Sun Salutations Return with Free Yoga in Oak Bay Park – Vancouver Island Free Daily

Ajna Yoga founders Jules Payne and Michelle Schroeder flanking Pete Rose as they practice yoga in Willows Park as Duncan looks on. Free Yoga in the Park returns to Oak Bay on July 5 and runs every Tuesday through August. (Christine van Reeuwyk/press team)
Jules Payne, Pete Rose, Michelle Schroeder and Duncan practice yoga in Willows <a class=Park. Free Yoga in the Park returns to Oak Bay on July 5 and runs every Tuesday through August. (Christine van Reeuwyk/press team)” loading=”lazy” data-srcset=”https://1kc6192wfbuqzt2py3il3781-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/29550231_web1_220623-OBN-YogaInThePark-CvR_1.jpg 1200w, https://1kc6192wfbuqzt2py3il3781-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/29550231_web1_220623-OBN-YogaInThePark-CvR_1-300×200.jpg 300w, https://1kc6192wfbuqzt2py3il3781-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/29550231_web1_220623-OBN-YogaInThePark-CvR_1-1024×683.jpg 1024w, https://1kc6192wfbuqzt2py3il3781-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/29550231_web1_220623-OBN-YogaInThePark-CvR_1-768×512.jpg 768w, https://1kc6192wfbuqzt2py3il3781-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/29550231_web1_220623-OBN-YogaInThePark-CvR_1-640×427.jpg 640w” sizes=”(max-width: 320px) 70vw,(max-width: 639px) 85vw, (max-width: 1023px) 55vw, 640px”/>Jules Payne, Pete Rose, Michelle Schroeder and Duncan practice yoga in Willows Park. Free Yoga in the Park returns to Oak Bay on July 5 and runs every Tuesday through August. (Christine van Reeuwyk/press team)

Hundreds of yogis of varying skill sets are expected to return to Willows Park on Tuesday evening.

What started as a handful of people doing yoga on the beach a decade ago has become a popular weekly activity in Oak Bay and returns July 5 for its first full season since 2019.

As the official event turns 10 this summer, Pete Rose started the trend before that. A trained yoga teacher, he was looking to give back to the community and had a concept for a class at Willows as a fundraiser for a community organization.

Money complicated things, so he denied that.

Rose remembers leading her first class with new puppy Duncan’s leash tied to her ankle.

“It became popular and we went from those first seven on the beach to sometimes up to 300 in the summer,” Rose said.

This meant needing speaker and microphone equipment for the instructors. While Rose and Duncan are a bit grayer these days, they still love park tours. Rose sets up speakers for the event each Tuesday, as Ajna Yoga instructors lead classes through July, then Recreation Oak Bay teachers take over in August.

With the wind in the trees, the adjacent beach, playgrounds and picnic areas, it remains popular.

Families come and hang out, from those with young babies to parents with teenagers who sit and read while adults do yoga, Rose said. “I’ve seen tourists come and see this and all of a sudden start doing it because you don’t need mats or anything, you can just do it in the grass.”

Without participants, it would not be a success, he said. The price is right and the camaraderie is a lure.

“It’s an opportunity for people to come together, whether they’re talking, smiling or chatting afterwards.”

Yoga in the Park returns to Willows on Tuesdays July 5-August 30 from 6-7 p.m.

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