I Tried It: Urban Yoga Philly’s Free Class at Oxford Mills

An Urban Yoga Philly class at Oxford Mills // Photo via Grace and Glory Instagram

An Urban Yoga Philly class at Oxford Mills // Photo via Grace and Glory Instagram

I’ll be honest, when I show up for a free fitness class, I’m not usually expecting all that much. And if the class isn’t great, I’m sort of okay with it. I mean, it is free, after all. If it is a good class, I feel like I lucked out. If it’s an amazing class? Well, I haven’t really experienced a so-amazing-my-jaw-dropped free fitness class.

Scratch that—I hadn’t experienced one, until this past weekend. On Saturday morning, I made my way over to Urban Yoga Philly’s free yoga class in South Kensington and, let me tell you, it was freakin’ awesome.

When I walked up to the grassy area where the class is held, the instructor, Jean-Jacques of Maha Yoga, greeted me. I went to put down my mat and, surprisingly, I didn’t have to fight for a space—there was plenty of grass (yes, grass!) to go around. The class kicked off a few minutes later, but not before Jean-Jacques introduced Carson. Carson, he explained, would be playing live music throughout the hour-long class. That’s right: LIVE MUSIC, people!

Now, the live music alone would’ve made this the best free class I’ve ever been to, but there’s more. If you’ve ever been to a yoga class, you know: The instructor doesn’t always have time to give everyone in the class adjustments. But during this class, they solved that problem: Jean-Jacques taught while another instructor made adjustments throughout the class. So basically, this class had two instructors for the price of, well, none. Amazing.

{See also: Outdoor Yoga Guide 2014}

So we’ve got a beautiful outdoor space, live music and two great instructors. Those components alone are enough to make for a really great fitness class. But it gets even better: As we rolled out of our savasanas after a sweaty hour of downward dogs and bridge poses, the leaders of the class alerted us all to a cold-pressed coffee cart that was waiting by the exit. The cart was there to give everyone a complimentary cup of iced coffee—free yoga and free coffee, you guys! What the whaaat?! So. Freakin’. Awesome.

I happened to luck out with the live music and the coffee cart—they aren’t at the Urban Yoga Philly class every Saturday. But even still, the calm outdoor space, great instructors and reasonable start time (10 a.m.) are enough to make Urban Yoga Philly’s Saturday classes pretty darn awesome. You can catch the BYO-mat class, hosted by Grace and Glory Yoga, every Saturday morning throughout the summer at Oxford Mills. Happy (free) downward dogging, friends!

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  • Fishtowner

    I actually had a very different experience when I went, I think it is incredible how much of a difference the instructor makes. I went to the first one, a few weeks ago, ran by the two women who run Grace and Glory, and I found the class to be very aggressive and negative. For example, I took a break for a few moments to grab some water, and the woman running the class said, loudly, right behind me, something to the effect of if you take a break, its a cop out, implying that I was giving up, and it was bad. She did not know anything about my body, my regular yoga routines, how hard I could push myself, if I had any injuries, etc and announcing this loudly made me feel uncomfortable and like I should give up right there (I did not give up, I pushed my body and had an incredible workout, no thanks to her or her negative, judgmental comments). In addition to that, the two women running the class (who are opening up a studio across the street) kept talking about how they were going to make a change in fishtown, (implying that having access to yoga would better the neighborhood) which lead me to believe that they knew nothing about the neighborhood. Fishtown is already gentrified and having more access to yoga in the neighborhood is awesome, but you are lying to yourself if you think you are making a change by bringing more yoga to the neighborhood.