Actress, Shirley MacLaine, once wrote a book entitled Out on a Limb. Although she wasn’t talking about tree limbs or hanging out, in or even around one, that title has been taken literally to refer to a new form of yoga by that very same name performed on a platform between two trees.
This new yoga phenomenon takes place at Tree Adventure at the Morris Arboretum situated at the University of Pennsylvania. The 92-acre living museum of trees and botanic gardens lies along the western fringes of Philadelphia’s Chestnut Hill neighborhood.
Jennifer Schelter created the class known as Yoga Out on a Limb back in 2009, when the Tree Adventure opened. The treetops offer a unique and breathtaking perspective for the practice of yoga. The class takes place some 40 feet above the ground on a 275-foot steel and wood triangular platform. Yoga participants sit on colorful plastic mats as they stretch though their diverse asanas.
Making an inner and outer connection with nature is the basis for mastery of the ancient discipline of yoga. It is within the natural world that the human psyche finds both solace and inspiration. There is that unspoken understanding high up in the trees that yoga is much bigger than any individual,l and that its strength lies in tapping the connection between the yoga participant and the outside world.
Yoga in the treetops is a unique experience at least so far. For those who participate, the communion between the trees and the wind is almost holy in nature and can be palpably felt.
Only one more treetop class remains for the summer and this will be held on September 11. The cost of these classes is $25 for non-members and $20 for Morris Arboretum members. For more information about yoga classes at Morris Arboretum, call 215 247.5777 or visit the website (Morris Arboretum.org).