As residents of Huntington Beach, we're blessed to have the beach as our backyard. An active lifestyle goes with the territory here, and you'll see people running, biking, surfing, skating and exercising outside all the time. If you're supporting yourself in HB, you're working hard and a lot. And whether your job is physically active or sedentary, it's most of your life. Exercise is hard to fit in, but if you find something to inspire you, it's worth the effort.
I believe that exercise should be fun. Finding something that motivates you and the setting that works best for you is a process of trial and error. Outdoor yoga and exercise classes are cropping up and growing rapidly in the region. New magazine Breathe OC recently published a whole issue about outdoor classes in Orange County, and it's catching on for a reason. Fortunately here in HB, we have so many opportunities for fun activities with great teachers who love what they do and are willing to share their time and energy with the community. People inspire people, and the following is a guide to local teachers offering enjoyable activities in the beautiful natural environment we are blessed with here in Southern California. Give these local classes a try and find what inspires you!
YOGA IN THE GREAT OUTDOORS
What: Yoga with Sarah Stevenson
Where: Harriet M. Wieder Regional Park, 19251 Seapoint Street, Huntington Beach, CA 92648
When: Saturday, 9-10 a.m.
Cost: $10 per session
Tips: All levels welcome, bring your own mat
Known affectionately to her followers as "The Tini Yogini," Sarah Stevenson is one of the first yoga instructors to take her practice outside and is a pioneer of outdoor yoga in HB. I first took a class with Sarah in 2009 when she taught at 24 Hour Fitness, and I was immediately inspired by her unique approach that left me feeling refreshed and tranquil. Her qualifications are impressive: She received her Hatha Yoga Certification in April 2008 through the Yoga Shakti Teacher certification program and studied for over 200 hours directly with Diana Pipaloff. In addition to practicing yoga for over nine years, she holds a degree in psychology and has been a behavior therapist for children with pervasive developmental disorders for the past 10 years.
Aside from sharing deep knowledge and inspirational quotes, she emanates a genuine joy that is contagious among the many people who attend her weekly classes, private sessions and events. All levels are welcome at her Saturday "Yoga in the Great Outdoors."
"One sure way of doubling the benefit of an exercise routine is to bring it to the great outdoors, and that is exactly what the city of Huntington Beach is beginning to offer to the community with their outdoor yoga classes offered at the park and beach. Exercising outdoors allows for an amazing sense of connection to the open-air environment. The benefits of the sun's rays and fresh air provide not only improved physical health, but also spiritual and emotional wellbeing. Yoga practitioners around the world are stepping outdoors to let the sun and the wind enhance the benefits of the Indian healing technique. People are finding a connection to a deeper place internally when they can actually touch the earth with their body. There is a close relationship between the natural environment and the practice of yoga." -Sarah Stevenson
WIDE OPEN SPACES YOGA
What: Beach yoga with Angel Montague, "Yoga Angel"
Where: PCH and 14th Street, Tower 14, Huntington Beach, CA 92648
When: Tuesday-Wednesday, 6-7:30 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 10-11:30 a.m.
Cost: Suggested donations of $8-$10
Tips: All levels welcome, bring your own mat, ESL friendly
Certified yoga instructor Angel Montague offers a great way to unwind at the end of the day and enjoy HB's natural beauty with her sunset yoga classes at the beach next to Tower 14 near the HB Pier. Motivated by a genuine passion to teach and share her knowledge and love of the practice, Angel also adds a unique element to her weekly yoga sessions by incorporating American Sign Language into her teaching style. The classes are open to all levels, with layers for the beginner to advanced students, both hearing and deaf. Angel also has experience teaching yoga to children and has received her 200 Hour Teacher Training and 100 Hour Teacher Training from Core Power Yoga in addition to her Teacher Certification in Children's Yoga from Smiling Monkeys.
Donations between $8-$10 are suggested and welcomed but not required, and all members of the community are encouraged to attend. Most people bring their own mats, but some can be loaned if arranged in advance by registering through Meetup.
For more information or to register, visit Meetup and keep up with Angel on Facebook. Angel is part of a group of four instructors who offer weekly donation-based beach yoga classes at the same location, started by certified yoga instructor Chandra Halpin in 2012 using Meetup.
YOGA & BEACH CLEANUP WITH KOA ROOTS
Where: PCH and Broadway, Sunset Beach, CA 92649
When: Saturday, 11:00 a.m.-Noon, followed by beach cleanup
Tips: Mats, recycled bags and gloves are provided
Led by certified yoga instructor Darren Lyons, this hourlong class on the greenbelt in Sunset Beach is suitable for all ages and levels. Mats are provided, and a beach cleanup follows. The group is laid-back, and the vibe is mellow as you flow through a series of poses that can be modified for any level. In addition to an awesome experience, this group is more than just a class, it's a community and is affiliated with several local organizations and musicians, including Cali Conscious Collective, Grass Roots Community Cleanup and Schooner At Sunset.
For more information, visit Grass Roots Community Cleanup on Facebook.
SOFT SAND WORKOUT WITH AMANDA CRATER
Where: PCH and 7th Street on the beach, Sunset Beach, CA
When: Sunday, 11:00 a.m.-Noon
Cost: Donations welcome
Tips: Mats not required, barefoot and bathing suits with shorts recommended, bring a beach towel, bring a surfboard if you plan to surf
Combining my love of the beach with my experience as a barre and pilates instructor, I'm offering this donation-based class on the sand in Sunset Beach to people of all levels who like to move and be outside. Set to upbeat music I use in my studio classes, this unique workout features a combination of stretching, strengthening and cardio. Combining stretching with strength and alignment exercises, this class is especially ideal for surfers who want to improve their balance, core strength and overall fitness. Cardio intervals involving walks or runs will be incorporated and are optional. We'll do a series of planks and ab exercises at the water's edge, and we'll wrap up with an optional surf session. Don't be afraid to get wet and have fun as we make the most of our beautiful beach. Feel free to do all or only parts of the workout.
YOGA ROCKS THE PARK
Where: Mile Square Regional Park, 16801 Euclid Street, Fountain Valley, CA 92708
When: June 1, June 15, June 29, July 13, July 27, Aug 10, Aug 24; 9:00 a.m.-Noon
Cost: $15 advance, $20 same day
From June through August, this nationwide movement trend featuring live music, all-levels yoga and kid's yoga will take place in Mile Square Regional Park in Fountain Valley. For more information and to register, visit the event website.
YOGA ON THE BLUFFS
What: Free yoga through Yogalution Movement & Ayurveda
Where: Long Beach Bluffs at Bixby Park, 130 Cherry Avenue, Long Beach, CA 90802
When: Daily, 11:00 a.m.-Noon; Monday-Friday, 6-7 p.m.
Cost: Donations suggested but not required
Tips: Bring your own mat
Yoga on the Bluffs is a popular movement offering a daily variety of outdoor yoga classes on the bluffs in Long Beach overlooking the ocean. Organized through Yogalution Movement & Ayurveda, the classes are open to all levels and are typically quite large. I recommend trying a class with my friend, certified instructor Aaron Danks, on Wednesday from 6-7 p.m.
For more information and an expanded schedule of donation-based classes, visit the event website.
FREE POUND FITNESS AT THE BEACH
What: Pound Rockout Workout with Alena Murgatroyd
Where: Corner of Ocean Boulevard and Alamitos Avenue, Long Beach, CA 90802
When: Saturdays in May and June, 9-10 a.m. and 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Tips: Bring your own mat, drumsticks provided
Health and Wellness Coach Alena Murgatroyd leads this fun and unique workout for free on Saturdays in May and June in Long Beach. Created by two female drummers, the POUND workout fuses cardio interval training with drumming to provide a challenging, heart-pumping workout. From start to finish, lively, heart-pumping movements and upbeat tunes keep the workout feeling fresh. There's no holding an uncomfortable pose for an extended period of time; the class is always moving, always changing, and always pushing the body to its limits. This new fitness craze was recently featured in Shape Magazine and is popping up at gyms nationwide. I tried a workshop with Alena and loved it!