Stretch your dollar: free yoga classes in Hong Kong
Ahead of Sunday's first International Day of Yoga, we let you in on where you can enjoy yoga for free in the city
Hong Kong and 250 other cities around the world are set to strike a collective pose come Sunday on the first International Day of Yoga. Headlining the day’s commemorative activities will be a free mass yoga event at Sun Yat Sen Memorial Park in Sai Ying Pun, co-organised by the Consultate General of India in Hong Kong and the Leisure and Cultural Services Department.
Many other smaller yoga events – all free of charge (see listings below) – will be held across the territory to celebrate the International Day of Yoga, which was proclaimed by the United Nations in December last year following endorsement by a record 175 member states at its 69th General Assembly.
“By proclaiming 21 June as the International Day of Yoga, the General Assembly has recognized the holistic benefits of this timeless practice and its inherent compatibility with the principles and values of the United Nations,” says Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General.
June 21 is the Summer Solstice, Northern Hemisphere’s longest day of the year. It also has special significance in yogic tradition: on this day, it’s believed that Adiyogi (the first yogi) first set his eyes on the Saptarishis or Seven Sages, who were his first disciples to carry the science of yoga to many parts of the world.
The day will be celebrated in 191 countries, driven by India’s diplomatic missions in each location. Only Yemen has no official events on the day because India recently closed its mission there, according to Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj.
The largest yoga session will be held in New Delhi, where about 35,000 government workers, national cadet corps, school students and police officers will attempt to break a Guinness World Record for the largest number of people doing yoga in the same place at one time. (The current record is 29,973, set in 2005 by students in the northern Indian city of Gwalior.)
Hong Kong’s main event at Sun Yat Sen Memorial Park won’t accommodate that many people, but the organisers are hoping a few thousand people will join in, according to Prashant Agrawal, Consul General of India to Hong Kong. Event registration is free and the first 1,500 people to register at www.yogainhk.org will get a free commemorative yoga mat and T-shirt.
Starting at 7.30am, the event will involve more than 20 yoga institutions. After the mass class, there’ll be smaller sessions by Sahaja Yoga, Prajna Yoga, The Yoga Room and other instructors from 9.15am.
"Yoga offers a simple, accessible and inclusive means to promote physical and spiritual health and well-being. It promotes respect for one’s fellow human beings and for the planet we share. And yoga does not discriminate; to varying degrees, all people can practice, regardless of their relative strength, age or ability,” says the UN’s Ban.
“I discovered this for myself on trying to do my first asana, a tree pose suited to beginners. It took a moment for me to gain my balance but once I did, I appreciated the simple sense of satisfaction that yoga can bring.”
Here’s a listing of the events commemorating the first International Day of Yoga on Sunday, June 21. All are free to join though some require pre-event registration.
Main event: mass yoga at Sun Yat Sen Memorial Park
Sai Ying Pun
7.30am to 9.15am
Register at yogainhk.org
Open house at all Pure Yoga locations
Special-themed classes open to everyone at Pure's seven yoga studios in Central, Repulse Bay, Causeway Bay, Quarry Bay, Tsim Sha Tsui and Mongkok
Various times; check schedules at pure-yoga.com and call 8129-2200 to book a spot
Screening of documentary “Living Yoga” by Integral Yoga
Platform Co-Working Space, 1/F, 120 Connaught Road West
10am to 11am
Workshops by Isha Foundation
Tung Chung, 12.30pm to 2pm
Hong Kong University 5-5.30pm and 6-7.30pm
Register at ishafoundation.org/hk/idy.html
Yoga on the Beach by The Yoga Room
5 to 6pm
Details at yogaroomhk.com, tel: 2544-8398
And here are other free yoga events happening on other days:
A mass yoga and party at Central Harbourfront Event Space
Aug 9, 2pm
For details email [email protected]
Single Mingle Yoga Night by Yoogaia and Luxe Nova
Socialise over yoga and tea cocktails (HK$100 for two drinks) at Luxe Nova Lifestyle Studio
9/F, V Plus, 68-70 Wellington Street, Central
July 4, Aug 1, Sept 5, 4pm
For details email [email protected]
Community classes by Lululemon
Various dates and locations
See lululemon.com.hk for schedule and to register
Yoga for Busy Executives by Life Management Yoga Centre
Pay what you wish for their four-hour workshops
11/F, 35 Kimberley Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
Every third Sunday of the month at 2.30pm
Register at yoga.org.hk
Beginner yoga classes by Sahaja Yoga
Just show up – no registration needed
Held across the territory in Central, Shatin, Yau Ma Tei and Kwun Tong on different days and times
For full schedule see sahajayoga.org.hk