A Moment in Time: Bok Rooftop Yoga

She apprehensively pulled up to a parking space on the city street, because, it can’t be this easy. She hesitates, then turns off her car and hops out to look at the street signs. Perfectly legal to park, she found, and if the signs didn’t reassure her, the mob mentality of the five cars that pulled in right behind her did. She chuckled to herself watching several yogis exit their cars with their yoga mats and head in to the former school.

Yup, I’m in the right place, she thought to herself.

Gathering her yoga accessories — mat, towel, water bottle — she closed her trunk and headed toward the multi-story building that spans an entire city block. The mouth of the building, previously utilizing many doors to enter, today has only one door opened and a man to assist/direct people.

Her flip flops smacked against the floor and her heel as she entered the locker-lined hallway, a full head above where the height of the lockers stopped, and felt like she was breaking a rule. No flip flops were allowed in her grade schools. The fleeting thought brought a smile to her face as she came to an intersection and turned right. Among the large hallways and multiple floors there are artist studios, gyms, office spaces, but she knows where she is going, to the top.

She gets in line behind a couple, likely going to enjoy the views from the roof for a different reason, as they had no yoga mats. Finding herself being slightly annoyed by the wait, again, she remembered, this building was never built to shuttle several people from one floor to the next, or even the ground floor to the roof, it was meant for shuttling children, sparingly, from one class to another. So, she made a joke about it to her fellow waiters.

The trio were soon joined by about a dozen other yogis, identifiable by the mats strapped to their backs, taking up their arms or in oddly shaped bags that only make sense if a yoga mat is in it. And when the sweet ding of the elevator arrival lets everyone know they are about to embark on a journey to their destination, they pile in.

Fairly hopping from one leg to the other, she walks right up to the gym attendants who are checking people in just outside the elevator doors. After being marked present, she walks under a several foot awning and on to the roof. The awning area is lined with hydrangeas, reminding her, despite the bite of the air that it is still summer as she looks beyond to the skyline of the city. Rows of homes and streets create an optical illusion as they curve toward the skyscrapers and shining glass and metal structures a few miles away. And as the sun sinks over the bow of the building with a promise of vibrant colors before its departure, she takes a deep breath knowing she is exactly where she is supposed to be.

The awning area is lined with hydrangeas, reminding her, despite the bite of the air that it is still summer as she looks beyond to the skyline of the city.

This sentiment was echoed by the yoga instructor: “Know that you are exactly where you are meant to be,” the yogi said before proceeding into cues of each asana. The moving meditation of class felt both like a ringing out of her muscles and bones but also like nothing was happening at all aside from an observation of beauty and a feeling of contentment.

Fulfilling its promise, pinks and purples and blues and greys painted the sky connecting the class of individuals as they gently opened their eyes from shavasana. To her, it felt like a moment of peace that would live forever in her mind. She held on to it as she blinked open her eyes, rose up from re-entered reality.

top from Bok Building
The view from Bok Building and the beginnings of the sunset. Courtesy of Samantha Sayward

Philadelphia-area yogis can enjoy one more Bok Rooftop Yoga, courtesy of KG Strong, before the end of the season. Proceeds for the Sept. 24 class go to benefit the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Click here to procure your ticket or get more information.


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