Government House Summer Shavasana: Free Yoga Offered on the Lawn All Summer

The lawn at Government House was peppered with Yogis every Wednesday from July 4-August 29 (including Regatta Day) free of charge to everyone, including those who are experienced in the practice of yoga and newcomers alike.

This summer initiative came about when Private Secretary to the Lieutenant Governor, David Brown contacted Melanie Caines, yoga teacher and owner of Nova Yoga, and asked how he would go about offering the outdoor space at Government House setting up free yoga classes for the public. Once this connection had been made, Caines offered to reach out to yoga teachers within the community and organize the whole thing. “I put an open call out to teachers in the NL Yoga Community Facebook group and also contacted teachers I knew in the community to see who was interested,” she told The Racket via e-mail. She told us that everyone who led a Wednesday class volunteered including Susan Day, Danielle Whalen, Jody Williams, Rachel Blundon, Laura-Beth Power, Maria Hillier, Tina Pomroy, and Wade Kearley.

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Caines said that for her, yoga is all about physical and mental well-being. She is also happy to see the yoga community within St. John’s growing. “When I started teaching in 2009 there were only a couple of studios and a handful of yoga teachers,” she said. “Now there are probably a dozen studios and I would say hundreds of teachers.  We also have so many more people doing yoga and coming to classes, which is the goal!” Free yoga in public spaces has also gained popularity in St. John’s with places like Moksha Yoga and Lululemon offering classes in Victoria Park, Signal Hill, and even George Street.

Lieutenant Governor, Judy Foote was on hand and took part in the classes as well. She often would speak at the beginning, and end of each class and spoke with many of the people in attendance. Caines said she met briefly with Her Honour and spoke about the Lieutenant Governor’s interest in the event as well as the inspiration behind it.

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Caines said the response from the public was “amazing”. Crowds grew each week, with numbers reaching up to 300 people. While she admitted that she had not spoken to anyone at Government House about continuing this summer series in 2019, Caines said that Government House Yoga had “been such a success this year I'm expecting them to want to make it an annual event!”

Any Yogis who are patiently waiting on news for next summer can bide their time on their mats at Nova Yoga which Caines said “offers something for everyone” including Vinyasa Flow, Yin, Restorative Yoga, Post & Pre Natal Yoga, as well as Yoga Therapy sessions. They also go on yoga retreats with excursions taking Yogis to places like Costa Rica, Cuba, and Spain.

If any of these classes or retreats are of interest, you can visit Nova Yoga in person at 125 Long’s Hill, or online at  http://www.novayogaonline.com/. You can also flow with Melanie Caines online at  www.melaniecaines.com/30daysfree