This pandemic has caused all of us to step out of our normal routines, maybe even our comfort zones, and try new things. For me, I can now check ‘outdoor group fitness’ off my list.
Despite having had a YMCA membership for many years, I always shied away from those group fitness classes. One, I always just liked to get in my own zone and workout individually. Two, I did not want to make a fool of myself in front of a group of people doing something new. Thus, when my friend asked me to attend a free outdoor Ptalé class at Schenectady’s Mohawk Harbor Amphitheater, I cringed a bit but hesitantly agreed.
Arriving far too early, I sat on the vibrantly green grass on my yoga mat facing the Mohawk River and decided I better look up what Ptalé actually was because I had no clue.
After doing some searching on the internet, I found out that Ptalé was a mix of stretching and relaxation. It was actually co-created by the VENT Fitness instructor, Patricia Washington, who was busy setting up in front of me (VENT Fitness is sponsoring some of these free outdoor classes due to gyms currently being closed). As a person who usually did fast-moving, high intensity cardio, I immediately thought… ‘What did I get myself into?’
Six o’clock came, with about 40 people spread out on their yoga mats on the grass, and the soothing music began.
Over the next hour, I was pleasantly surprised. I spent mostly all of the class laying on my back or stomach, pulling my legs into the air with my arms, engaging my core, and surprisingly forgetting that a ton of people were around me. Not being flexible in the slightest, I was thrilled that the moves were not overly challenging in terms of flexibility or vigor. By 7 p.m., not only did my muscles feel extremely relaxed, but my mind felt more calm.
As I was leaving, I heard attendees talking about the other free classes, such as yoga and Zumba, that would be offered on various nights during the week until the end of August. However, a number were just Ptalé fans who come to the session every Monday and Wednesday at 6 p.m. (Full schedule can be found here). I am not sure if I have the confidence, or coordination, to do the Zumba moves in front of others, but hey, who knows.
For a sneak peek at a Ptalé session, there is a session on the VENT YouTube channel. Although, in my opinion, nothing compares to the in-person experience.