New Pop-up Fitness Classes at Eakins Oval

Move over Rittenhouse Square—ovals are hottest new thing in the Philly park scene. Eakins Oval, better known as the traffic circle in front of the Art Museum, will be a parking lot, no more, as it makes the transition to major programming space this summer. Set to debut on July 17th, the Oval will be the site of a whole host of exciting events ranging from educational to entertaining.

Here’s why you should care, Be Wellers: Every Tuesday (and a few Sundays), the programming will center around wellness, which means that you can expect to find free yoga and Zumba classes, with a hula-hoop dance class—or two—thrown in there for good measure. Rumor has it that there will also be a huge Twister board, so count it as good news for anyone who likes holding awkward positions for extended periods of time as a workout. Because that’s a thing, yes?

Eakins Oval will be bumping every Tuesday through Sunday through August 18th from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Get info here.

Check out the full fitness-oriented lineup below:

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To Do: Yoga for Back Pain at the Yoga Garden Narberth

I can’t get over these stats! According to the American Chiropractic Association, back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide, the most common reason for missed work, and the second most common reason for a trip to your doctor’s office. Oh yeah, and Americans spend about $50 billion on back pain every year.

For those who want to kiss back pain goodbye (everyone, right?) and want to try a non-medical approach, check out The Yoga Garden’s special two-day workshop on Yoga for Back Care. The workshop will be run by Deborah Wolk, the co-director of Yoga Union Center for Backcare and Scoliosis in NYC, who will teach how the healing powers of yoga can work magic on your back. The sessions will focus on anatomy basics, classic yoga poses to relieve pain, and asanas to align the spine and limbs. Pain relief without the meds? Sold. To sign up, go here.

$55 for Saturday, $65 for Sunday, $110 for both days, July 13th from 2:30 to 5 p.m. and July 14th from noon to 3:30 p.m., The Yoga Garden, 131 North Narberth Avenue, Narberth

>> Have a health or fitness event you’d like to share with Be Well Philly readers? Email with details.

Photo: Shutterstock

Free Yoga and Vita Coco This Sunday on Kelly Drive

Head over to Kelly Drive on Sunday afternoon for a free pop-up yoga class with Philly instructor Stacia Nero and Vita Coco. In addition to the hourlong, bring-your-own-mat class, which starts at noon, they’ll be raffling off yoga mats and giving away free coconut water. The class will take place in the grass along Kelly Drive at the Girard Avenue bridge, near the boulder tunnel. Look for the Vita Coco tent.

If you want to sneak in some extra fitness, run to the meet-up spot from the Art Museum; you’ll cover two miles, total, round trip.

FREE, June 30th from noon to 1 p.m., Kelly Drive and Girard Avenue, Philadelphia.

Manduka Releases New 40-Square-Foot Yoga Mat

Okay, okay, so perhaps my powers of visualization are a tad off base, but when I heard about Manduka’s new 40-square-foot yoga mat, I imagined something akin to a football-field-sized surface that could win a Guinness World Record title for Largest Yoga Mat In the History of Humankind. Or something. While it’s not quiiiite so impressively huge, the PRO Squared yoga mat is still noteworthy, in that the 6.5-foot-by-6.5-foot non-slip surface is meant to turn your living room (or, well, a corner of your living room) into an insta yoga studio, with mat space for least two people.

The just-released mat goes for $360 and is available for pre-order. They’re slated to ship on July 10th.

I Tried It: Outdoor Yoga Atop a 45-Story Building in Center City

The view from the sundeck!

Outdoor yoga on the beach, outdoor yoga at the park, outdoor yoga on the patio

Yes, folks, outdoor yoga classes are all the rage this summer. But here’s one sun-drenched spot you may not have thought to look for a yoga class: 45 floors up on the sundeck of 1500 Locust apartments. And—lucky me!—I got to try it out last weekend.

The apartment complex happens to be home to Nawrocki Fitness, a boutique-style fitness studio that opened up about three years ago. Owners Marlene and Ed Nawrocki offer private training as well as oversee various fitness classes, many on the sundeck, including yoga.

On Sunday mornings at 10:30 a.m., Megan Duncan comes in to teach a very casual, happy-go-lucky Vinyasa-style class for about 45 minutes. She gets cool points for being a Fox 29 producer by weekday and yoga teacher in her free time.

Now, I’m not new to yoga, but this was the first time I did a class outside, right in the direct sunlight during the summer heat. There are a few things I advise:
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This Summer’s Hottest Workout: Stand-up Paddleboarding

The only thing I really knew about stand-up paddleboarding, before trying it in May, was that Matthew McConaughey loves it. Given that he has the body of a Greek god—and that, well, I do not—I wondered: Would I even be able to do it?

“Anyone can paddleboard,” Stacey Marchel, owner of Stacey’s Surf & Paddle in Margate, told me when I called. Unlike surfing, SUP—that’s “stand-up paddleboard” for short—is instantly gratifying, in that you don’t have to spend hours learning how to get on your feet. Perfecting the paddling technique takes some time—arms straight, twist at the waist, pull the board toward the paddle, repeat—but once you do, stand-up paddleboarding can be one helluva workout.

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To Do: BrewMaha Yoga Class and Beer Tasting

You may remember BrewMaha from when it first hit the Philly yoga scene back in May. But for beer lovers and yogis who missed out last time, I’ve got good news! This event, which fuses a fun yoga class and a beer tasting, is back at Maha Yoga, just in time for your Fourth of July celebrations.

On July 3rd from 5 to 7:30 p.m., you can stretch out to instructor Jake’s teachings, then rejoice after your sweat session with a sample of some craft beers from Dock Street Brewery. Sounds like there will be plenty of award winning ales and lagers available. Find out more and register here. (Click the Workshops tab).

$25 before June 26th, $35 after, July 3rd from 5 to 7:30 p.m ., Maha Yoga, 1700 Sansom Street, Philadelphia.

>> Have a health or fitness event you’d like to share with Be Well Philly readers? Email with details.

Nava Yoga Celebrates Grand Opening (with Free Classes!) This Week

The brand new Nava Yoga Center celebrates its grand opening this week. The studio, housed in a reno’d Navy USO and theater space in the Navy Yard, with throw an open house-style, grand-opening shindig on Thursday with drinks, live music and refreshments from Nourish + Nosh. Then on Friday, you can score free flow and intro classes all day long, and test out the studio’s Yoga Wall (like this one) and Thai massage. More info is here.

To Do: Sun Salutations at Race Street Pier with Dhyana Yoga

So. Much. Outdoor. Yoga.

Here’s another option: This Friday afternoon at Race Street Pier, Dhyana Yoga will host a 108 Sun Salutations class to celebrate the summer solstice. The all-levels, bring-your-own-mat event is a pay-what-you-can class to benefit the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. The fun kicks off at 2:30 p.m., so head on over if you’re out early for summer Fridays.

Pay-what-you-can donation, June 21st from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m., Race Street Pier, Race Street and Columbus Boulevard, Philadephia.

>> Have a health or fitness event you’d like to share with Be Well Philly readers? Email with details.

To Do: Free Yoga for the Summer Solstice in Conshohocken

Believe it or not, the first official day of summer hasn’t happened yet! So why not ring in the steamiest season by completing 108 sun salutations to live music with Sol Yoga at Sutcliffe Park in Conshy? For background, 108 is a sacred number in Hinduism and yoga that connects the sun and earth and symbolizes sacred places in the body. Get ready to bring on the Chaturanga push-ups and downward-facing dogs!

The free summer SOLstice event will take place outdoors on Friday, June 21st, at 6 p.m. and is estimated to take 1½ to 2 hours. The back-up venue for a rainy solstice is the Fellowship House of Conshohocken. More info on the Summer SOLstice event is here. For more free yoga this summer, check out our roundup here.

FREE, June 21st at 6 p.m., Sutcliffe Park, Colwell Lane, Conshohocken.

>> Have a health or fitness event you’d like to share with Be Well Philly readers? Email with details.

Photo: Shutterstock

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