Meriden Parks & Recreation is now offering free fitness classes open to the public. Kathy Matula, the Recreation Coordinator, said yoga will be held weekly at the Augusta Curtis Cultural Center on Monday mornings and outdoors in the Hubbard Park Band Shell on Wednesday evenings. 

This past Wednesday I met with yoga instructor Stephanie Giacco and Matula for yoga at Hubbard Park.

Giacco said the Wednesday night class begins with a breakdown of poses at 4:15pm, for people completely new to yoga, and then there is a flow session at 5:00pm.

1. What to bring

Matula’s instructions as per the colorful fliers distributed by the Parks & Rec specify that you should bring a yoga mat, water, and a mask to all fitness classes.

For the outdoor classes, consider wearing sneakers in case you decide to hike up to Castle Craig or walk around the pond at Hubbard Park.

Bring a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses in anticipation of the sun lowering in the evening. 

2. What to expect 

“There is plenty of space” Giacco said.

She added that participants are spaced out 6-feet outdoors and 12-feet inside in order to meet the state’s social distancing requirements.

Giacco’s check-in display featured a hand-sanitizer pump, waivers for participants, and an essential oil diffuser misting a pleasant eucalypts and spearmint scent. 

She began the class by informing participants about how the events of the evening would unfold. 

Giacco explained that the yoga breakdown was meant to give participants a foundation to work with before progressing through the postures in the yoga flow class that followed. She offered pose modifications and plenty of cuing throughout the class.

After yoga, Giacco hosted an introduction to essential oils informational session.

3. Benefits of being outdoors

Both Giacco and Matula championed the benefits of exercising outdoors. 

Giacco said, “Being outside gives you the opportunity to look around, explore the little things in life, and see the beauty in the everyday.”

“Outside is not cancelled. It’s beautiful and there are so many sensory benefits to being outside, the sights, the smells, the sounds…” said Matula.

Matula said that as the weather gets colder towards the winter months, outdoor classes will be held at the Augustus Curtis Cultural Center.

4. About Meriden parks

Matula called fitness classes at Hubbard park a “great opportunity.” She said, “This park is accessible to every single age.”

Matula said that Meriden has 25 accessible parks and encouraged those interested in fitness classes to provide her with suggestions on where to hold classes.

“We can travel and go to any of the parks and offer just about anything you can think of…let us know if you have any ideas” said Matula.

5. Learn more

In addition to yoga, Meriden Parks & Recreation is also offering guided hikes at Hubbard Park and Pilates classes at the Augustus Curtis Cultural Center in Meriden.

“Recreation is all about being creative and adaptative. So, we can make things happen under any circumstance” said Matula.

For more information about free fitness classes offered by Meriden Parks & Recreation, visit: