SHERMAN OAKS­—A resident started outdoor yoga classes in Valley Glen Community Park on September 29, to connect the community and help participants find ways to relieve stress amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sara del toro Alvarez had experiences teaching her family and friends yoga, but this is her first time organizing outdoor yoga sessions in the park. Alvarez said due to the pandemic, she has more time to deepen her yoga studies and is willing to share the benefits of doing yoga with her community.

“As time passes things are not calming down and I can feel the anxiety, stress, sadness, worries and confusion of the ones around me and my community,” Alvarez told Canyon News. “I believe that now is more important than never to cultivate our inner self, to find that calm and peaceful place inside and nurture that side of us.”

“I know some people are ready to ‘connect’ with all the ‘new normal’ modalities obviously,” Alvarez said. She added that she wants to make sure everyone has access to practice yoga together in a safe environment, so she chose to hold yoga classes in the park with everyone maintaining social distancing.

“I would love to build a strong group to explore all the aspects of yoga: meditation, breathwork, philosophy. I need committed students in order to achieve that,” Alvarez said. Patience, an open heart and consistency are important and Alvarez hopes her yoga classes can bring peace and calm to her community.