By Beth Treffeisen
Alongside the newly renovated Symphony Community Park in the Fenway, seniors come together outside to enjoy each others company and workout.
All summer long, the free chair yoga class put on by the Boston Parks Summer Fitness Series gives the older population in the area a chance to get some movement in while enjoying the outdoors.
“It’s a very good workout,” said Mary Greene a student in the class. “It’s a gift to do yoga outside.”
The Boston Public Health Commission recently filmed the chair yoga class that will be released on video by the end of October. The goal was to keep the class going inside, as the weather got colder outside.
The videos will be released through YouTube and will be made available by DVD for the last chair yoga class that will be held on Tuesday, October 31 at 10:00 a.m. It is also in the works to get the classes back on the Boston Neighborhood Network but in the meantime it will only be viewable online.
“I love it!” said Kate Finnegan. “It’s very important in my life. It’s a moment of reflection and forgetting about the rest of the day for a moment…with the video we can work out at home and it will help keep it going throughout the year.”
The Boston Parks and Summer Fitness Series is put on by the Boston Public Health Commission, the Boston Parks and Recreation Department and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts that provides free fitness classes in neighborhood parks from June through August.
Other classes include zumba, salsa dancing, tai chi, boot camp and more.
The chair yoga class at Symphony Community Park has been going on for three years, and became so popular that it was extended through October.
The classes are made up of around 30 people and a lot of the students reside in the Morville House located next to the park.
“There is also a great social element,” said Nicole Ferraro, the instructor and the active living project manager at the Boston Public Health Commission. “They mingle before the class starts and if people don’t show up to class people ask where they are. That’s my favorite part about it.”
Ferraro said she starts each class in the chair with breathing and stretching exercises. By the end, students stand up to work on balance. Each class lasts about one hour.
“You can do whatever you do in a normal yoga class seated and in a chair,” said Ferraro. “You just have to modify it.”
Ferraro said that many of her students return each year and when the class ends asks where they can find a similar class.
“It exists but it can be hard to find,” said Ferraro. “If students have a video they can continue the class at home during the off season.”
Finnegan who is excited to see the video said she initially joined the class because regular yoga classes went too fast, and she couldn’t integrate that into her life. So she tried out chair yoga, and has been a part of the class for three years.
“I figured anything could help,” said Finnegan. “And being outside is very cool.”