The new Vegas namaste: Yoga on a Ferris wheel, near dolphins

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Surrounded by imposing Las Vegas hotel-casinos in the foreground and desert mountains in the background, the group breathed deeply and loudly as an instructor guided them through their poses: upward dog, downward dog, lord of the dance.

The participants, though, weren’t the only ones shifting positions in this mirrorless space with Instagram-enviable views.

The three women and a man were inside a cabin of the world’s tallest Ferris wheel, stretching and holding poses as the marquees of The Mirage, Linq, Harrah’s and Caesars Palace appeared and faded from sight.

This gambling oasis isn’t known for mind-steadying experiences. But as the city broadens the range of interests and wallets it appeals to, companies have carefully selected an array of unique, picture-perfect sites where visitors and locals can say “Namaste.” Call it yoga a la Vegas, and picture dolphins, helicopters, red rocks and ritzy high-rises.

“High plank, low plank, up dog, down dog,” Raffi Yozgadlian said as he guided the group at the High Roller observation wheel through a series of yogi calisthenics at about 550 feet (168 meters) above ground.

The instructions stopped three-quarters into the class, and out came the cellphones. It was time for a few photos of handstands and other poses with the Bellagio, Cosmopolitan and an Eiffel Tower replica in the background.

“I was like, whoa. You have the Strip and you can take that in, or you have the mountains and you can take that in,” said Carly Benson, a Las Vegas resident whose tripod headstand photo is now on Instagram. “I was a little concerned about how my balance was going to be, and surprisingly, being able to zone in the landscape, I had better balance there than I sometimes do on the ground.”

Visitors and locals in need of their downward dog also can take classes surrounded by an outdoor installation of neon signs in the summer; by request, poolside at the MGM Grand; or on the grassy fields of a recreation area just outside the city in the shade of Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.

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News Talk Florida Staff