CRANFORD, NJ — On Friday, Aug. 12, yogis gathered to Miln Street in Cranford to join Gina Pachkowski of Alluem Yoga for Rock Yoga Hits the Streets. Miln Street was closed between North Avenue and Eastman Street, and the road was completely covered with yoga mats. Pachkowski led the class while other staff members of Alluem helped adjust yogis from a closer proximity.
Upon arrival, several yogis proudly opted to apply an Alluem rock yoga tattoo, which pictured a decorative guitar with an Om symbol in the center. Drivers honked their horns in admiration of the practice as they passed by the event. Popular rock songs of the nineties by bands such as U2 and Blues Traveler played in the background as yogi practiced their vinyasa.
“I’ve never practiced a rock yoga class until now,” Alie Zamora of Scotch Plains told LocalSource at the event. “I liked it. I have practiced outdoors and I enjoy it because it’s more natural. I love to breathe the natural air. I have no preference in terms of music, but I can practice with rock music just like any other genre.”
“I’ve practiced outdoor rock yoga for the past two years,” said Michelle Restrepo, of Roselle Park, at the event. “It’s a lot of fun, and there is a strong sense of community. I enjoy practicing outdoors so I can find calm in the busyness.”
The environment in which a yoga practice takes place influences the focus of the class. Outdoor events such as this that are open to the public induce a strong sense of community. It gives people the opportunity to gather with others with whom they might have otherwise never met. Also with the focus on the outdoors, yogis are more inclined to focus on the outer environment rather than delving deeper into themselves. While this can have its advantages in a more restorative yoga class, it’s also about finding other people with whom they can share their practice.
“Ever since I opened Alluem in 2009, I had a rock yoga class scheduled on Friday as a way to unwind at the end of the week,” Pachkowski told LocalSource after the event. “I liked the combination of fun music and yoga. Then when I took the class outdoors, it brought it to a whole new level. Rock Yoga Hits The Streets is an annual event that takes place every August. I take any opportunity to be outdoors in the summer. More and more yoga classes are taking place outdoors for the summer. I also participated in this year’s Union County Summer Concert series which features a free yoga class in the park prior to a free concert. In addition to that, I team up with Whole Foods to bring free yoga classes to the community.”
The event began at 6 p.m. and was scheduled to conclude with a Hooping in the Streets event from 6;30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. by Sharon Fit Belly Dance and Group Fitness Studio. Unfortunately due to a thunderstorm, the night ended earlier than anticipated. Also scheduled were free chair massages by The C.A.L.M. Approach Therapeutic Massage Center. It was a windy yoga class that ended early due to rain, thunder and lightning.
“Instead of the chair massage, we will hold a raffle drawing for gift certificates for massages at C.A.L.M. Approach,” Pachkowski told LocalSource after the event.