Chicago Yoga Staycation

I recently went on the most wonderful trip to the Sierras. Mountains are so beautiful! I hiked 5 days in a row, swam in a mountain lake, and tented near a babbling stream. On the way home I stayed in LA for a night and got myself up for a morning class at one of my favorite studios, YogaWorks.

Yah …. that one …. 

After class (yes, I did go to the Urth Cafe) I spent a few hours wondering HOW exactly I could move to Santa Monica and just practice yoga all the live long day. Then I remembered that I live in Chicago and there is some amazing yoga right here! For inspiration – here is my ideal Chicago Yoga Staycation Retreat. I hope you have a chance to try at least a few of these classes. And let me know what classes you would add!

(My classes are not included in this list. You can check out my schedule here

My ideal Chicago Yoga Staycation would start with a class that’s been on my to-do list for months – Lourdes Paredes’ Sunday 9:30am Advanced Vinyasa class at Namaskar at Southport and Irving Park. I took one class with Lourdes almost 3 years ago (yes, seriously), and remember loving it. Somehow life always gets in the way on Sunday mornings, but in my fantasy yoga staycation world I make it to yoga at 9:30am and then head to Tweet for brunch!

On Monday, I suggest heading to Lindsey Levin Labkon’s 6pm class at the Lincoln Park Yogaview location. Lindsey has an amazing talent for creating classes that are equal parts self-care and physical exertion – and by that I mean I can hardly bike home after class because my thighs are so tired and happy and yet she creates a very safe space for rest, restoration, and doing what’s right for your body. She also sprinkles gems of wisdom throughout the class just when you need them. “Falling is the same as not falling.” “How can you cultivate equanimity and calm, even when you’re falling all over the place?” “We’re all here together, but this is YOUR practice.” Good points! Great class.

Bhakti White’s 5:45pm Level 2-3 Shambhava Yoga at Chi-Town Shakti on Tuesday is really something special. I first took Bhakti’s class at a friend’s urging and felt immediately at home when I stepped in the intimate studio in Rogers Park. Bhakti has been practicing yoga for more than 25 years and she has a way of stitching together philosophy, alignment cues, and just the right encouragement to help students feel challenged and supported in finding their own expression in every moment.

The talented and fabulous Dorie Silverman teaches at Bloom in Lincoln Square Wednesdays at 6pm. Dorie was one of my first teachers in Chicago and I continue to go to her classes for the challenge, for the inspiration and unique sequencing, and for the jokes. Her tone is 100% authentic and natural and there’s a good chance she’ll talk about your foot and your elbow being in love, or small furry armpit animals, or both.

By Thursday you definitely deserve some rest. Head to Rachel Duerkop’s 8pm Yin Yoga class at Tula in Logan Square. Rachel has been practicing yoga since the early 1990s. She has explored yoga from vigorous to relaxing to therapeutic and has also studied studied The Alexander Technique and Thai yoga massage. And as she says in her bio – she never skimps on savasana.

Get ready for the weekend with a sweaty class at Yogaview’s Lincoln Park location with Rich Gonshak on Friday  at 6pm. Expect arm balances, inversions, and lots of backbends. Rich’s classes are vigorous (sometimes very vigorous) and fun. Off the top of my head I can think of at least 4 postures I probably never would have tried if Rich hadn’t encouraged me to just (safely) do it! He also tends to play funky music you can groove to.

On Saturday, head back to the Lincoln Park Yogaview one last time for a class that should not be missed – AJ Durand at 4pm. My ideal yoga teacher takes the practice very seriously and themselves somewhat . . . unseriously. That’s AJ. I always always always learn something new in AJ’s class. He taught me to use props (including the wall) in my personal practice, which has opened up a whole new world to me! His style is thoughtful yet playful. As for personality . . . let’s put it this way—not only do I laugh at AJ’s lighter moments in class, they sometimes make me chuckle again on my bike ride home.

Hope to see you in these classes soon!

About susan virginia yoga

Grassroots Organizing Director for UltraViolet (www.weareultraviolet.org) by day, yoga guide, dance partier, and red lentil soup connoisseur by night. Well. Evening. By night, I'm usually asleep.
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