GACA brings yoga to the park
From left, GACA board member Gabrielle Dallaporta, the organizer of the yoga class, shares a laugh with instructor Heather MacDonald.
Photo: Neil MacKinnon
By Sue Stefko
Although meetings were put on hold for the summer, the Glebe Annex Community Association (GACA) board stayed active, hosting a yoga session in the park and preparing to hold another Party in the Park to celebrate our 10-year anniversary.
While GACA has put on parties, hosted community cleanups and shown movies in the park, we had never hosted yoga in the park until this July 22. We couldn’t have picked a better day. The sun was shining, the leaves in the trees were gently rustling, and it was one of those rare Ottawa ‘not too hot, not too cold’ days.
We were happy to see 17 people come out to enjoy the event, representing a wide range of yoga experience, ages (from 10 to over 70) and time in the community. Some people from outside the community also joined.
Before this class ,most people didn’t know each other, but by the time it was over, they had formed a sense of connection. One person who just recently moved into the neighbourhood noted that he’d lived in Ottawa for more than 20 years and had never felt so welcomed or included in a community. The teacher, Heather MacDonald, shared those sentiments. She described the participants as having “a tangible feeling of willingness to support each other that came from each individual there.”
“There was a calm, steady determination throughout the practice,” she added. “These qualities are evidence of a strong community, and Glebe Annex should be proud of how they showed up.”
The benefit of holding such an event within our small community was soon evident. Although some extra yoga mats were provided, there were still not enough for everyone, and one person nipped away to get a mat to lend to someone without one.
Heather made the experience meaningful, drawing on more than 550 hours of teacher training and experience in various types of yoga, as well as significant Taekwondo and Reiki experience. Her approach made for an inclusive, positive session, where everyone felt welcomed.
The GACA board had discussed holding yoga sessions in the park for several years. When we finally did, the event helped us reach a wider cross-section of the community, and it seemed to be genuinely appreciated. Buoyed by this success, we hope to hold more yoga in the park in the future. And we are open to suggestions about what other events you would like to see – please write to us at email@example.com or connect via our facebook page www.facebook.com/GlebeAnnexCA.
Our yoga in the park was a precursor to this year’s Party in the Park, which is expected to be a bit less calm but just as welcoming and inclusive. As with all our free community social events, we will have music, food and fun! This year’s party is a special one, celebrating GACA’s 10th anniversary. To help mark the occasion, we have invited the children’s music program Monkey Rock to join in.
Glebe Annex residents are welcome to join us in the Dalhousie South Park for the Party in the Park on Saturday, September 9 from noon to 3 p.m., with a rain date the next day.
Sue Stefko is vice president of the Glebe Annex Community Association and a regular Glebe Report contributor.