I’ve been able to try three yoga studios on the North Side of Chicago during my time here. Each has its own style and perks. I hope to spend more time at each of them as I revive my intention to get deeper into my yoga practice.
Yoga Six Lincoln Park
I was lucky enough to win a free month of classes at Yoga Six
during the June Adventure Run. I had never been to the studio before that. My first class at the studio was Slow Flow. It’s one of six class types offered at Yoga Six. Slow Flow was 60 minutes of all-levels, gentle yoga that is taught in a warm environment. The instructor had a kind, laid-back presence. We often used blocks along with a bolster to get into the poses. It was a morning class that was a nice way to ease into the day.
I also took a Deep Stretch class to complement my half-marathon training. The poses are held for long periods of time and props are integrated into the warm-environment class. The instructor regularly prompted students to think about why we feel tense in certain areas of the body. I must have gotten deeper into my hip flexors, because I felt it for days.
I also tried Power Flow, which is taught in a heated environment. The 60-minute class was challenging. We repeated several sequences at a one breath per movement pace. We flowed through many rounds of vinyasa and played with transitions like jumping back and down to chaturanga. I appreciated the strong emphasis on the breath, because I really need those reminders to breathe throughout class.
The studio itself is new and well maintained. The restroom/locker area is spa-like and offers amenities that many other studios don’t, like toiletries and showers. It appears to be studio practice to have instructors wait outside after each class to greet students as they leave and ask how they feel.
Chi-Town Shakti is in the Edgewater neighborhood. It’s a small studio on Devon Avenue.
The class I’ve attended the most is Hatha 1-2, which is a 60-minute session for which students can use the “pay what you can” option. Most of the classes I went to were taught by an instructor who loves to play around and experiment with sequences and transitions. He adjusts more than most instructors I’ve met in Chicago so far. The Hatha class holds poses longer than vinyasa-style classes; often we would be in a high lunge for 10 breaths or more. Another staple of his classes is play time against the wall to work on certain poses and spotting each other in inversions. His aim is to build community. He does not use music for the most part, other than chanting at the end of class and hitting a gong. The studio itself is located close to a street, so noise creeps into the space, but for the most part it’s easy to tune it out.
I first heard about Centered
when I was ordering takeout from a Thai place in Rogers Park. The restaurant’s counter had business cards for one free yoga class at Centered, which is located just off the Morse CTA stop on the Red Line. The studio is small and no-frills, but it’s felt the most comfortable for me. The students face an exposed-brick wall, and to the left are the props and mats. The instructor for the class I attended lighted candles (both real and faux) throughout the space for a relaxing ambience. She emphasized the breath and had great cues, which made the class one of the best I’ve had in Chicago so far. We played around with side crow, which I appreciated because we have not done that in any of the other classes I’ve taken in the city. I loved the music. I wished I could remember the lyrics after class so I could look up the songs. The studio has a diverse array of yoga styles as its class offerings.