Sat Nam Yoga Chicago hosts a monthly women’s yoga and meditation workshop. This workshop is created to empower women. This is a great way to restore women’s self-esteem and reenergize. Save the date for their next class which will be December 8th 2012 6:30-8:00pm. They welcome drop-ins and the cost is $15. For those of you who are looking for good deals for classes, they also currently have a special for new students. They offer two weeks of unlimited yoga for $20. I will most definitely have to take them up on this offer! Sat Nam Yoga Chicago practices Kundalini Yoga. Kundalini yoga has a focus on the energy that is said to be “coiled up” inside of you. Yoga poses are done specifically to uncoil and release creative energies. I have had little experience with kundalini yoga, but I do know that it is very empowering and uplifting practice.
Pranayama is a breathing technique that has many benefits. The many benefits include, stress management, meditation, physical and mental energy and circulation through the body. There are plenty of reasons why one should do pranayama, even if they don’t practice yoga, but I feel the one reason you should at least try this breathing technique is to understand the change society has on the way you breathe. I know it sounds odd, but truly, we live in a world of flat stomachs and what are known as “chest breathers.” The appeal of a flat stomach in today’s society has conditioned us to breathe differently. We are bombarded with the idea that a flat stomach is good looking which has taught many of us (including myself) to hold in our stomachs, even if it is unknowingly. Take a mental note of how your body is right now. Are you holding in your stomach? Breathes more short and fast? Do you feel your chest puff up when you breathe or do you feel your stomach completely expand? These are great questions to find out what kind of breather you are. Majority of us breathe through the top part of our chest. To tell the difference from natural breath and chest breathing, take note of how a baby breathes. You will notice how their entire tummy expands as they inhale. They are taking in a full, deep breathe that truly expands the diaphragm. Pranayama can help you practice this way of breathing.
Ganesha Yoga and Adventures celebrated its grand opening two weeks ago on October 6th and since then they have hit the ground running. What makes this place so special is the message Mindy and Jane transcend through their studio. Ganesha yoga and adventures is truly a judgment free zone. From the instructors, all the way down to the décor, this place feels like home. The bright colored walls smile back at you upon entry. All throughout the studio there is a happy energy that exuberates from each corner. For anyone looking to practice without intimidation, Ganesha provides just that. Upon my visit to the grand opening I uncovered more than just the beautifully decorated rooms, I made connections. I would say the grand opening was just the start of Ganesha success. Many people came to support and discover the studio. Mini classes were held for people to get involved right away. The amount of participants and smiles in the classes defined why Ganesha was a place to feel comfortable in your own skin. More importantly, the instructors are amazing individuals. I was able to have many conversations with a lot of the teachers at Ganesha. Each instructor I spoke with had a very unique story. The amount of insight they have for yoga and fitness is extraordinary. Mindy and Jane did a spectacular job with brining people who shared the same values as Ganesha. I asked Mindy during the grand opening how she found so many awesome instructors, and she explained she felt “They found us.” The intimidation factor of fitness and yoga can be thrown out when you step into Ganesha. They provide a huge variety of classes for literally EVERYONE. When I say everyone, I mean it. Not only is each instructor unique, so are the classes. Men, there IS a place for you at Ganesha. They offer stiff guy yoga specifically geared towards men and there are some wonderful down to earth male instructors that teach other classes as well. Ganesha Yoga and Adventures, offer yoga for adolescents, absolute beginners of any age, mommy and baby, teenagers, advanced yoga and even non yoga related fitness such as, Bollywood, zumba and other dance/fitness classes for anyone in-between!
In the beginning of my journey to find insight into the Chicago yoga scene, I met a very special instructor named Tania Hughes. Since attending Tania’s class, we have collaborated in order to promote her yoga workshops. With the help of my boyfriend, we put together a flyer. I also helped her put together a Facebook page. I also would like to encourage all of my readers to like her page on Facebook and attend her upcoming workshops. This month “Find your inner alchemy” with Tania Hughes’ Yin Yoga Workshop. It will be located at Urban Lotus Yoga 1:30pm-3:330pm on October 21st 2012. Many of you might wonder, what is yin yoga? Yin yoga includes more passive poses that target connective tissues, bones and ligaments. It opens up passages in the body that tend to be worn down by daily postures and motions such as sitting in a desk for work. Yin yoga is different from something like vinyasa where there is a constant flow of poses. In order for the body to benefit more through yin poses, each poses is held for a longer period of time. Here is a video that provides a more in depth explanation of what yin yoga is.
Spine-health.com has an article all about the health benefits of yoga for the spine. Author Karen P. Barr, MD, states that “studies have shown that those who practice yoga for as little as twice a week for 8 weeks make significant gains in strength, flexibility, and endurance, which is a basic goal of most rehabilitation programs for back pain or neck pain.”(2003) You can check out the rest of the article here : Yoga for Back Problems
The video above gives a great step by step instruction on how to bend into a seated spinal twist. A twist provides relief in the spine that a regular backrub might not accomplish.
A wonderful discovery has been made through my journey in finding yoga throughout Chicago. As a young yogini, in my first year of discovering yoga I had been inspired by a teacher who taught hatha yoga at my community college. Hatha yoga has always been my calling, but it is difficult to find in a fitness hungry world. This teacher in particular offered something I had never experienced before. Yoga is something I believe to be a personal practice. Although you are in a classroom with other yogis, it is solely up to you and how you want to take your journey. This instructor helped my journey by showing me a more mindful meditative state. Instead of running through poses erratically and working up a sweat, our class would practice our breathe, slowly move from position to position while she informed us on each and every limb, bone and intestine the pose aided. Hatha and vinyasa yoga are the forms I prefer because it allows one’s self to become aware of your body and mind. This instructor inspired me so much that even though I needed to attend her session for a college credit, after the semester was over I continued my journey into what it is now.
Ever since that time in my life where I figure out exactly what kind of yoga I was inspired by and sought to practice, I have been searching for classes similar to my beginning experience. Finally, years later through all the fitness driven classes I have attended that advertise themselves as hatha yoga, have I found a place that brought me back to the good ole days of my beginning practice. Urban Lotus Yoga studio is somewhere I will continue to visit because I enjoy the atmosphere and the instructor of the class incredible. I was able to speak to Tania before our class session and was pleasantly surprised to hear about her views on yoga and even on society. Although she felt she used the phrase ‘forward leaning society” excessively I felt it was fitting and completely explained why people need more yoga in their lives because regular exercise just doesn’t cut it. We talked about how people tend to follow a cycle of doing things we are essentially told we are supposed to do. The fast track pace of the city gets people sucked up into routine rather than a journey. Tania has an extensive understanding of how the body works, and I would defiantly recommend taking a first ever class with her because of the great detail she goes into for each pose. I won’t go into extreme detail of Tania’s background here because my previous entry does a wonderful job at introducing her, but what I will say is this: Tania was a breath of fresh air, not only did I enjoy the class she conducted but I enjoyed sharing a common love for yoga. If you really want to learn and understand yoga in its rawest form go to her class!