Listen to Austin 360 Radio

Stretch out and try yoga, for free

Pam LeBlanc
pleblanc@statesman.com

Never tried yoga?

You can try a class for free on Monday during the 13th annual Free Day of Yoga in Austin. More than three dozen studios will participate.

An opening festival is scheduled for 10 a.m. to noon today on the upper deck at Whole Foods Market, 525 N. Lamar Blvd. Bring a yoga mat if you want to take part in free yoga classes or drawings for yoga gear. The first 100 visitors will receive a gift bag, too.

Then, on Monday, yoga teachers and studios all over the city and surrounding area will offer free classes to heighten awareness of yoga and its benefits.

A variety of styles of yoga will be offered, from ashtanga to hatha to Bikram and more. Some styles are physically challenging and athletic; others focus on relaxation and meditation. The benefits of practicing yoga include increasing flexibility and strength, improving balance and relieving stress.

"The Free Day of Yoga is our way of saying thank you to our community for supporting us in our quest to expand the awareness of this ancient practice," says organizer Mary Esther. "Because we offer such a wide variety of yoga teachers, styles and classes on Free Day of Yoga, there is a class for everyone - whether you are tall, short, round, thin, physically active or sedentary."

For a complete class schedule, go to www.freedayofyoga.com .

Be sure to arrive at classes early. Wear loose, comfortable shoes and be prepared to take off your shoes. Bring a yoga mat and water.