Every Saturday morning, the gazebo at Gorgas Park becomes an al fresco yoga studio. Yoga instructor Cari Reilly leads donation-only yoga classes on Saturdays from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m., with proceeds benefitting Destination Schuylkill River.
Reilly, who works full time at the Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association, has taught yoga to people ranging from elementary school students at the Germantown Friends School to seniors and homeless people in her work volunteering with Project H.O.M.E.
Attaining equilibrium between mind, body and spirit, though, differs for all people, but Cari Reilly says she can instruct people from all backgrounds and ability levels to find their edge.
“We wait for people to fit into where they are, because yoga is not competitive,” says Reilly. “I try to meet everyone where they are in the progression. It’s about finding your edge.”
O’Reilly found her edge in the mid 1990’s, when she began studying yoga under Yoga on Main founder David Newman to relax from her hectic corporate job. She became actively involved in the community, and trained to become a teacher simply to improve her form. But in 2008, she quit her corporate job to teach yoga around the city for two years.
She credits her Yoga philosophy to Ayurveda, an ancient Indian health science that emphasizes balancing mind, body and spirit. She currently teaches part-time at Yoga on Ridge and Yoga on Main.
“Finding balance for a 300 pound ex-marine with bad knees is going to be different than a young, energetic 20-something year old,” says Reilly. “In the west, we wait for people to get sick and then give them medicine.”