Christina Bollino and her yoga students sit in a lotus position in a lavender field under a lavender sky.
Just one whiff of the flowers growing on Purple Rain Farm in Churchville creates a more meaningful pranayama (the practice of deep, intentional breathing) for the members of Beach Bee Yoga, the nature-based fitness studio that Bollino operates in Havre de Grace.
“We’ll do our practice in a nice little open grassy patch in the middle of this huge field once a month from May through September,” Bollino said.
”There is lavender in some sections and flowers in the others, and it’s just so peaceful and relaxing.”
When Bollino purchased Beach Bee Yoga in June 2016 from the previous owner, she wanted to do more than just operate a boutique fitness studio. She wanted to teach customers to bring their physical, emotional and spiritual energies into harmony, and knew that being outdoors would help.
“There is something about being outside in nature that is good for the mind-body connection,” said Bollino, who earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Towson University in 2002, and a master’s degree in nutrition and integrative health 11 years later.
Beach Bee also offers more traditional indoor classes in its Havre de Grace studio, including several in ballroom dancing; Bollino has competed professionally in the dance sport.
Customers can attend prenatal yoga or enroll in acupuncture and nutrition workshops.
But whenever Bollino has a chance, she takes her students outdoors.
Beach Bee’s offerings include yoga hikes through Susquehanna State Park in Havre de Grace. There is full moon yoga offered monthly at La Banque wedding venue’s waterfront location.
“The full moon is a good time to set our intentions and let go of anything that is not serving us in order to make room for the new things we want to bring in to our life,” according to the class description.
A summer favorite is Paddle Board Yoga, which will be offered after Memorial Day. After an introductory course on land, participants paddle to a spot with calm waters, drop anchor and practice yoga poses on the floating boards.
“You have to be able to swim to take this class,” Bollino said, “and you have to be OK with maybe going in the water.
“Core strength is required because of the instability of the water. I always tell people that they shouldn’t try poses on the water that they can’t do on land.”
Kathy Cuomo, 62, began taking classes at Beach Bee Yoga last summer, a few months after moving to Havre de Grace. She was quickly charmed by outdoor yoga.
“In a studio, everything is level,” she said, “but when you practice yoga outdoors there are dips in the ground and sometimes tree roots. It’s a little extra challenge to balance.
“During one class, it suddenly started raining. The teacher stuck it out until the drizzle became a downpour. I felt like a kid playing outside in the rain.”
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Classes at Beach Bee Yoga range from $17 for an individual class to $75 for monthly memberships. 450 Franklin St., Havre de Grace. 443-690-5558. beachbeeyoga.com