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Fit Club: IntenSati and Anusara yoga take over community gardens in August


This August, a handful of community gardens in the Bronx, Brooklyn and East Harlem will trade bird-watching for blood-pumping.

Community Garden NYC 1973Community gardens are usually lovely lazy places where old ladies feed pigeons, locals recline on benches, or couples stroll past beds of flowers.  This August, a handful of community gardens in the Bronx, Brooklyn and East Harlem will trade bird-watching for blood-pumping, with a high-energy line-up of outdoor fitness classes. Called Fit Club, this joint effort of Bette Midler’s New York Restoration Project (NYRP) and Lululemon brings popular, of-the-moment fitness classes to underserved New York City communities.

While NYRP has been converting empty or trash-filled lots throughout the five boroughs into much-needed gardens and parks (there are a total of 55), this month the organization is focused on getting people to use the healthy green spaces to get healthier themselves.

“Part of our mission is to encourage people to get outside and enjoy the community spaces,” said Shannon Donohue, NYRP’s Special Events Manager. “People responded really well to past fitness programming, so this year, we updated it.” Each week will focus on one of what Donohue calls the “four pillars of wellness”: nutrition education, strength training, aerobic exercise (in the form of IntenSati), and Anusara yoga. Heck, this approach to programming is more forward-thinking than at many spas that specialize in integrated wellness.

Coming to a community garden near you

Instead of the usual Wellness Fair fare—booths for beginners on eating more green veggies and learning to take deep breaths—the classes will include IntenSati and Anusara yoga, two current fitness and yoga practices. The high-level programming comes courtesy of Lululemon, which is always tapped into the latest kick-ass classes and the most credentialed, community-minded teachers.

“We’re trying to bring something that’s new and fun, especially for people in these communities, who might not necessarily devote a lot of time to physical activity or spend a lot of time outside. Hopefully they’ll learn that being active and getting healthy doesn’t have to be a daunting task,” says Donohue.

The only hitch in this otherwise healthy community-based endeavor is the Coca-Cola logo that sticks out like a sore thumb. It’s right beneath the inspiring Fit Club image of a woman practicing yoga outdoors. “It made sense to partner with them because of their health and wellness initiatives,” Donohue said. Coca-Cola donated Dasani water and Powerade Zero, which is made with sucralose. Considering the objectives of Fit Club, it looks like the nutrition “pillar of wellness” may be a bit wobbly.

Classes are free, open to the public. To register, email Alexis at [email protected]Lisa Elaine Held

SCHEDULE

The Brooklyn community garden where classes will be held

Saturdays in August, 10:00 – 11:00 am
Target Bronx Garden, Target East Harlem Garden, Target Brooklyn Garden

August 7
Nutrition
10:00 – 11:00 am
Target Brooklyn: 931-33 Bedford Ave
Target Bronx: 1024 Woody Crest Avenues Btw 164th and 165th Streets
Target East Harlem: 415-417 East 117th Street

August 14
Strength Training
10:00 – 11:00 am
Target Brooklyn: 931-33 Bedford Ave
Target Bronx: 1024 Woody Crest Avenues between 164th and 165th Streets
Target East Harlem: 415-417 East 117th Street

IntenSati
August 21
10:00 – 11:00 am
Target Brooklyn: 931-33 Bedford Ave
Target Bronx: 1024 Woody Crest Avenues between 164th and 165th Streets
Target East Harlem: 415-417 East 117th Street

Anusara Yoga
August 28
10:00 – 11:00 am
Target Brooklyn: 931-33 Bedford Ave
Target Bronx: 1024 Woody Crest Avenues between 164th and 165th Streets
Target East Harlem: 415-417 East 117th Street