Yoga in the Park… and so much more!

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Heather Gardner combines community and fitness

What do you get when a great green space meets yoga for the masses? Connections, creativity and community.

Yoga Jam started with a simple idea: to create a place for people to meet and help develop the budding community that is CityPlace. Organized by Heather Gardner of Tribe Fitness, the Sunday morning spring/summer class takes place at Canoe Landing Park and is attended by people of all ages and abilities.

Whether 7 or 72, various certified instructors guide class and provide individual attention, while a site administrator takes care of the nitty gritty of registration, set up and take down. The Vinyasa Flow class provides a moderate level of exercise so that anyone can participate regardless of fitness level or yoga experience. There are usually 75 to 100 participants weekly performing various asanas (yoga poses) in concert, with a peak attendance of 160 attendees to date. Yoga in the Park at CityPlace is clearly a hit, helping neighbours meet in a friendly environment and stay fit.

Beyond Yoga Jam, Tribe Fitness provides 5 free weekly runs with CityPlace as its hub. Marathon training occurs 3 times per week, including a long run on Saturdays followed by an optional brunch. There’s also a “learn to run” group for beginners as well as a trail run for experienced runners. Tribe Fitness is affiliated with the Canada Running Series, which organizes major runs across Canada such as the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, Half-Marathon and 5k, as well as the Toronto Yonge Street 10k.

“I believe in making fitness accessible and know it can have a positive impact on individual lives. Whether that’s providing a natural endorphin rush or helping people overcome difficult challenges in their lives, fitness can do remarkable things,” says Heather.

“Just a couple years ago, a parent going through a difficult break-up and becoming a single mom needed a distraction and wanted to find herself anew, she joined Tribe Fitness’ running club and found a new bounce in her step, new friends as well as a reason to smile from ear-to-ear. It was inspiring to see her grow and change. It is special to know the impact we can have.”

Hamal Docter is a writer & communications consultant by day and certified personal trainer by night.

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