Namaste on the beach


By Sarah Bearup-Neal
Sun contributor

Add “sticky mat” to your haul-to-Lake Michigan list. Yoga on the Beach is coming to Glen Haven, Aug. 13, at 8 p.m. near the cannery.

“I really like bringing yoga to places where people wouldn’t normally do it,” said Amy Hubbell, Leelanau County yoga teacher and one of this event’s organizers. “Yoga on the beach is a unique way to get out and enjoy nature as you tap into health and well being.”

There is a suggested $10 donation for the class. “But we’ve never turned anyone away for not having funds,” Hubbell said. “100 percent of the donations collected” will be given to Friends of Sleeping Bear, continuing the group’s tradition of partnering with a local nonprofit.

Hubbell began offering beach yoga in 2010. Classes are offered from June through August, at different beaches in Leelanau and Grand Traverse Counties, and are led by Hubbell and her colleagues Julie Schwalm, Christen Landry, Heidi Dietrich and Lara Ruddy. Hatha yoga is taught.

“‘Hatha’ is a broad term,” Hubbell said. “Most westerners think of Hatha when they think of yoga. My style, when I’m teaching beach classes, is usually slow, gentle but challenging flow with an emphasis on breath and alignment.”

The Lake Michigan beach in mid-August is often a well-populated zone with plenty of modern noise — a great place, maybe, to fuel the monkey mind and keep it agitated, but what about the yogini looking for psycho-spiritual transport?

“It does keep things interesting,” Hubbell said. “Being on the beach is different than being in the yoga studio; but I like the challenge of a few external distractions. It gets you deeper into your practice. We just laugh (off the noise) and remind people to focus and remind them why they’re here.

“If you’re really in the zone, you don’t notice those things.”

In the event of rain, Yoga on the Beach will be held at the D.H. Day log cabin at the D. H. Day Campground. For more information visit: