Belle Isle – Richmond, VA

Hidden beneath the highway, Belle Isle is a uniquely industrial meets natural landscape to spend some time practicing in. There’s a winding pedestrian bridge that runs from the parking lot on Tredegar St, over the river following under the highway, across to Belle Isle. On the other end there are paths and old skeletons of industrial buildings. I practiced for a bit in one of the steel structures to the left of the bridge! If you want something a little less sketch, you can continue down the path to the right that follows the river. I’m one to enjoy a more free form practice when I’m outside so I started along the rocks in the river and found a flat space. It wasn’t the softest circumstances or the easiest but it was nice to be challenged not by my muscles but by my environment. Every asana was shaped and felt just a little bit different. 
I found more unconventional spots along the paths but if you are looking for a soft spot of grass along the water try taking a walk to Brown Island! Rather than go right towards Belle Isle after you park, take a left and you come up to Brown Island across from the Civil War Museum visitor center. 
Frustratingly, if you GPS Belle Isle, it will take you halfway across Belvidere Bridge to where the island starts below it. GPS the Civil War Museum visitor center and keep driving along the river, passing the center on your right, until you see the Belle Isle parking lot to the right. Then just walk under the highway and up the ramp across the river. 
It’s a really beautiful and interesting landscape to look at. The walking bridge is a small suspension bridge with a beautiful view of the river as well as the underside of the highway. The tree mix with rusted steel and old boat docks, it’s an easy place to get creative with practice spots. I also heard in the summer the rocks are filled with bathing swimmers so get there early if it’s a warm day! 


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