Since the Quogue Wildlife Refuge began offering outdoor yoga classes last season, Tom Day has made a beeline to the pastoral backdrop each Wednesday morning.
"It’s just a great setting," says Day, 54, an emergency medical technician, from Remsenberg. "It’s just a nice balance."
Having taken yoga classes for years with instructor Amy Hess, who also teaches classes at her Westhampton farm, Day says the location and Hess’ style are simply symbiotic.
"I don’t think all yoga instructors would be able to use that facility. I think the distractions are complementary," Day says of the natural sounds and sights, like eagles soaring above or vocalizations of the rescued owls, hawks and falcons.
Hess, who has taught yoga at the refuge for over a decade, moved the classes outdoors last year because of COVID-19. She's among a handful of Long Island fitness experts continuing the trend into this summer.
YOGA WITH WILDLIFE
Hess calls her class "Earth Yoga," because she has "a very strong belief that we’re all from the earth and part of the earth, and a lot of the classes are about being spiritually tied to the earth." The class looks out onto the pond and visitors, like waterfowl, sometimes drop by.
Adds Hess, "It is the perfect setting. I also teach breathwork and it’s just easier to breath when you’re outside."
CROSSFIT IN THE YARD
Babylon CrossFit offers 60-minute CrossFit classes, a variant of high intensity, functional movements you do every day in your everyday life, says owner Trish Evangelista. The classes also utilize barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells and other weights.
Last year, Evangelista blacktopped over the property’s yard to accommodate outdoor exercise, which now sports weightlifting mats and a pullup bar.
"Some members do prefer to stay inside, whether it’s too sunny or not warm enough yet," she says. "We have a garage door, so that we’re capable of running indoor and outdoor classes at the same time."
If you want to stay fit while out on the water, Long Island SUP (stand-up paddleboard) has got you covered.
This May, there will be instructor-led paddleboard yoga for adults and for kids — ages 8 to 14 — and SUP Fitness, a calisthenics and core strengthening workout, which entails situps, pushups and other exercise that’s done, using the paddle on the board.
The board puts you off balance, much like a stability ball, adding more of a challenge to the workout, which is done on a shallow stretch of a river in East Patchogue. SUP first-timers must take a lesson before taking a fitness class.
Also coming this summer will be Long Island SUP’s Mommy and Me SUP yoga, as well as pop-up classes at Heckscher State Park, the Connetquot River, Fire Island and Stony Brook.
GET BUFF IN THE VINES
The Giving Room, a Southold-based organic juice bar, market and yoga studio, will once again organize a variety of outdoor classes at different locations around the North Fork.
There’s Buff in The Vines, 30 minutes of cardio, weights and full-body resistance, followed by 30 minutes of yoga on Saturday mornings at Mattabella Vineyard in Southold and at Peconic Bay Winery in Cutchogue, African Dance on Sunday evenings and Bhakti Yoga on June 20, a musical exploration of movement and yoga, celebrating the summer solstice.
Children’s yoga starts the first weekend in May at Santa’s Christmas Tree Farm in Cutchogue and hourlong nature walks take place Sundays at the Audubon Trail in Greenport, Wednesdays at Founders Landing in Southold and Fridays at Hallock State Park in Riverhead, Dan Pond in East Marion and other locations.
For each event, people are encouraged to get moving, says Paula DiDonato, owner of the Giving Room.
"Everything’s from free to $30, depending on the type of experience," says DiDonato. "The walks are free. Children’s yoga is free. Yoga classes and fitness classes are $25 for a drop-in and some of the two-hour more celebratory and ceremonial type experiences are typically $30."
PILATES ON A CLIFF
For fitness with a view, try Mat Pilates With Suzette, taught by Suzette Smith, who’s been teaching the exercise that promotes strength, stability and flexibility at various locations around Shelter Island for the past 30 years.
From Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day, Smith will lead hour-long classes on Saturdays and Sundays on the cliff at the Dering Harbor Inn on Shelter Island, which overlooks Dering Harbor and the Shelter Island Yacht Club.
"It’s a classic mat, full-body flow class and at the end there’s meditation with singing bowls," says Smith.
And the setting just can’t be beat, Smith says.
TRY A CLASS
Earth Yoga at Quogue Wildlife Refuge: 3 Old Country Road, Quogue; 631-653-4771, quoguewildliferefuge.org. Wednesday, 9 to 10 a.m, through end of October. Bring your own mat; preregistration suggested. Fee: $15
Long Island SUP: Sunset Harbor Yacht Club, 90 Colonial Drive, East Patchogue; 631-326-7926, longisland-sup.com. Sunset SUP yoga and SUP fitness: Monday and Wednesday, 6:30 to 8 p.m., Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, 8 to 9:30 p.m. Fee: $45 per class; $30 for kids
Babylon CrossFit: 158 E. Main St., Babylon; 631-314-4051, babyloncrossfit.com.
Monday through Friday, 6, 8, and 9 a.m.; 4, 5, and 6 p.m. Fee: $25 per 60-minute class
Workouts on the North Fork: The Giving Room; 631-765-6770, givingroom.net. Various classes, from African dancing to cardio/yoga at different locations. Fee: Free to $30
Mat Pilates With Suzette: Dering Harbor Inn, 13 Winthrop Road, Shelter Island Heights; 631-749-5042, shelterislandpilates.com. Saturday, 9 to 10 a.m.; Sunday, 9:30 to 10:30 a.m., from Memorial Day to Labor Day weekend. Fee: $30