Free workouts Archives
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Fall is just around the corner and what a better way to kick it off with a little healthy competition? For the first two weeks of September, Lululemon and Equinox, my recent pick for best Chicago gym for yoga, team up to challenge you to Get Winded in the Windy City. Stop in to your local Lululemon store to get a class punch card, take 10 classes from September 1-14 at either Lululemon or Equinox and if you complete or exceed the challenge, you get the (underrated) gift of health and self-satisfaction. All classes, even those at Equinox, are complimentary and while I don't think there's a big shopping spree grand prize, the better mood, slimmer body and boosted esteem that comes from working out sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me.
You must register for the challenge, so be sure to RSVP to your local Lululemon store to participate.
I've got it on good word from Paul Konrad that this Saturday is going to be nice and summery, so this week's free workout is going outside!
Moksha- The liberation from the cycle of death and reincarnation. A release from suffering and worldly existence. A realization of bliss and true self.
Moksha wasn't Chicago's first yoga studio, but it has developed into the epicenter of the city's yoga community. Over the past 10 years, Moksha has become the go-to place for great classes, workshops led by local and world-renowned teachers and a tightly knit community. My first community class, first shoulderstand and first memory of experiencing a truly energetic yoga high all took place at Moksha and I always recommend the studio to people interested in trying yoga because I know they'll get an authentic experience here.
Ten years in business for an independently-owned yoga studio is no small feat and owner Daren Friesen and studio manager Ashley Bush (both in the video below) have put together an entire day of free classes, demonstrations, lectures, a dinner and a party to celebrate.
This is definitely one of the highlights of the year for the yoga community, and, like the website says, regulars, old friends, new friends are all encouraged to come.
Contact your workout buddies and fitness friends and tell them to cancel their plans on Saturday. With all the free, fun and healthy activities going on, you won't have time for (nor will you want to do) anything else.
After running my first 5K this spring, I can safely say that I'm not a runner. But I do know that yoga is a great complement for keeping the overworked leg and core muscles of running enthusiasts loose and injury-free.
On Tuesday evening, get into the cross-training yoga and running world for Self-Centered Yoga's Running Group.
This Roscoe Village studio kicks off the night at 6 p.m. with a free yoga core class and then everyone takes off for a run at 6:15.
Runners of all levels are welcome, as well as leashed dogs and even speedy strollers. Attend regularly and you may receive freebies and class discounts.
Self-Centered Yoga is located at 2201 W. Belmont. Visit their website to sign up for more information and to sign up for the class.
This week's free class pick is an old standby: the Sunday afternoon community class at Nature Yoga.
Located in the heart of Wicker Park at Division and Damen, this week's instructor is AJ, a new instructor at Nature who teaches a hatha vinyasa style class (I took a class with him at Crunch last week and really enjoyed his laidback, lighthearted teaching style).
I love this vibrant and friendly studio and so do plenty of others, so if you plan on attending, get there at least 15 minutes early to secure a spot.
If you can't make the free Sunday afternoon class, which starts at 3:30, Nature also offers donation and discounted rate classes throughout the week.
Nature Yoga is located at 2021 W. Division St.
A few months ago, a pregnant friend asked me for a good prenatal yoga class recommendation and I immediately told her to head to Bloom Yoga Studio in Lincoln Square.
Bloom has Mom & Baby and Prenatal Yoga classes almost every day of the week; hosts a free monthly homebirth meet-up group and offers a slew of workshops for expectant parents.
Starting on July 8, there's a three-week Yoga for Pregnancy class that teaches poses to help relieve tension in the body, strengthen the spine and release the hips and pelvis in preparation for birth.
On July 12 there's an Infant CPR and First Aid class and on July 16 there's a Breastfeeding Basics workshops for couples.
Bloom also offers doula referrals, family yoga, kids yoga classes and so much more.
I've attended their unique Midnight Yoga class (discontinued until the fall) and would likely be a regular if I lived closer. Bloom is bright, clean and very welcoming and I often recommend it to people who live in or near Lincoln Square because in addition to all their family-friendly offerings, there's a full schedule of hatha-based classes and workshops, including an upcoming exploration on the sun salutations on July 18.
Visit their website for more information on classes and special events and mark your calendar for their free Intro to Yoga class on July 11 at 2 p.m.
About seven close family members rolled into town this weekend, and while I've had so much fun with them, I haven't had much time for my daily workouts and yoga practice.
By Saturday morning, I was desperately missing yoga, so I finally decided to check out YogaDownload.com.
Since I love to run around town checking out new studios, trying different classes and of course, going to my weekly favorites, I rarely find the time for a home practice, but YogaDownload makes it so easy.
The site is full of audio class downloads for a variety of styles and levels. I find myself easily distracted by videos and as I've experienced in bikram, listening to the instructor instead of watching others, really engages your mind and makes you more aware of sensations in your body. Do your hips feel level? Is your back as flat as it could be? By listening, you learn to feel the pose, which is crucial to a well-balanced practice.
YogaDownload also has a pose guide for each video (including printable guides) and they've got a yoga info section, which makes them a great site for people who've always wanted to try yoga but were too embarrassed to take a group class.
Downloads range in price from $2.95 for 20 minutes up to about $6.95 for 90 minute classes or you can opt for a monthly membership for either $9.95 (6 downloads a month) or $19.95 (unlimited downloads). But before you grumble about having to pay for classes, you should know that a portion of proceeds is given to two different charities and YogaDownload offers free classes to members of the armed forces.
I opted for a free level 2 Power Yoga class that was a perfect way to help me wake up, energize and prepare to hit the town with my family.
Now that I've checked out YogaDownload, I'll definitely be downloading classes whenever I'm pressed for time, traveling or just in the mood for a quick pick me up.
This week's free class of the week is for the early birds. Fellow ChicagoNow blogger, the Local Tourist posted about the free workouts on the Great Lawn in Millennium Park weeks ago and now that the weather isn't as rainy, I second that notion.
Classes start at 7 with Tai Chi, then it's on to Yoga at 8, Pilates at 9 and the workouts come to a close with a high energy Body Combat/Body Jam class at 10 a.m (in July it switches to capoeira with Gingarte Chicago).
I don't get to Millennium Park enough, but when I do, I'm always so proud to have this beautiful park in Chicago. Now that there's a three-hour block of mind body fitness classes, I like it even more.
Colorado-based Core Power Yoga, which landed in Chicago's South Loop less than a year ago, offers a signature hot yoga class that I'd describe as Bikram meets vinyasa flow with a section of core work thrown in for good measure. It provides a detoxifying, invigorating sweat (the room is heated to 98 degrees) with the freedom and movement of power yoga that's challenging yet completely addictive.
Their signature class is definitely more suited for experienced yogis, but newbies will still get a challenge in the level one variation that isn't heated. There's also Hot Power Fusion (similar to a traditional Bikram class), Yoga Pilates and Yoga Sculpt, a full body workout blend of weight training and power yoga.
All new students get a free week of classes, which gives you the opportunity to try out all their unique class offerings, peruse their yoga boutique and get to practice yoga while enjoying a great view of the South Loop and the Sears Tower.
If you've already done the free week, this Friday, June 19th they're offering a free Sculpt Fusion class from 6:30-7:30 p.m. From the description on the website, it sounds like this class is similar to Yoga Sculpt, but with more of a focus on hip and shoulder opening yoga poses in between toning sessions.
This is a new offering for the Chicago location, so I'm excited to see what it's all about. Plus, I can't think of a better way to get the weekend started than by sweating away the stress of the week in this class.
As an added perk, Core Power has clean locker rooms, showers, hair dryer and other amenities, so you can get your workout in, clean up and still have plenty of time to meet your friends out for dinner or a night on the town.
If you can, bring your own towels (one for soaking up your sweat and another for the shower) and mat and save on the $1 rental fee for each.
Core Power Yoga is located at 555 W. Roosevelt Rd. in the South Loop. Visit their website for a class schedule and more info.
Many of my friends are young artists and professionals who can't afford a gym or yoga studio membership, so I'm always on the look out for free and cheap ways for them to stay active and healthy. Thankfully, Chicago's got plenty of fun fitness freebies for all of us, regardless of age or profession.
My free class pick of the week is Lululemon Bucktown's Pilates & Stretch, a yoga and pilates fusion class with certified pilates instructor Lindsay Stryffeler at 8:15 p.m. on Thursday, June 11.
Lindsay is a Lululemon ambassador, a local fitness profession who "embodies the Lululemon lifestyle and culture."
I mentioned in a previous post that all Chicago-area Lululemon locations host weekly free classes and workshops and I can't recommend these workouts enough. The store provides mats, there's no pressure to buy anything (although I usually find it hard not to) and no one will give you the side-eye if you show up wearing something that isn't from the store.
If Thursdays don't work for you, the Bucktown store also has a weekly Sunday morning yoga class.
Being a bike-less commuter, it's kind of a pain for me to get to the Bar Method studio in Lakeview, so I was literally the first participant through the door for Lululemon Bucktown's free preview class of the Dailey Method last night.
Although I did feel a little nerdy for showing up so early, apparently I'm not the only one who swears by these workouts, because the store quickly got packed.
Like its Lakeview rival, the Dailey Method is a combination of ballet moves, serious core work, toning and stretching, which results in a completely kick ass booty lifting, thigh slimming, tummy tightening workout.
I go to a similar class at Crunch on Wednesday evening (Barre Assets) religiously and it never gets easier, but the results are worth it. I love that my backside is rounding out in all the right ways!
The opening date for the Dailey Method keeps getting pushed back, but the studio is hoping to open in mid-June. You can believe that as soon as they're up and running, I'll be posting a review!
Oh, and in case you're looking for awesome ways to get fit on the cheap, all of the Lululemon locations in Chicago offer free mid-week workouts in addition to a free weekly yoga class. Consider it their way of sayings "thanks" for dropping up to $100 on a pair of (well-worth it) yoga pants.
The Dailey Method is located at 1714 N Damen, above the Marc Jacobs store.