Zoo Atlanta offers after hours yoga with the elephants

Q: Can you tell me about yoga at Zoo Atlanta with elephants?

A: The Adult Zoo Yoga program was launched in September and features African elephants.

“We’re really excited about this program here at the zoo,” said vice president of education Michelle Kolar. “The adult yoga program actually is an outcrafting of our family yoga program that was launched in 2018.”

They were approached by Rashielle Teape who had moved here from Miami. Teape, a certified yoga instructor, had taught a family zoo program at Zoo Miami.

“It’s a new way to connect with our animals,” Kolar said. “We are always thinking of ways in which we can create opportunities for our guests to see animals in a different way, create different relationships with them and feel closer to them.”

The class takes place on Tembo Trek, part of the zoo’s new African Savanna exhibit.

“One of the things I think that makes our program special is that it happens at sunset, it happens outside, but it also happens in relationship to some of our animal ambassadors,” she said.

Teape, the zoo’s yoga instructor, “studies the animals and incorporates poses as part of the program that mimic animal behavior or statures,” Kolar added. “You are really creating a unique connection to the animals that you are actually kind of hanging out with while you are exercising.”

Inclement weather brings the class inside to the Zambezi Elephant Center, which is the interior of the zoo’s elephant habitat. You still get to see the elephants.

“Another unique feature is that we always have one of our zoo educators there. It’s a great opportunity for our yoga participants to learn a little bit about the animal ambassador that is being featured,” she said.

Currently, the program features African elephants, but in 2020 they will start to move around and feature other animal areas.

“The elephants are really interested in the yoga. One of the things we hadn’t anticipated is that the elephants would hang out and actually watch the program occur,” Kolar said.

The classes are held every third Wednesday monthly. The next class is Nov. 20 at sunset 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Address: 800 Cherokee Ave SE, Atlanta (404) 624-5600.

Cost: $10 per person. Registration is required. Space is limited.

For more information and registration: https://zooatlanta.org/program/adult-zoo-yoga.

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