Imagine for a moment the floor is lava — not too difficult a concept with all those heat advisories in August — so how do you get from point A to point B? Look no further than parkour, where obstacles are traversed through running, vaulting, climbing, rolling, jumping and moving.
A new parkour class is starting up in September, part of Discovery Green's "Healthy Living in the Park" series, and the good news is that the discipline is for everybody, no matter their abilities.
"Our beginner class, the way we structure it, we want all fit levels to be able to access parkour," says Mike Buchanak, team manager for Urban Movement, the local company that coaches the course.
"When people see it in videos they think it’s jumping off a building, doing flips, all the crazy stunt work. We focus on getting people to move better. It could be climbing over something without elbows to jumping over a small gap; the techniques are the same you just get more intense and creative."
Urban Movement holds parkour classes at Discovery Green in the spring, summer and fall — taking a break during winter — and they always have two coaches so that the instruction can be tailored to different abilities and fitness levels. Last season they had a student, a boy named Riley, who didn't have a right arm.
"We had to figure out ways to make it adaptable for him. We love that, we encourage that," says Buchanak, who says other participants might have an old injury or an impediment.
"Parkour is the art of movement. Everybody’s supposed to be different."
Buchanak says that it doesn't take long for participants to develop what he calls "parkour vision," beginning to view the surrounding environment as a challenge to conquer.
"Our favorite parts [of Discovery Green] are the decks with the tables and chairs, decks with handrails. We really like any sort of obstacles, like a flat grassy space is kind of boring. We love staircases and hand rails and lots of tables and benches where we can arrange routes and paths that we can get through."
Parkour is scheduled for September 5-November 21 from 6:30-8 p.m. Thursdays at Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney. For information, visit discoverygreen.com/1604903. Free.
10 Ways to Get Moving This September at Discovery Green
Keep reading for the full schedule of "Healthy Living in the Park" offerings that kick off this September at Discovery Green, plus a few extra surprises for fans of art and dance.
Saturdays and Sundays, September 1–November 17, 11 a.m.–6 p.m.
Ride in a kayak or navigate a radio-controlled boat around Kinder Lake; $5 rentals are provided by Bayou City Adventures, weather permitting.
Mondays, September 2–November 18, noon–1 p.m.
Strengthen, relax and recharge in this all levels yoga class taught by Alicia Dugar.
Mondays, September 2–November 18, 1–1:15 p.m.
Slow down and feel the lightness and joy of being fully present in this meditation led by Rad Miryala.
Tuesdays, September 3–November 19, 6:30–7:30 p.m.
John Tran leads this dynamic flow yoga sequence that builds strength and relaxes the mind.
Wednesdays, September 4–October 30, 6:30–7:30 p.m.
First comes 30 minutes of Zumba, then comes another 30 minutes of Strong® by Zumba with leader Oscar Sajche.
Thursdays, September 5–November 21, 6:30–8 p.m.
Participants ages 12 and older use the park for an urban workout with running, jumping, climbing and balancing.
Daily through November 3, during park hours
Visitors can walk around the six larger than life, playful sculptures of everyday objects by British artist Michael Craig-Martin.
Friday, September 6, 7:30–10 p.m.
Learn to dance the Charleston with Dance Houston at this 1920s themed event. Costumes are encouraged, Two Star Symphony will be on hand to perform their original score from the movie Girl Shy, and find drink specials at The Grove.
The Grove will be serving a special prohibition-era cocktail for the evening. Ringing up at $12, The Sidecar is a mix of cognac, Cointreau and lemon juice, served in a coupe glass with a Sugar in the Raw rim. Whisper the password “Shhh” to your waiter to get the drink for half price.
Fridays, September 6–November 15, 9–10 a.m.
Simone Olivier from the Four Dragons Institute leads this Tai Chi class that will relax the mind and energize the body.
Saturdays, September 7–November 16, 9–10 a.m.
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Andria Dugas teaches this basic vinyasa yoga class for all levels, designed to enhance awareness and build strength.
The "Fitness in the Park" activities are for all fitness levels. No pre-registration is required but participants must sign a waiver. Bring a towel and water. For yoga activities, bring a mat or purchase a yoga mat at the Discovery Green office between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Our story also mentioned dancing during Two Star Symphony's performance and taking a walking tour around Michael Craig-Martin's sculptures; however those events are not considered part of Discovery Green's "Fitness in the Park" offerings.
Discovery Green is at 1500 McKinney. For information, visit discoverygreen.com/ebevents.