Downward dog days: New yoga biz stretches outdoors

The options for doing yoga in Charlottesville already run the gamut from relaxing Hatha to vigorous Ashtanga to oh-so-sweaty Bikram, performed in a heated room. Jacqueline Wilde saw an opportunity to stretch the offerings even further with a new business that'll have participants downward dogging in outdoor public spaces around town.

"I'm targeting yoga toward beginners," says Wilde, a 27-year-old second-year Darden student who launched the appropriately named Pop Up Yoga this month with several free classes held in public spaces and parks around town.

So far, she says, the reception has been warm.

"I prefer being outside, says Anthony Zammitt, a 32-year-old longtime martial arts practitioner who was trying yoga for the first time with Wilde on Saturday morning, July 9 at the Charlottesville City Market. The style of the Pop Up classes– "Vinyasa flow"– is a gentle form that has participants move steadily through various poses stressing flexibility and breathing.

Another free Pop Up class will take place at Washington Park on Friday, July 15 at 8am, and several other classes listed on the website,, will be held in the next coming weeks for the usual $10 fee.

In addition to the scheduled classes– Wilde hopes to have several instructors teaching as many as 15 per week– Wilde is also encouraging class members to use her "Yoga on Demand" feature, which allows requests for individual or group yoga classes to be held at a particular time or place.

Correction: The free class on Friday, July 15 took place at 8am.–ed

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1 comment

I love the idea of a free yoga class for beginners outside! Maybe it'll get more people into the spiritual and physical journey.
Personally, starting yoga was one of the best decisions of my life. It's made me feel better inside and out, and I've become fascinated by the spitirual side of it. I just finished a book by Michele Hebert- The Tenth Door -
It chronicles Michele's spiritual training with Walt Baptiste in San Francisco in the 70s, and it was absolutely fascinating. Definitely a good read for a beginner who's just realizing the benefits of yoga!