Yoga on the Courts off to hot start

The McGraw League outdoor basketball courts are the home of Scioto County’s newest yoga class, Yoga on the Courts.

PORTSMOUTH — Scioto County’s newest hot spot for yoga is located at a place many may already be familiar with.

Yoga on the Courts, hosted at the McGraw League outdoor basketball courts, will begin its third week of weekly classes Wednesday at their location at 1321 State Route 140. For 31 years, the McGraw outdoor basketball courts have been used for basketball but now have a new purpose.

Kurt McGraw, league director for the McGraw Basketball League, ran with the multipurpose idea of a weekly yoga class at his courts and began the first set of classes just nine days ago.

“I’ve been wanting to do this out here for a long time,” McGraw said. “It’s a nice setting in the evening, it’s outside. Our climate doesn’t allow us to have classes outside during the winter, but I enjoy practicing outside any chance I get.”

Each week the class has gained attendees as social distancing guidelines as part of Ohio’s Responsible Restart Ohio initiative remain in place.

McGraw first practiced yoga himself after a lasting back injury would not quite recover as quickly as he would have liked. Now, he sees the method of exercise in a completely different light.

“Most people are intimidated by yoga, I was for years,” McGraw said. “How I got into practicing yoga was I hurt my back and tried everything from chiropractic to physical therapy, and the best thing that did anything and helped was the yoga practice. I was a believer right from there.”

Barbara Duncan, a longtime yoga instructor at Shawnee State University, SOMC’s Life Center, and Iron Body Fitness, was tabbed by McGraw to instruct the classes during their initial stages.

“I’ve been to Barbara’s classes many times,” McGraw said. “She’s been teaching and practicing at Shawnee, at the LIFE Center, working with Portsmouth’s football team and many sports programs. I’ve always really enjoyed her classes and she’s excited about this.”

McGraw also mentioned that Yoga on the Courts is looking for additional certified yoga instructors to teach classes at different times — during the morning and evening, potentially three-four days a week.

Anyone wishing to participate in the exercise in future classes needs only bring a $10 class fee, a personal mat and a positive attitude.

“We’re going to do some beginning classes for anyone new,” McGraw said. “People that don’t know or don’t have any experience with something tend to be afraid, but there’s no fear with starting this for the first time.”

Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved