“It’s all free, it’s not through anything, we’re not trying to sell anything. It’s just all about being part of a community,” says Jackie Payne, the organizer of the newly popular yoga classes at the Seal Beach Pier. The tranquil Monday night classes have skyrocketed to popularity throughout the community, quickly becoming a new Seal Beach tradition.
According to Payne, the idea for the yoga classes originated with the 4th Street Seal Beach Ladies Beach Volleyball community. The group, consisting of around 30 women, meets every weekend to play lighthearted matches of beach volleyball. According to Payne, a few of the women from the group began practicing yoga together on Monday nights. “We started in the Spring, and we decided that we just really wanted to get an instructor so we could build it to a bigger group,” Payne explains. Since then, the classes have been held weekly on Monday evenings from 6:30 to 7:30.
Since their inception, the classes have become a relaxing ritual for many. Starting with merely 15 participants at their first session, Payne says that classes now garner up to 46 attendees per week. And it’s no wonder that the classes have become so popular; the evening setting means that participants practice against the breathtaking backdrop of the Seal Beach sunset. Many describe the classes as the perfect way to wind down. “I saw some people last week who were saying that it’s such a great way to end the day,” Payne says.
Personally, Payne loves how the classes foster a sense of community. “I’ve been able to meet people I probably never would have met. I have a son that went through the school system, so I tend to know the parents of his age group, but not beyond that,” she explains. “It gives an opportunity to meet your neighbors.”
According to Payne, all are welcome to attend the classes. Described as beginner-intermediate, Payne says that the classes can be easily customized to suit both the greenest beginners and seasoned yogis alike. As for the ages of attendees, Payne says that participants range from 10 years old all the way to 70. Even more, the classes disregard the stereotype of yoga as a female-dominated activity with nearly ⅓ of attendees being men.
For those wishing to join in, the process is simple. “Just show up and bring a mat or a beach towel, and that’s it,” Payne explains, “there’s nothing you have to do or sign up for or anything.”
“We’ll probably keep doing this for as long as the weather is good and we’ve got sunshine, and then we’ll probably put an end to it and start it again next Spring,” she explains.
With the end of the summer season quickly approaching, Payne encourages all Seal Beach residents to join in and savor the remaining warm, summer evenings.