Laying in a meditation pose, the breeze gently tugging at my hair, life’s stress began to drift away.
Instead, I focused on my breathing and the sun’s warmth on my open palms.
“Feel your body as it sinks into the earth,” said Beth Lee Ferriola, owner of Yoga By the Bay in Eastport. “Let your muscles soften. Feel the sun on your skin.”
Birds began to chirp around me, and I found myself completely relaxed. As I sat up and opened my eyes, rows of grapevines came into focus.
Ferriola placed her palms together and I quickly followed, relaxing my elbows at my side.
“Namaste,” she said, gently bowing her head. A smile grew across my face and I saw the same emotion across hers.
Wobbly moments aside, I successfully made it through my very first yoga class, something that previously intimidated me.
“I have looked forward to this class for a long time,” Ferriola said. It is the first class of many she will be instructing at Palmer Vineyards in Aquebogue. She teamed up with Palmer to start Yoga on the Vines, a series of classes offered every Sunday at 11 a.m., rain or shine.
Ferriola said the vineyard landscape and natural elements help enhance the senses when doing yoga.
“You’re feeling the sunshine and feeling the wind; smelling the fragrances and sinking your toes in the grass,” she said. “It helps you connect with nature.”
She has been practicing yoga for almost 20 years, and has been instructing for the past five. Several of her Eastport students joined in for the class.
“I can’t go back to the studio,” one joked while sipping a Mimosa, a treat each participant gets after the class ends.
“She really gets you to focus and relax,” said Megan Cereola of Jamesport, a physical education teacher who teaches yoga to her grade school students. “I loved having the outside experience.”
Lisa Prudenti of Manorville was a first time yoga goer, like me.
“It was a really nice setting and a great view,” she said. She commented on how comfortable she felt throughout the class.
“When they leave, I want them to feel accomplished,” Ferriola said. “I want them feeling good.”
Rolling up my yoga mat, I gazed out into the vineyards. I’ve found a new way to start my Sunday mornings.
Photos by Carrie Miller