
For Sinclair, the outdoor classes have brought some unexpected benefits.
“I’ve been reflecting a lot about how we can adapt with more ease and grace and I’ve discovered how practising outside seems to give us more permission to be playful with our practice,” she explained. “We are less inclined to judge ourselves harshly, and less likely to compare ourselves to others, both huge gifts in my opinion.”
Sinclair’s students have also discovered the joy of outdoor yoga.
“I love it,” said Lisa James, who often participates in the outdoor sessions with her daughter, Lindsay McKenzie. “I need to be outside; I’m a mountain biker and climber, so for me, it just fits. It’s lovely to be able to look up at the sky; I’m so grateful that Sue is doing this for us.”
James says she also enjoys the challenges created by the outdoor landscape and uneven ground.
“I think being able to move naturally in our landscape helps us with the challenges we face in day-to-day life,” said James.
For McKenzie, it’s the challenge of the outside sounds that provides an added benefit.
“Because of all the outside noise, we have to zone in on our own little bubble, which is less of a challenge in a perfectly calm indoor studio. I think this helps us do the same…