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Comfortable, stylish, unique and functional yoga clothes that don't break the bank can be yours in just a few simple clicks thanks to Beebliss.com.
Based in San Francisco, Beebliss is a new online yoga apparel shop for men and women. Owner and yoga instructor Kathleen Shannon started Beebliss to not only offer great workout apparel, but to also inspire change in the world.
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One of my favorite blogs, Elephant Journal, posted these American Apparel yoga collection pics earlier this week. I couldn't (and still can't) tell if the joke is on them or on us. As Elephant Journal points out, "If you're going to model yoga, at least know how to do it. This young lady's alignment is gonna send her to the hospital before long--that is, if she practiced yoga, ever, which she clearly. Does. Not."
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I've made the decision. This season I'm going to live in my yoga and workout apparel. I practically do anyway, but after seeing all the great styles, colors and fabrics from the lululemon athletica and breath, body & balance function show, I'm convinced I don't really need to wear much else.
My poor natural rubber and jute yoga mat has seen better days. For the past few months, I leave a trail of rubber bits and pieces at every studio I've set foot in because my mat is literally falling apart. It's gotten so bad that it nearly ruined my favorite pair of Lululemon Wunder Under tights. The rubber embeds in the fabric and is nearly impossible to get out, so it must go.
My new mat must be green, pretty thick and durable. It must stand up to a variety of styles and it can't be too heavy or thick to cart around on the bus. I also wouldn't mind if it came in a cool color.
On Thursday, September 24, the ChicagoNow bloggers take over the 900 North Shops for our first ever Blogapalooza. I'm teaming up with lululemon athletica for a Function Show, an informal fashion show featuring their cute, fun and functional apparel for yoga, running and the gym. Argo will be providing delicious tea samples and I'll be answering all your mind body fitness questions and passing out gift bags filled with class passes to some of the hottest new studios in the area.
Stop by and see me! I love meeting new people, getting feedback about the blog, finding out what readers want to see covered and as evident in previous posts, talking about lululemon!
Blogapalooza takes place at the 900 Shops at 900 North Michigan Ave. from 5-7 p.m. on Thursday, September 24.
Yoga should be affordable and accessible to all, which is why I was thrilled when Yogaview opened up a donation-only studio in Wicker Park. Since late May, dedicated yoga students and those new to yoga have had the opportunity to explore the healthy benefits of a regular practice led by inspiring teachers.
Fans of yoga and Jay-Z (yes, they do exist) will surely get a kick out of this: apparently, Hova is getting into yoga. According to one of my favorite blogs, Yoga Dork, a song from Jay-Z's new Blueprint 3 album was leaked and this is what he says in response to haters calling him a poser.
"Poser? No Sir/ My Hustle So Russell/I stretch work/yoga/you know I got it down dog."
There was an actual sound clip of the song floating around on the internet, but you know Jay-Z's people got word of it and shut that down. Oh well. You'll just have to snag a copy of Blueprint 3 to check it out. Either way, kudos to the king of the hip hop vegan yoga world, Russell Simmons, for turning Jay-Z on to yoga!
If you're braving
Look around you. There's health and wellness all over Chicago. Sure, the bars, hot dog and deep dish pizza restaurants may get in your view, but keep looking and you'll likely find a studio (or a sign for a soon-to-open studio) just down the block.
Here are just a few yoga shots from around Chicago. Thanks to Pam (the best camera phone photographer ever) and Rebecca for the photos.
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.
Most of the time, doing yoga and pilates at the gym
can be a drag. The loud clang of weights being tossed around and the booming
bass of high energy dance music doesn't support the kind of focus and energy
most people need to "go within" during mind body exercise.
Most of the time, doing yoga and pilates at the gym can be a drag. The loud clang of weights being tossed around and the booming bass of high energy dance music doesn't support the kind of focus and energy most people need to "go within" during mind body exercise.
Yoga is intimidating. The Sanskirt words don't help. The good news is, if you stick with yoga long enough, just like ujjayi breath and vinyasa, recognizing (and eventually understanding) Sanskrit words becomes second nature. Heck, you might even find yourself sliding back into downward dog faster than your teacher can say "Adho Mukha Svanasana." Until then, fake it 'til you make it with this basic Yoga Dictionary from Women's Health.
In case you missed it, I had the opportunity to be interviewed by Dean Richards on the WGN Morning News on Friday. This was a dream come true, as I watch WGN news every day and love Robin and Ana more than you'll ever know!
It's time for yoga instructor Wade Gotwals' annual party for charity, where he gathers up the community for a sunset yoga class and outdoor party to benefit a great cause.
Last year's Yoga for Charity class.
As far as I'm concerned, we're in the peak of Chicago's running season and it doesn't end until that first serious snow hits the ground. If you love hitting the pavement (or the treadmill) and want to be able to do so for years to come, a combination of yoga and bodywork is a must to keep your body healthy and injury-free.
Imagine having the opportunity to transform yourself in seven days with an unlimited amount of unique tummy-toning, booty-lifting and leg-slimming classes; top of the line spa treatments with earth conscious products and a discount on fancy products like high-end Japanese skincare and jewelry.
Sounds like something only those living the lifestyles of the rich and famous get to enjoy, right?
It's normal to be pretty hungry after a vigorous yoga class, but are you more likely to go for a double cheeseburger or a filling salad? If you said the latter, there's a reason for that.
Weirdo Hippie Yoga Farmer is the latest viral video from everythingisterrible.com. Farmer Yogi Ogi Dogi gets much respect for possibly being the most limber agriculturalist in North America, but some of those hugs are suspect.
Honestly, I bet this video is kind of cute without the hilarious editing. A friend who taught kids yoga would mention things like having the kids slay dragons, so it all makes sense now.
Rasta Rooster...I have no words for.
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.
It's my yoga birthday! This time last year I decided to start a regular yoga practice again. No more community classes here or the occasional power yoga class at the gym. I needed to return to that structure, focus and mindfulness that I had so easily lost. Since making the commitment, I've seen a staggering amount of positive changes in my life and I know yoga played a huge part in getting me to where I am.
We have a problem. Your recent article, "Iron Maiden," which claims that when compared to "faddish" yoga and pilates, weight training is the most affordable and quickest way to change your body, isn't entirely true.
Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, the guru of Ashtanga yoga once famously said, "Ashtanga yoga is for all people, old people, young people, fat people, skinny people...the only people who cannot practice are lazy people."
Well, from the looks of these pics, discovered by a ChicagoNow editor on Twitter, even lazy, unconscious drunk dudes can do yoga! So, if you've never tried, what's your excuse?
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.
I love the detoxifying, deep sweat of hot yoga classes like Core Power and Bikram, but unfortunately, my poor Eco Rubber yoga mat does not. Realizing my mat was in need of a serious cleaning, I searched online and at studios for the best, eco-friendly way to de-germ my mat and found the answer in local, green company Stirlen Chi.
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.
For my birthday, I like to celebrate in a fun and healthy way; no bottle service at a club or gorging at a restaurant. Two years ago it was an epic game of laser tag, last year I got together with some girlfriends for a hoopjam in the park and this year, it was antigravity yoga.
Part yoga and part aerial performance, antigravity yoga made it's way to Crunch Fitness Chicago over the fall. I'm a member at Crunch, so I've been talking about this class since it started. Most of my friends were interested, but because I can only bring in a guest a month, it was hard to coordinate a time with each one to come check it out. When I noticed a sign for private group classes, I knew I had the perfect idea for a birthday celebration.
Antigravity yoga really allows you to be fun, free and weightless and it makes going into inversions (something that always scares me a little in my practice) super easy.
Some of my friends got the hang of the "yoga wings" faster than others, but everyone seemed to really enjoy it (and no one complained about the fact that it's actually a pretty tough core and upper body workout)!
Oh, and I can't bring up antigravity yoga without including this hilarious clip from The View.
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.
A good friend and fellow yoga enthusiast came over the other night and told me I just had to watch the video below. It's from the US Pole Dance Federation Championship and it's absolutely amazing. Never again will I associate a shiny metal pole with Jerry Springer, trashy strippers, cheesy Carmen Electra cardio strip tease videos and baby mama drama. These women are fit, graceful and strong and they make working the pole look fluid and easy! The entire 3:25 video is great, but if you're impatient, it gets fierce around the 1:25 mark.
Your core has to be incredibly strong to pull off these jaw-dropping moves and to do it in 6" lucite heels is no small feat! The winner, Jenyne Butterfly, obviously practices yoga, because I spot at least 3 poses in her routine, including Bow and One-Legged Wheel. My friend and I whooped and hollered through the whole thing and now we're both thinking of trying out a pole dance class at Flirty Girl Fitness or S-Factor Chicago.
Now I see the difference between modern pole dancing and dirty stripper routines, although I'm still not sure these dancers should be performing for high school students.