This summer, we want to make sure you can stretch your minds and bodies – and so we’ve stretched out our yoga offerings!
Thanks to our Flushing neighbor, Yumcha Yoga, we will host a series of yoga events in our idyllic garden off Northern Boulevard. Participants will be able to enjoy yoga – led by Yumcha teachers – on July 10th and AcroYoga on July 17, 24 and 31, and August 7 and 14.
Dr. Yen Yen Woo, who founded Yumcha Yoga after moving to Flushing with her creative partner and husband, Colin Goh, in 2008, says Flushing Town Hall provides the ideal venue for a tranquil and invigorating experience.
Why did you move to Flushing?
Because of the food! I was living in Brooklyn and commuting to Long Island to teach. I found myself stopping in Flushing all the time for food and decided, why not only have half the commute and move to Flushing!?
After living in Flushing for some years, it is so much more than a food destination for me. It’s where I have encountered so many different stories, made so many wonderful community connections and good friends, and where my daughter has met some of the most dedicated teachers in her public school. She also has very high-quality cultural experiences because of the thoughtful programming at Flushing Town Hall.
What motivated you to found Yumcha Yoga?
I was practicing yoga regularly when I lived in Flushing and switched to Shaolin kung fu when I couldn’t find a dedicated yoga studio. When my daughter was born, I resumed yoga practice but found that I had to travel out to Bayside to access good studios.Yoga keeps me calm, focused and grounded. I need that grounding because of my busy life as a professor, a writer-creator-producer, and a mom with a young kid and no family support in the area. I really needed a place where I could go to practice within walking distance from my house.
Oh, and at that point in time, my husband, Colin, was experiencing chronic back pain that a lot of doctors’ visits and drugs couldn’t resolve. And he could not be persuaded to practice yoga. So, I started Yumcha Yoga! Our whole family practices yoga now and his back pain has miraculously disappeared.
How often do you do outdoor classes?
Not often enough! Once a year at Flushing Town Hall. We are excited that this year, we have added the AcroYoga program, too.
You’ve held yoga in the Flushing Town Hall garden for several summers now. What’s the experience like?
We run Yoga in the Garden once a year with Flushing Town Hall, and every year, people keep asking when’s the next one! It’s just pretty magical to be in the middle of the craziness of Flushing and have a quiet outdoor space where we hang out with friends, see our neighbors, and practice yoga together.
The whole neighborhood just becomes smaller and friendlier. Taking resting pose with the beautiful branches and leaves above you just makes you feel that life is good. This year we will also have folk-bluegrass singer-songwriter, Lucas Rotman, perform after the yoga practice and lead us in a little sing-along.
Who is your typical participant?
You will see people of all ages, sizes, and races participating. It’s a wonderful community event that welcomes all!
What is AcroYoga?
It’s play! You know all of these poses that acrobats get into? We get into those poses in AcroYoga. Sessions usually start with stretching and conditioning exercises that build strength and flexibility and we get into groups of two or three. Usually there’s one base, one flyer, and one spotter who keeps everyone safe. It usually requires a considerable amount of focus, communication and trust.
Many people might not think of doing yoga with their children. What are some of the benefits of that?
I have personally enjoyed practicing AcroYoga with my daughter. It has really taught me how to play in a physical way with her. You know how at kids’ events, parents are just standing by or texting on their cell phones, bored to death while their children take part in the activity?
AcroYoga is a rare activity where parents and children actually engage in the play together. And it is as challenging for the parents as it is for the kids. I have found my daughter and my physical confidence to be greatly enhanced by AcroYoga, and we have a new way of communicating with each other.
For this reason, at the Flushing Town Hall sessions this season, kids have to pay, but their parents come free! So it’s easy for families to participate together.