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Outdoor yoga in NYC: The best open-air classes

Looking for some alfresco yoga in NYC? Find your center and stretch out under the sun at these sessions.

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Photograph: Pat Young/Lululemon Athletica

Outdoor yoga in NYC: Bend & Bloom in Prospect Park

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Photograph: Courtesy Bryant Park Corporation

Outdoor yoga in NYC: YogaWorks in Bryant Park

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Photograph: Courtesy Bryant Park Corporation

Outdoor yoga in NYC: YogaWorks in Bryant Park

Relaxing in Gotham isn’t the easiest feat, which is why we love these yoga classes (most of which are free) that all take place in the calming environs of a green space like Prospect Park. And don’t worry: Even though summer is winding down, each of these series continues well into September.

Bend & Bloom in Prospect Park

The green Park Slope yoga studio Bend & Bloom, known for its wind-generated electricity and gratis postclass organic tea, is back with its annual vinyasa series on the park’s expansive Long Meadow. “It’s so rewarding to be out in the open, under the sky,” says manager TJ Halliday. “It opens the senses.” 347-987-3162, bendandbloom.com. Free.

Free yoga in Socrates Sculpture Park

Instructors Yojaida Estrella and Monique Schubert rely on the meditation-heavy system Kripalu, a branch of hatha yoga, during these beginner-friendly classes. And the setting is apropos: Situated on a knoll between the waterfront and the park’s sculptures, it’s a perfect spot for contemplating the harmonious balance between nature and art. 718-956-1819, socratessculpturepark.org. Free.

Stanton Street Yoga in Tompkins Square Park

The Masla sisters, Stanton Street Yoga’s Florida-bred “spiritualists and visionaries,” oversee a rotating schedule of instructors practicing mostly bhakti yoga at this donation-based series. Attendees can set up their own mats at the class’s meeting spot underneath the Hare Krishna Tree, where movement founder Swami Prabhupada was said to have held the first open-air chanting session outside of India in 1966. 352-328-8152, stantonstreetyoga.com. Donation suggested.

Yogamaya in 14th Street Park

Unlike most outdoor classes, there’s no need to bring a mat to this gathering. Yogamaya, a cosponsor of the program with the Chelsea Improvement Company (which throws the Thursday-night Sunset Salsa dance series in the park), has got you covered. And the round downtown oasis is an ideal place for your ommms and ahhhs. 212-675-4555, yogamayanewyork.com. Free.

YogaWorks in Bryant Park

Stake out a spot and set up your mat early if you want to get in on Manhattan’s most wildly popular outdoor yoga event. This year marks the tenth anniversary of the midtown staple, and class times, in true yoga spirit, are flexible. You can take your pick of either Tuesday mornings on the Upper Terrace or Thursday evenings on the Lawn. And if you’re a first-timer who digs the experience, speak up: Newbies can treat themselves to one free week of unlimited classes at any of YogaWorks’ four local locations. 212-768-4242, bryantpark.org. Free.

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