Rooftop Yoga Motivates

Yvette Mancilla / The Collegian Downtown Rooftop Yoga participants perform the tree pose on the second floor of the Pacific Southwest Building. Far right: Collegian staffers Nadia Pearl and Kristen Lacey.

Two of our own share their thoughts on Downtown Rooftop Yoga taught by Cole Judge

By Jesse Franz 

Yvette Mancilla / The Collegian Downtown Rooftop Yoga participants perform the tree pose on the second floor of the Pacific Southwest Building. Far right: Collegian staffers Nadia Pearl and Kristen Lacey.

Yvette Mancilla / The Collegian
Downtown Rooftop Yoga participants perform the tree pose on the second floor of the Pacific Southwest Building. Far right: Collegian staffers Nadia Pearl and Kristen Lacey.

I was barely awake during my 6 a.m. drive down Highway 41 on my way to Fulton Mall, still cursing at my alarm clock. The sun, still only sending a faint glow across the morning sky, acted as a painful reminder that my office chair was probably still warm from last night’s work.

In my world, balance is more often found in a coffee cup. But this past Friday, caffeine free, I tried yoga for the first time.

As I walked through the Fulton Mall, the Pacific Southwest Building, standing in all its dimly lit magnitude, had a certain charm to it. Going up the elevator and down hallways past empty offices felt like a Downtown revitalization commercial.

When we entered the yoga room—an office space unused for some time—I realized that the view alone was worth the trek. The morning light started to illuminate Downtown Fresno, and I looked from above at Fresno sights that I’d only seen from the ground.

The serenity paired with the physicality of the class brought me to a level perspective not often achieved by myself, let alone that early in the morning.

Though as a first-time yoga participant, audible breathing, positions with names like downward dog and the sitar soundtrack playing softly in the background did elicit a (mostly) silent chuckle to myself.

More shocking was the amount of physical skill that yoga requires. It’s a fact I became critically aware of as my arms began shaking under me during what are considered fairly basic positions.

When we ended the session, the morning now fully under way with people dressed for work walking through the mall—as full as the Fulton Mall can be anyhow—I felt something that I hadn’t felt during morning in a long time. I felt refreshed and relaxed.

As a person who vehemently despises mornings, consider this a ringing endorsement.

Yvette Mancilla / The Collegian The rooftop yoga class perform a breathing exercise this past Friday.

Yvette Mancilla / The Collegian
The rooftop yoga class meets every Friday at 7 a.m. on the sixth floor of the Pacific Southwest Building.

By Nadia Pearl

As the sun rose over the Central Valley on Friday, I stretched, refreshed and woke up my body like any other morning.

But instead of being sleepy and alone in bed, I was up in one of Downtown Fresno’s high-rise buildings doing group yoga.

Originally, the class’s 7a.m. start scared me. And sure, by the time it’s 9 a.m., the demand for coffee is stronger than usual. But starting the occasional day with early-morning yoga will forever be more rewarding than making the otherwise lazy decision to stay in bed for an extra hour.

As someone who enjoys yoga and has past experience, I know I’ll always enjoy a class for its refreshing, meditating qualities. While I’ve taken other classes that offered smoother sequences and a wider variety of positions, during this lesson it wasn’t the routine that captured me, but rather the opportunity to see Fresno from a new perspective.

The romanticism of watching a sunrise from one of Fresno’s higher vantage points— the Pacific Southwest Building—is guaranteed to please anyone. How could it not? In dawn’s transition, the sky was nothing but soft colors evolving over the city in what could only be described as a charismatic start to the day.

Being that it was too early in spring to enjoy a class outside on the rooftop, we instead performed the yoga in an empty office space on the sixth floor. While the vacancy reminded me of Downtown Fresno’s abandonment, it offered an unusual, yet calming feeling of tranquility.

In a former time, office workers would be beginning to arrive at the building for a day behind desks and cubicles (some were still left deserted). But instead, we newcomers joined a small group of regulars in laying out our mats to begin our weekend with an hour of relaxation.

As the saying goes, when one door closes, another one opens.

Previous Story

Softball: 'Dogs begin Mountain West play against Broncos