Amy Merli

Amy Merli does her yoga thang on the beach in Puerto Rico. (Jen Merli photo / July 16, 2013)

Summer heat got you down?  Rebalance your chi and get a great workout the fun way – with yoga.  Yoga is an excellent exercise for the summer months, as many of the poses are enhanced by heat, and the breathing exercises will keep you cool and ventilated during the practice and throughout the day.  Below is a round-up of some of the more unique offerings around Hartford County:

The Yoga Center of Collinsville offers paddleboard yoga – which offers the benefit of being on the Farmington River for jumping in and cooling down, as well as the extra challenge of balancing on a SUP (Stand Up Paddleboard) during the practice.  No need to fear strong currents – the portion of the river where the class takes place is a serene, popular spot for SUP enthusiasts, as well as canoers and kayakers. The cost is $24 if you own a SUP, or $49 for the class plus rental equipment.  More information and registration is available at the SUP Yoga website.

For busy professionals who work in Hartford, Downtown Yoga offers a variety of lunchtime classes in an airy urban studio overlooking Pratt St.  Among their class roster, the 12-1 pm class is perfect for those who work in the city and are looking to fit a yoga practice into their lunch schedule.  The cool vibes of this studio include music which is much more upbeat and modern than many other yoga classes – each of the instructors choose their own beats - and you’ll be breezing in and out on time.  For those who like the al fresco experience, Downtown Yoga is also offering free Yoga in the Park around Hartford every Sunday in the summer, in partnership with the Department of Families, Children, Youth, and Recreation.  The next class is at Keeny Park and starts at 9:30 am.  For the regular schedule, pre-registration is recommended: downtownyogastudios.com

To enjoy an al fresco experience with a glass of wine as a treat afterwards, you can’t really beat Vino and Vinyasa at Lost Acres Vineyard.  Classes are offered every Friday, from 4:00 to 5:15 pm, rain or shine: there is a lovely loft space above the winery if the weather is uncooperative.  For a $16 class fee, participants can enjoy an all-levels outdoor yoga class with a scenic view of the vineyards, and resident horses as ‘spectators.’  For more info or to register, visit lostacresvineyard.com.

Last but certainly not least, Yelp Hartford is partnering with the very talented Amy Merli, who practices and teaches yoga when she isn’t dancing with the Connetic Dance troupe.   “Vino and Vinyasa” will take place during the Billings Forge Farmer’s Market on Thursday, July 18th, within a lunch break friendly time frame of 12 – 12:45 pm.  There will be organic wine tastings as well as dark chocolate from Aruna’s chocolate.  A $10 donation is recommended, as well as advanced registration online.