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

Nawrocki Fitness offered a healthy dose of sun salutations overlooking an awesome view of Philadelphia—and I got to try it out

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:

  • Wear shorts and a tank-top. Trust me: You will be too hot in anything else. Think of this as outdoor and heated yoga since you are 40 stories off the ground and that much closer to the sun. (Seriously, the altitude makes a difference.)
  • Make sure you bring a very grippy mat, or wear yoga socks or even shoes while you practice. You will sweat and slide in the heat!
  • Wear sunscreen. ‘Nuff said.
  • If you have a pair, wear athletic sunglasses, like Oakleys, that will stay on your face even while you do downward-dogs. At one point, I did an upward dog, and was totally blinded by the sun for a good 10 seconds sans protective eye-gear. Whoops.

If you’re wondering about the sundeck, know this: It is baller. Honestly, the view from up there made me think twice about ever doubting the beauty of Philadelphia. And not to sound like a total cheeseball, but overlooking the entire city provided me with the perfect serene mindset to practice some yoga, away from the hussle and bussle of the city streets dozens of floors below.

Overall, Megan’s teaching style was positive, her music choice was relaxing (ex: Isreal Kamakawiwo’ole’s popular Hawaiin-style rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”) and it was challenging enough to get you sweating and feeling good. There is limited space, though; my class had about a dozen students and that was just perfect.

The best part though was when the breeze picked up toward the end of class as we all lay resting in child’s pose. That’s how you spend a summer Sunday morning, people! Plus, I might have walked away with a mini-tan.

Nawrocki Fitness is located at 1500 Locust Street. Sunday morning yoga classes on the sundeck are $15 each. Register here. (When you check out, choose the option for “1500 Locust resident guest” to sign up at the $15 rate.)

>> We test out all kinds of classes! Check out other “I Tried It” posts here. If you know of a unique class you think we should try, email eleaman@phillymag.com with your suggestions.