Sidewalk yoga.


OAKtown surprises.


Thanks to all of *you* Im walking more.

I dont live where I can walk to the store—but Ive CHOSEN to live as though I can walk to the store!

I snag my freak flag don my backpack and I walk.  And WALK.

I fill the pack as full as I can and I trek home.

Yay 10k steps!

Yay 10k!

Not only have I gotten more steps—-Ive learned so much more about my ‘hood than I had driving, parking, walking

  • Ive learned theres a house where every Saturday the kids who live there have a lemonade stand (I wanted to snap a pic–but other people’s children & all I resisted).
  • Ive learned theres a house where every few days a new plastic lawn ornament thingy is shoved lovingly in the ground. (no picture. I got screamed at.).
  • Ive learned theres a house where every few days a new yoga sequence is drawn in chalk on the sidewalk out front (Note haste with which I snapped photo.  It’s blurry. Im in it.  You can tell Id recently been screamed at).

Im a writer and storyteller at heart.

It’s taken everything I have in me NOT to bang on the door of the yoga-house and beg the chalking-resident to tell his tale.

Im so curious (yet Ive resisted.  we do live in the land of broken windows & even this woman possesses a little caution) & since I cant satiate my curiosity (yet!) I decided to join in.

I procured me this:

I love this.

I love this.

I picked my first pose and I launched my new sidewalk yoga practice:


OM blue.


Every few days I change the pose:


OM a little wonky looking.



Downward facing chalk.

And yes.  The Tornado insisted on joining in:




We both hope stumbling across our little sidewalk patch of yoga & zen will brighten someone’s day as much as the yoga-house discovery *still* does mine.

Whats the quote? The secret to humor is surprise?

Ive learned as Ive ambled my ‘hood recently the secret to JOY is surprise. 

Surprise discovery of something you’d never have anticipated being there—and which makes you smile long after you pass it by.

Snag some sidewalk chalk and join me? 

From yoga stick figures to motivational phrases let’s blanket our ‘hoods with sidewalk smile-inducing surprise…


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  1. says

    I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE this post! The walking, the lemonade, the sidewalk chalk (seriously amazing), and the yoga pose drawings. Thank you for starting my day with a gigantic smile in my heart!

  2. says

    I love sidewalk yoga. To play along I’ll have to do driveway or road yoga since I live in the land of no sidewalks…

  3. says

    Fun, fun, fun! And I know it makes someone smile when they pass the drawings. I’m going to suggest this to my daughter.

    I always try to notice the people and places I pass on my runs. And there is always something that makes me smile. Yesterday it was the elderly man out on his walk, belting a song out at the top of his lungs!

  4. says

    This is such a cute idea – I need to learn more poses lol. Or everyone in my ‘hood’ll just be doing downward and cobra

  5. says

    Good for you for making the trek! I try to walk as much as I can. The sidewalk yoga is a totally cute idea. I need to get those pencils for Kay!

  6. Sally says

    This is so much fun, Carla.
    I don’t do yoga, have chalk and will sidewalk motivational phrases!

  7. says

    Love the idea of the sidewalk yoga! And the way you “paid it forward”.

    Weird, though, that someone would yell at you for taking a picture of a garden ornament. Don’t suppose grumpy gnomes or flamingos own that house?

  8. says

    Ok, not my proudest moment, but in undergrad my friends and I *may* have been celebrating the end of term with *perhaps* alcohol, and we *may* have chalked kama-sutra positions outside of the abstinence-only club building.

    That is why I originally cracked the hell up when I saw your chalk dude on FB.

    Again, not my finest moment.

  9. says

    I love this. <3 <3 <3 it. I live in a rural area, but our area is an exact mile loop so so we do get a lot of walkers– I'm whipping out the chalk. (that is out right now anyway from the kids drawing on the sidewalk)

  10. says

    I love learning about my neighborhood while out running…like who does laundry when or work they are doing on houses…or when the summer people have opened their GIANT houses for the summer (I would gladly take care of those houses for them on the off season!). I feel like you really get to know your “hood” on foot! Just yesterday I was out for a run with the girls and a girl down the street had written in huge letters on the street, “Happy Summer!” Loved it!

  11. says

    I love that you are learning, walking, and thriving in your neighborhood this way. If i saw this chalk, i would probably bust out the yoga move.. no i DEFINITELY would!

  12. says

    You are THE storyteller!!1 OMG so love this post AND Ive learned as Ive ambled my ‘hood recently the secret to JOY is surprise.

    Why do they yell – don’t they know you live there… why do they yell…

    No way this can be done here but I might try! 😉

  13. says

    You need to stalk the yoga persons house and see what time he/she does the chalk drawings (probably sunrise). Then you can just ‘happen’ to come by next time and engage.

    • MIZ says

      for some reason since it hasnt rained here in AGES (except today :-)) I always imagine it is HAAARD to get those spiked ornaments into the lawn!

  14. says

    Love this! Need to get to the bottom of the yoga people mystery.
    Wow a 10k walk! I wouldn’t think twice about running that, but I’m sure my bod would seize up if I attempted to walk it. Go fig.

  15. says

    This put such a big smile on my face. I really love it and love your stories. I’m sorry that you got yelled out because I long to know the story! Walking through my neighborhood and city is one of my favorite things. I love the discoveries I make and it makes this big crazy city feel much cozier.

  16. Hannah says

    Thank you, Carla.
    No camp this week and I needed ideas for stuff to do with the twins.

  17. says

    I love the sidewalk yoga and whoever the mystery person is that started it. I need to make myself walk more. I’d say the store is a good 2.5 miles, which isn’t an excuse, but lack of time is. My neighbor walks to the store everyday…however he does it without shoes which is odd..right?

  18. MIZ says

    GIRL I SO SO SO GET YOU. Ill admit initially it annoyed me when people would admonish me to walk to the store.
    beyond the fact I couldnt carry it all back :-) it’s about 2 miles here too.

  19. says

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who doesn’t walk to the store (or for any errands!). We don’t really live within a decent walking distance and carrying all my crap home from the store is not my idea of a good time.
    I love just walking through the neighborhood – so cool that you’ve learned so much about your neighbors while out and about!!!
    Maybe if you start doing yoga on the sidewalk in front of the yoga house – they will come out and join you!!!

  20. says

    Running has brought me that same kind of intimacy with my neighbourhood and I love it! I really love the drawings and WOW that is a big piece of sidewalk chalk!!

  21. says

    I say don’t let the grumpy lawn ornament person scare you from saying hello to the yoga pose draw-er!

    I’d venture to guess if they are wanting to share their love of yoga with passer-bys, they’d equally love meeting you! :-)

    Have a great week!

  22. says

    I take my car for errands and commuting, even though I live near a lot of stuff and could easily walk/bike. It’s a lot of excuses, but a) how do I bring back a week’s worth of groceries without a trunk (while I wish I had the time to go to the store every few days, I don’t) b) drivers terrify me, I really don’t like riding my bike on crowded streets and c) bike shoes don’t travel well. :)

    However, I love keeping an eye on my ‘hood through running. I notice the little changes in people’s houses as the weeks/months/years go by. I notice when people get new cars. I know when school is in or out because I run by 2 of them. There are streets in my ‘hood that feel just BIZARRE to drive down, because they are places to run.

  23. says

    Such a great idea to bring wonder to someone else’s day! I would LOVE walking by that :) You should record reactions (hidden so you don’t get yelled at!) I don’t get people that yell. I also don’t get road rage. But I have to let it go, smile and…make my own chalk ninjas anyway!

  24. says

    I absolutely love your sidewalk chalk idea! Sidewalk chalk always makes me smile, no matter what form it takes. Around here (the northwest) we would get a clean slate at least every couple of days thanks to all the rain….

    I am so curious… do you think you get yelled at more in Oakland than you did/would have for similar behavior in the ATX? I have my preconceived notions, but you have actual experience!

  25. says

    I love this idea. It is so true that little surprises like stumbling across side walk art do bring joy to people. I want to know their story too though!

  26. says

    This makes me happy.
    This makes me want to buy chalk and walk around my whole neighbourhood and draw amazing things in chalk to inspire people and make their days better.

  27. says

    I live in a townhome complex and I’m totally going to do this on the sidewalks around the complex! AWESOME!!!!!!

  28. cheryl says

    chalk messages are frequently on the sidewalk/roads where I run/walk/cycle. May take some time to add my own thoughts and pix…

  29. says

    “Ive learned theres a house where every few days a new plastic lawn ornament thingy is shoved lovingly in the ground. (no picture. I got screamed at.)” Haha! Why put them there if you don’t want people to see and comment!?

  30. says

    im going to show this sidewalk thing to my dughter – shes 22 and always complaining that she hates even the miniscule of exercise! But this looks like fun so i’ll see what she says! Thanks for the idea :-)

  31. says

    It’s funny, I just wrote a post in a local blog about Mary Poppins and my niece’s love of drawing with chalk on paths when she was little. AND I’m writing about the fact that I’ve just started yoga lessons.

    This is week 1 and so far so good!


  32. Lisa Boshell says

    I live in Auburn, Alabama and was walking in my neighborhood when I noticed that someone had written in the once wet cement of the sidewalk, “Don’t postpone joy.”
    What a great message!! It’s still my mantra after discovering over 3 years ago.

  33. says

    This totally makes me want to walk through my neighborhood more carefully! I’ve done a few jogs through it but of course then I have my earbuds in and all I’m focused on is how my heart feels like exploding. Your way is far, far better. (Although I too live in the land of not being able to walk to the store… I’m impressed you did anyhow though! THere’s no way I’d be able to tote all our groceries in a backpack. I could possibly ride a bike though and throw them in an empty burly? See now you have me thinking!) LOVE the chalk drawings.

  34. says

    This is so much fun. On the bike/nature trail I walk on daily kids draw pictures with side walk chalk and it’s so much fun to see what they draw. It brings a smile to my face!

  35. says

    Hi, I love the sidewalk chalk yoga artistry. It is so much fun being around kids because they have that childlike faith and innocence that the Lord always professes that we have faith like a child. I have been working out since I was 9 years old and love your blog. Please check out my new site, hoping to get it to the #1 video fitness authority resource on the web at Thank you Carla, great work!!