Today is a sad day. Bittersweet to be precise. This is my brief ode to Riverside. My friend Irene is saying goodbye to the 220 Riverside life. She keeps staring at her view and telling us how much she loves the area. The 220 life is her gorgeous high-rise in Riverside, with a view of the bridge, Hob Nob and Brixx downstairs and a short trot to the Burrito Gallery with an outside deck. She is coming to join the land of Southside Jax to be my roomie. We have much to look forward to.
While she lived at Riverside, she invited us to fun events, including the very unique, Beer and Yoga night held on the footsteps of the 220 Riverside apartment building. The outdoor evening class comes with instructions by Yoga Den and beers from Zeta Brewing.
We HEART Riverside
Let me set the scene.
Work’s over, you’ve donned your stretchy gym pants and a sassy tank top and it’s time for a good stretch. The view in this plaza area is serene, urban and comforting. The sun gets closer to setting and fills the plaza with a golden hue. It’s a bit too hot because it’s Florida and that is our heat inevitability, but you grab a cold beer and things seem better. For $5 you get to attend the class, have two full beers and usually grab some Zeta swag like a brand new koozie. Just make sure to bring your ID or you might get stuck waiting for your drink.
Be sure arrive early to this event because it can get packed. Everyone piles in on the lawn and pretty soon you’ll find yourself on the outskirts unable to hear if you’re doing cow or plow or cobra for the 15th time. It’s both hilarious and frustrating to try and do group exercise without being able to hear the moderator. You kinda just have to follow the crowd. I think it’s part of the risk that goes with outdoors fun. Sometimes volume, weather and other factors are just out of control. The vibe is good though and there is unity in the chaos somehow.
Ignore the Guy Balancing Beers and Make It To Savasana
Working out outside, as a group, in the fresh air is a bonding, pleasant activity. Also, the beer is certainly a unique feature. You can order and sip either before, during or after. It’s a little odd to be chugging carbonation and calories while melting into downward facing dog, but maybe life needs a little levity? Plus any inhibitions you may have about getting all stretchy in public declines by beer two.
The instructor led a pleasant class with a good mix of sun salutations and without pushing moderate yogis beyond comfortability. Some attendees paid little attention to the class and spent more time exploring how to balance a solo cup and stick out one leg at the same time. It was silly. It was stretchy. It was fun.
I broke a bit of a sweat during the class, regulated my breathing, felt some zen and got a lot of laughs.
The best part of this excursion may have been hitting up Brixx for rewarding pizza afterwards. We earned it. There was live music. It was a pleasant summer night with friends in Jacksonville.
I have a new mission to try more outdoor group exercise stuff (except softball, long story there) . I hear there is an outdoor yoga class by the beach I should check out. Beer may be optional, but the ocean would be nearby and that’s enough incentive for me!