Bend it Chicago: 22 Great Yoga Studios in the Windy City
It seems there are as many yoga studios in Chicago as there are good reasons to practice the discipline, with its emphasis on mindful stretching and breathing. Stress relief is an oft-touted benefit, and practitioners also point out that the series of asanas (physical postures) not only increase flexibility and strength but also help to detoxify the body and promote good digestion.
To get the most out of yoga — whether you’re in it just to sculpt muscle and sweat toxins or are looking for mind/body balance and a spiritual connection to the inner core of beingness — you might have to try a few different studios or instructors.
We’ve compiled a list of 22 Chicagoland yoga studios for you to visit. Most have a “try before you buy” new-student commitment-free offer of as many classes as you want to take (for a week or a month) for a set fee. Namaste!
Studio owner Maile Wicklander says she built the yoga studio she wanted to go to. Located in the neighborhood she calls home, Logan Square, Tula encompasses her belief that yoga should never be intimidating, and that the welcoming spirit of the place is as important as the yoga itself.
Founded in 2002 by entrepreneur Trevor Tice, this national yoga chain teaches only CorePower Yoga, which blends power yoga with Bikram (hot) yoga and Ashtanga yoga. With more than 200 studios across the country (at last count), there are at least 25 in Chicago, from Arlington Heights to Lakeview, and Naperville to West Loop.
The Roscoe Village studio has the highest rating on Yelp, with 96% of people giving it 4 or 5 stars, so we’ve chosen to highlight it here. Most people talk about the cleanliness of the studio as well as its “stronger emphasis on the meditative quality,” with one reviewer saying her session was “a full 60 minutes of true zen out time.”
Located in the Gold Coast, Exhale is a global brand that started a decade ago with a stated vision to offer a “modern space in urban markets for guests to experience transformational spa, fitness, and wellbeing programs on a daily basis.” The Chicago studio includes a full schedule of Core Fusion and yoga classes.
Offering Bikram yoga in downtown Chicago in 90-minute classes, Bikram Yoga River North was named by Chicago Magazine as the “Best Hot Yoga Studio” in Chicago for 2013. The facility is one of the largest of its kind in the U.S. at 6,000 square feet, with the 105-degree hot room alone taking up more than one-third of that area. Beginners and advanced practitioners are welcome and are led by Bikram-certified yoga instructors.
With three Chicago studios (in River West, Lakeview and West Bucktown), you can experience yoga imparted in a “spirit of healing, love, transformation and service” at a location near you. There are intro classes for those who have never practiced yoga before or for regular practitioners looking to brush up on their fundamentals as well as a number of teacher training programs.
Yogaview has two studios (in Lincoln Park and in Wilmette). They see yoga as an individual endeavor and offer non-dogmatic instructors who teach primarily Vinyasa yoga. There are introductory classes for beginners as well as classes geared towards teachers and experienced practitioners. In addition, there are classes specifically for pregnant and postnatal women. Meditation is a fundamental part of each class.
This all-around West Town group fitness studio offers everything from Yogalates and restorative yoga to Vinyasa Core. Ranked #1 “Best Hybrid Yoga Studio” for 2013 in Chicago by Chicago Magazine, all levels of experience and fitness are welcome in every class.
How does 30 days of hot yoga for $39 sound? First-timers can experience a month of classic 90-minute classes “calibrated for the stiffest beginners” that take place in 105-degree rooms and run through the 26 postures and two breathing exercises that comprise Bikram yoga — and it’s said to make you feel fully human. Bikram Yoga Chicago has three locations: Wicker Park, Lincoln Park and the South Loop, with classes throughout the day starting at 6 a.m.
You may know this studio as Chicago School of Hot Yoga, the name it was founded under in 2010. Located in Lincoln Park, a full array of classes is offered, including an invigorating detox, a core-strengthening class through flows and positions, and a body sculpt class with weights. There’s an advancement program, as well, with yoga styles that include Hatha, Ashtanga and Vinyasa.
Voted “Best Yoga Studio” in Chicago 5 years in a row in the Chicago Reader voter’s poll as well as the “Best Prenatal Yoga Studio” in Chicago for 2013, this family-owned business run by husband-and-wife team Kerry and Zach Maiorca, both Chicago area natives, is blooming! With its non-competitive environment, all shapes, sizes and ages are welcome, including expectant mothers and families with kids of all ages. Take a look the free outdoor yoga classes offered throughout the summer.
Located in west Lakeview, this studio is inside a turn-of-the-century warehouse. It is a family affair, run by Beth Range Kiely and Terry Kiely with a team of teachers that includes Beth’s younger sister, Annie. Named in memory of the girls’ father, Charlie Range, Om on the Range is designed to be a welcoming and empowering place for anyone wishing to explore yoga.
New students to this Gold Coast studio can get started by trying out all the Yoga Now classes for a month for $49. And there are a lot of classes! From Yoga Basics and Yoga 101 to various levels of Vinyasa, restorative, forrest and Ashtanga yoga, you’re sure to find something that meets your needs. Workshops, massage and healing services are also offered.
Another Chicago Magazine top choice for 2013, Yoga Circle was selected as that year’s “Best Traditional Yoga Studio.” Located in Chicago’s River North, and founded by Gabriel Halpern nearly 30 years ago, Yoga Circle offers introductory classes as well as classes for experienced yogis, including a masterclass replicating what is taught at the Iyengar Yoga Institute in Pune, India. In fact, many of the teachers here have trained in India and are often able to help students with injuries.
In a 1500-sq.-ft. studio on Chicago’s Near North side, The Chicago Yoga Center has been teaching Hatha, Vinyasa, Ashtanga and Yin yoga since 1984. Director Suddha Weixler, who began studying yoga in 1978 on his first visit to India, is a direct disciple of Swami Narayanananda and holds workshops, retreats and an annual Yoga Teachers Training Course. Drop-ins are welcome, and there is no charge for the weekly community class.
Calling itself “A Warm-Hearted Neighborhood Yoga Studio,” Namaskar is located in Lakeview and offers a new student special of two weeks of yoga for $30. Workshops include those on pain relief, detox and restorative yoga, with classes ranges from the basics to advanced flow and Yin yoga (a meditative class for deep release and relaxation).
A yoga and wellness community in River North, Yoga Loft offers Ashtanga, Vinyasa and Yin yoga classes as well as a Jivamukti Busy People Class in addition to overall fitness, cardiovascular conditioning and endurance training classes. From nutritional counseling to personal training and health coaching, you’ll find it at the Fit Loft Studio, where new students can try unlimited classes for two weeks for $35.
With modern yoga its focus, this Bucktown workout facility (which offers its first week free) has classes as varied as Hot Yoga Barre (moderately heated flow with light weights and short, low-impact cardio bursts) and Zen Vinyasa 2 (moderately heated Vinyasa flow with challenging poses, including arm balances and inversions). Besides powerful workouts, Zen Yoga promotes detoxification, cleansing and rejuvenation, with the ultimate goal being overall wellness.
Prairie Yoga in Lisle isn’t just an institute for yoga teacher training certification (so good that it’s been called the “Yale of Yoga”); it also offers studio classes led by some of the most highly-trained and experienced faculty in the Chicago area, most of whom are 500-hour certified. Whether you’re new to yoga, have an injury or are a yoga teacher looking for instruction in advanced techniques, Prairie Yoga can likely help.
This new yoga studio opened in March 2014 in Chicago’s West Town neighborhood, and offers Vinyasa, power, Yin, restorative, beginner’s yoga, as well as various workshops and special events. Owner-operator Danielle Dickinson is a level one certified TRE (trauma and stress release) facilitator and is certified in Yoga Sculpt. She is currently working toward her certificate in Moksha Yoga’s 500-hour teacher training program. Students new to Yoga For All Beings can try one week for $20.
Located on W. 103rd Street, the Beverly Yoga Center has been offering studio classes and 200-hour teacher training for nearly a decade. Student classes include flow, gentle yoga, hot yoga, mindful yoga, restorative yoga and meditation, as well as classes for children of various ages. The center offers free community classes as well as a new-student 30-day special for $59.
26Hot, in its 1800-sq.-ft., 105-degree Glen Ellyn studio, offers Bikram yoga. Taught by certified instructors, all classes are 90 minutes and consist of 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises, with levels available from beginner to advanced welcome. All new students can take advantage of the one-month, $30 introductory special and are invited to attend as often as possible.
This husband-and-wife-owned studio was founded in 2008 on the North Side and offers yoga to newbies and experienced yogis alike. On his site, co-owner Bhakti White says: “Many yoga teachers and studios offer classes for newer students, but I find that a lot of them have lost touch with what it was like to be in that first class. Maybe never having stretched or exercised much, or never having encountered the philosophy and language of yoga. I am so proud that we really offer classes that meet our students where they are at and then challenge them in appropriate ways; whether they’re stepping into class for the first time or the five thousandth time!”