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Schenectady's Mohawk Harbor serving as outdoor fitness studio

Schenectady's Mohawk Harbor serving as outdoor fitness studio

Yoga, zumba other fitness classes use the amphitheater while gyms remain shutdown for COVID-19
Schenectady's Mohawk Harbor serving as outdoor fitness studio
Mandee Guzzo of Yoga Bliss teaches a yoga class at the Mohawk Harbor Amphitheater on Friday.
Photographer: Peter Barber

SCHENECTADY — The Mohawk Harbor amphitheater and fitness clubs are both barred from their intended uses as a COVID-19 precaution.

So fitness professionals are taking their classes to the harbor.

There’s plenty of room for a group of 50 to do a socially distanced workout stretch session, but no way to safely squeeze in the thousands who would attend the Harbor Jam concerts that normally would be held there in summer.

Yoga, ptale, zumba and fitness classes are scheduled daily at Mohawk Harbor through the end of August. CrossFit may be added to the roster as well.

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Assorted fitness classes have been held in the amphitheater in previous years but attendance has picked up this year as people are eager to get out of the house and replace their gym or studio time.

Yoga Bliss on Erie Boulevard is holding two classes there per week, weather permitting — Friday evenings and Sunday mornings.

“We’ve been lumped in with fitness studios, so we’re not open,” said owner Mary Clare O’Connor. “The appeal of the harbor is it’s beautiful, for one, but it also offers an element of control” over social distancing.

Class size is limited to 50 people, and there’s room for them to spread out over the grassy tiers.

The Sunday morning Yoga Bliss class will be sponsored by MVP Health Care starting Aug. 2. Classes are free both days; donations are accepted for the Friday yoga classes but won’t be at the MVP classes. Advanced registration is allowed but not necessary — those who aren’t registered will be included if there are fewer than 50 people in total.

O’Connor leads some of the classes herself. Mandee Guzzo led the group this past Friday.

The harbor setting is quite different from the Erie Boulevard studio she founded in 2014, but many are OK with the change.

“It’s all part of your yoga to be able to focus on what you’re doing” amid the distraction of the outside world, O’Connor said. “Some people really like the privacy and quiet of the studio.”

Also, there’s a lawn at the harbor vs. a laminate floor at the studio.

“It’s actually a different balance challenge doing yoga on the grass instead of on the floor.”

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She hasn’t hit the 50 person limit yet since starting the outdoor classes two weeks ago. The classes have been split 3-2 between regular attendees and newcomers.

She suggests the Sunday class for those new to yoga, as the Friday class is more of a mixed-level group and moves along faster.

The current roster at Mohawk Harbor through the end of August is:

  • Monday — 6:30 p.m. ptale, 7:30 p.m. zumba sponsored by Vent Fitness
  • Tuesday — To be announced
  • Wednesday—  6 p.m. ptale, Vent
  • Thursday — 6 p.m. assorted Crunch Fitness
  • Friday — 5:30 p.m. yoga, sponsored by Yoga Bliss
  • Saturday — 10 a.m. zumba, Vent
  • Sunday — 9 a.m. yoga, Yoga Bliss
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