For Tammy Gerber, owner of Lotus of Ludington yoga studio, having an outside venue is the best of both worlds — she can keep her business running and her clients get to enjoy the beautiful setting of Rotary Park.
“I start the class slow and have them take in the sounds of summer. It’s nice under the shade of the large trees,” she said.
Gerber approached the Ludington City Council about a special permit to have yoga classes at the park after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer kept extending the executive orders that prevented her from opening her building.
The city approved Gerber’s request as well as requests from two other fitness businesses in downtown Ludington — M Wellness Fitness and Nutrition and NorthStar Fitness — at its June 8 meeting.
“This is a special opportunity to utilize the outdoor spaces to still reach the community,” Gerber said.
She is unsure if the city council will renew the permit next summer, but she wants to do it again.
“I would like to approach the city next year. It’s been really nice to be in Rotary Park tucked away from the traffic. It’s peaceful to practice in the park,” Gerber said. “My clients are loving it. They are happy to be practicing. There’s a sense of community and they are able to gather in a safe way.”
Gerber is offering a 10-week summer yoga series, with five weeks already complete. The classes are every Tuesday and Thursday from 9 to 10 a.m.
The Tuesday is a “flow” class while Thursday is “slow flow” class.
“Each class is a little different throughout the series,” she said.
Gerber said she celebrates all ages and abilities. The yoga positions can be modifies for each skill level, she added.
She does not provide yoga mats, and she encourages people to use sheets to mark a 6-foot distance between each mat.
Though masks are not required, she wears one at the beginning of each class so she can greet people and accept payments.
There is no physical assistance during the classes.
The classes meet at the west end of the park by Gaylord Avenue. There is no sign-up or membership required. Each class costs $8.
If the classes are canceled due to weather, Gerber will make announcement on the Facebook page, Lotus of Ludington.
NorthStar Fitness offers at least one class Monday through Thursday at Waterfront Park, some classes at its gym parking lot and a class once a month at Stearns Park beach.
“It’s been going great. As soon as we got the OK to do this, our members jumped right back in. It’s been the perfect space to hold our classes,” said Alyssa Vanderwall, gym manager. “Honestly, who doesn’t want to look at Lake Michigan or the marina while they’re working out?”
Dr. Jacob Seng, owner of NorthStar Fitness, went to the city and asked about using the parks, she said.
“When we got the OK from the governor to open the gym, everything had to be outside. There wasn’t enough space for us to do all the classes at our existing location,” Vanderwall said. “It’s easier to do our bootcamps here, but people don’t want to do yoga in a parking lot.”
They chose to have classes at Waterfront Park because it’s across the street from the gym.
“We were pretty much able to make it work like before. We found a spot that offered a bit of shade and let our members spread out. Most of our classes we do there don’t need a lot of equipment anyway,” she said.
Vanderwall said they have people spread out more than the recommended 6-feet, ask them to bring their own equipment and the instructors are not doing hands-on instruction.
“It’s spacing out and being respectful and mindful of other people,” she said.
People can choose between bootcamp workout or yoga classes at Stearns Park beach. The next classes are July 25 and Aug. 22 at 9 a.m.
“We’ve been doing it once a month (at the beach). We opened it up for free. We do it for the whole community. Whoever wants to come can come,” she said.
Membership is not required to attend classes.
“Though we do have members, anyone is welcome to join. Our hope is that now that the community is opening up, people will want to get back in the swing of things. It’s a great way to interact with people and build the community but do it from a space distance,” she said. “The beach workouts are a great way to get an idea of what we do at NorthStar.”
The class schedules are available on the NorthStar website, www.ludington.fit. Vanderwall recommend people book the classes through the Mindbody app, or they can call the office at (231) 425-9303.
M Wellness Fitness and Nutrition also offers classes at Rotary Park and has started a “Wellness Walk” that takes places in several different parks.
“It’s really nice to see everyone again and get back to a little more normal,” said M Wellness owner, Madison Cota. “It’s been a huge blessing.”
The Rotary Park workouts are every other Saturday. The schedule is available on the Facebook page, M Wellness Fitness and Nutrition, and costs $5 for each class for both members and nonmembers.
“It’s full body (high intensity interval training),” she said. “It uses full body weight. We’ve used the benches and trees in the park in place of equipment.”
Cota said she was spending a lot of time at House of Flavors, near Rotary Park, and wanted to use what the park had to offer.
“It made people realize you don’t need a lot of equipment to get a good workout in,” she said.
The group meets by the fountain at 10 a.m. People stay at least 6 feet apart.
She said it’s convenient that the park features, like the trees and benches, are already spaced out.
The Wellness Walk is a new donation-based activity Cota started for Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 to 11 a.m.
“We walk in the parks for an hour and there are little fitness challenges interspersed,” she said.
The group has walks at Waterfront Park, Cartier Park and the Ludington State Park. The schedule is posted on the Facebook page.
Dogs and strollers are welcome, she said.
“It’s nice to utilize what the community already has,” Cota said.