'Yoga in the Square' Offers Free Outdoor Fitness

Weekly Yoga Classes in Market Square Draw Hundreds

A yoga class in Pittsburgh's Market Square
••• Hundreds gather in Market Square for Sunday morning yoga. Photo by Rossilynne Culgan

When it comes to outdoor fitness, downtown Pittsburgh is known as great place for running, biking, and rollerblading. But it has also become a popular spot for outdoor yoga.

Every Sunday morning in the summer, yogis pack Market Square by the hundreds for Yoga in the Square. Market Square is located in the heart of downtown, within walking distance of Point State Park.

The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership hosts Yoga in the Square classes in partnership with Luluemon Athletica and Fittsburgh.

Each week features a different local instructor.

The FREE community yoga classes begin at 10 a.m. in Market Square and run for about an hour. On Sundays, on-street parking at metered spaces downtown is also FREE. Plenty of metered spaces are available within a few steps of Market Square. Parking garages are also available nearby, for a fee.

Yoga in the Square continues on Sundays through Sept. 27, 2015. Rain cancellations are announced on the Yoga in the Square Facebook page by 8 a.m. on Sundays.

The yoga practice is all-levels, with instructors offering modifications to accommodate both beginners and more advanced yogis. However, though it is all levels, Yoga in the Square may be a challenge for first-time yogis who aren’t familiar with the position names, breathing techniques, and fast series of movements.

But for those familiar with yoga, Yoga in the Square is a delightful and completely new way to practice outside the confines of a classroom.

Instead of the normally silent studio, the background noise is filled with birds chirping, planes passing by, and restaurant-goers chit-chatting. The sounds offer a good reminder to remain present in class, a skill yoga instructors are always working to instill. Yoga teachers speak into microphones, so there’s no trouble hearing the instructions even with the background noise.

The outdoor classes also offer warm sunshine and cooling breezes. Arrive early to secure your spot in in the Square. Market Square’s trees provide some shade; arrive extra early if you’re looking for a shaded spot.

Remember to bring a bottle of water, sunblock, and a yoga mat to cover Market Square’s concrete surface.

After yoga class, more than a dozen restaurants are within walking distance for brunch, lunch, or a drink. The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership compiled a comprehensive Brunch Guide, featuring Meat & Potatoes, The Commoner, and Hello Bistro.

After brunch, spend some time enjoying downtown’s attractions.

Peruse free art galleries featuring the work of local, national, and international artists working in a variety of media. Check out 707/709 Penn Gallery, Wood Street Galleries, and SPACE Gallery.

Head to Point State Park and the Point State Park Fountain to relax -- or unfurl that yoga mat in the grass for more practice.