“I’ve taught everybody from people who have never been on a yoga mat to experienced practitioners,” says Greg Leo, lead instructor of Bear Yoga, held every Wednesday on Green Lantern’s second floor. “You can be in any shape — whether that’s body shape, or physical shape, even if it’s been a while since you last exercised.”
The predecessor to Leo’s class, Bears Do Yoga, was a popular mainstay at the Green Lantern for years, but it was canceled when the instructor moved away. Leo approached the bar’s management about re-starting the class. “I wanted a space where guys would be comfortable, that didn’t have the stigma of trendy young women in Lululemon tights.”
Participants are asked to bring their own yoga mats, which can be purchased online for anywhere from $20 to $80, depending on the type of mat and the individual’s commitment to yoga. Attendees are also encouraged to wear comfortable clothes, like T-shirts and shorts, that will allow them to move freely.
Because athletic abilities may vary greatly, Leo is constantly tailoring moves or poses to accommodate individual skill levels and flexibility. Still, those new to yoga shouldn’t be discouraged or intimidated just because they can’t do complicated acrobatic moves on their first try.
“It’s not about being able to touch your toes,” he says. “It’s about getting in touch with your body in a different way. It’s about letting your mind relax and calm down, and not think about anything else but what your body is doing for that hour.”
Bear Yoga is held every Wednesday from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Green Lantern, 1335 Green Ct. NW. There is a $10 fee per class, which can be paid in cash at the door. Visit greenlanterndc.com or call 202-347-4533.
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