Liberty Hall brings Yoga to their gardens

By: Daris Mendez

Yoga in the garden photo

When you first think of a Yoga class it is easy to picture a bunch of people in abnormal positions trying to keep their balance. While some yoga poses may push your limits, there is so much more to this craft than meets the eye. Bring the gardens of Liberty Hall into the mix and it creates a rather unique experience.

As urban and modern as Kean University is, across the road to Liberty Hall the atmosphere completely changes. Liberty Hall was originally the estate of the Livingston/Kean family and now serves as a museum open to the public. Walk across the fire house towards the historic carriage house and you’ll find yourself in the Liberty Hall gardens.

Facing the very center of full grown roses, “Yoga in the Gardens” has been taking place since August, one Sunday per month.

“They got the idea from another museum that had been doing it,” instructor Jessica Anderson said. “It is really great because there aren’t a lot of [yoga] studios in the area.”

These sessions have become a huge hit. Only $3.00 for Kean students and $ 5.00 for those who aren’t, it has been a great deal, especially for Kean Students.

The last session was held in the gardens, however, in anticipation for the cold weather there has even been talk of possibly continuing classes indoors. The staff at Liberty hall has no doubt that they will bring yoga in the gardens back next year.

From the very minute this unique yoga class starts it is quite obvious why people like it. The class starts off with a lot of positivity. The instructor asks students to close their eyes while in a seated position to get the mind and body ready. While in this position, aided by the sounds of the outdoors, the instructor peacefully reads an excerpt.

“A gift can come in many forms, from finding a $5.00 dollar bill on the ground to the smile of a child, these are all forms of gifts,” Anderson said.

Continuing on the note of positivity she then asks everyone in the group to present a prayer either about themselves or somebody else and make it the focus of the movement that would be done in the duration of the class.

Another very spiritual part of the session is when the instructor asks students to inhale love and exhale anything that was bothering them at the moment. After this unique breathing technique she asks everyone to think of something they like about themselves and repeat it quietly.

After this process, the actual physical aspect of yoga begins. In the group of thirty some ladies, this reporter watched as everyone seemed to keep up nicely with the sometime strenuous positions.

At the end of the class everyone is asked to remember their prayer and is instructed to lie down on the mats while the class is concluded with an excerpt about a healing and light moving across the body. Everyone seems to love the process of being connected with their inner selves on that level.

“We had a great time at the yoga class. I love it. It’s like a really nice experience,” senior Naima Rodriguez said. “It was my first time and I wish that we can have more classes. It was very very nice.”

The appreciation of life and positivity really stuck with some of the people who took the class.

“I think yoga is something people look at like oh its yoga its silly but it’s kind of like a spiritual healing as well as physical strengthening and I think it’s definitely worth trying,” high school student Alexandra Kusacouska said.

As everyone left the class, rather than just having sore muscles from a typical “workout” class, the message of yoga became something that students would carry home with them.

“I think anybody at any age can do yoga because the experience is just really relaxing and even if it is just two hours it will carry on with you for a really long time, “said Claudia Rusen, another high school student who attended yoga at the gardens.

Being part of the Kean community there are so many neat opportunities that are available to college students, especially in a time where students are simply over worked. So if you want to strengthen your body and mind look out the possibility of yoga indoors at Liberty Hall and definitely give yoga in the gardens a try next year.


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