Fourth of July may end with a bang, but a group of about a dozen celebrated freedom in their own — more subdued — way.
At the aptly named Yoga Happens Here at 405 Court St. in Pekin, instructor Paula Bayer led a “Firecracker pop-up” on Thursday morning. The focus: mental and spiritual freedom.
“We’re all about relaxing into what is, not what isn’t,” said Bayer during her instruction.
Most attendees were familiar with Bayer’s teaching style, and the studio is proudly communal. Regulars are greeted by name, and some receive hugs when they arrive.
A vast majority of the class is made up of women, but a few men pop in as well.
“Welcome to class ladies… and our two guys,” said Bayer at the beginning of the routine.
This was the third year the Fourth of July pop-up has taken place at Bayer’s studio, and the routine focused partly on fire poses but incorporated other elements as well.
Freedom, Bayer said, was at the front of her mind for the pop-up.
“I just kind of started thinking about freedom,” said Bayer, “that feeling of freedom after you’ve released.”
That theme was something Bayer leaned into, and the class began while she played “Blackbird” by The Beatles. She said she considered playing a Jimi Hendrix song, but she decided to go with something less heavy.
“I was thinking of a song that could represent freedom,” said Bayer.
The Firecracker pop-up isn’t the only seasonal offering from the Court Street yoga studio.
The “July Coffee Express” workshop takes place at the studio from 7:15 to 8 a.m. on Tuesdays through July 30, and Thursdays through Aug. 1. A coffee or tea will be provided by CJ’s Café in Pekin.
There will also be free classes at 7:15 a.m. on July 27, Aug. 24 and Sept. 28, on the Pekin Riverfront Pier.
“Calming the Chaos” is a workshop with two Monday sessions — 1 p.m. or 5 p.m. — that runs through July 29.