On a college football field with 100 other football players, Nathan J. Carr once found himself practicing yoga in the last place you would expect. On the gridiron, you’re more likely to see a dog pile than a downward facing dog, but Nathan and his teammates had been getting injured at an alarming clip, and yoga provided the flexibility needed to loosen tight muscles. The strength and conditioning coach decided to make yoga mandatory, and the football field was the only area large enough to facilitate the team.
“Most of the guys weren’t into it in the beginning, but once they started to notice areas that were typically tight were loosening up, they instantly bought into it.” Nathan didn’t divulge whether or not the team adopted the Warrior pose as their official touchdown celebration, but we’d like to think they did.
If this seems like an unlikely place to om, check out these six other crazy places yogis are dropping their mats and inhibitions.
When you live in the city that never sleeps you have to get creative to find a peaceful retreat. In true Williamsburg fashion, yogis are taking their mats to the rooftop of the Brooklyn Navy Yard for a little vinyasa al fresco. The roof is home to the Brooklyn Grange, a city farm that provides produce to restaurants and farmers markets.
In Los Angeles, experienced yogis are making a splash by taking classes in the waters of Marina Del Ray. Participants are mounted on paddle boards and execute their poses as they calmly float under the sun. While not ideal for beginners, YOGAqua is a great way to spice up the familiar yoga routine.
Orange is the New Black is, well, the new black at the moment, and this instant-classic TV show proves prisoners dig yoga, too. Yoga Jones is the yoga instructor whose tranquil disposition provides stark contrast to the squalor of incarceration. Prison yoga isn’t just entertaining script fodder, it’s a practice many penitentiaries are adopting to reduce stress, improve behavior, and manage the mental health of inmates.
Central Park is one of the only slices of nature in the sprawling cityscape of the Big Apple. New York yogis have developed a hybrid yoga-hiking program which meanders through the park and stops for poses at designated stations. Hiking yoga blends cardio, asanas, and nature to conjure a little serenity in a crowded city.
At YogaWorks in NYC, yogis can take a class called AntiGravity Flying Fitness and practice their asanas while suspended in midair. People who have trouble with strenuous poses like headstands and handstands are able to execute them with grace while hanging from the ceiling in a hammock. The hammocks ease the intensity of intermediate yoga and help reduce risk of injury. Ever enjoy a savasana while levitating?
The food/yoga combination isn’t exactly a revolutionary idea, as a slew of yoga studios also moonlight as quaint cafes. But Take Root in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn might be the first yoga studio to offer fine dining with sustainable ingredients. Veteran NYC chef and former Chopped contestant Elisa Kornack buys every ingredient at market and prepares all food in house while her fiance, Anna Hieronimus, instructs hungry yogis.