Is Summer Solstice already upon us in less than three weeks? Wow! This means it´s time to slip on your flip flops and chicest pair of sunnies and lather up in SPF (chemically-free and organic, of course!) because it’s Summer Vacation! With your yoga mat in hand and the sun shining bright, this seven-part series is dedicated to my favorite cities around the globe and their amazing wellness offerings. It´s my hope that you will have time to explore one or more of these beautiful places, or perhaps, these suggestions will simply serve as inspiration for you to create your very own holiday in a special place with a windy breeze around palm trees. First stop: ORD (Chicago). Home Sweet Home!
With my ticket in hand and passport close by, I´ll be boarding a shiny AA747 bound for Chicago in 1 week! I haven’t left Ecuador in over 6 months, and now is the perfect time to visit home because Chicago summers are the best! Here in Ecuador the climate is essentially the same year round compared to most Midwestern cities that are graced with four super distinct seasons. Despite following my own immune-boosting recommendations by taking regular dose of Chinese herbs, etc. the cool, damp climate here in Quito has had me sniffling way more than normal. Needless to say, I´m craving the humidity of the lake-front bike path and a super steamy yoga class at my favorite Bikram Studio in the South Loop. Even if you´re just visiting my ¨sweet home Chicago¨ for the weekend, be sure to tick a few of these suggested wellness places, spaces and activities off your list. See you round!
1. Turbodog Yoga 800 West Huron
I practiced with Steve and Talya for two years while completing my undergraduate degree and his dynamic duo trained me to open my mind, body and spirit in new ways as a young woman stepping out into the wild and crazy ¨real world.¨ I felt awake, alive and buzzing with energy and profound emotion while tapping into new areas of my life after each class. They invite their students to dig deep and to feel, explore, surrender, and enjoy.
¨Steve Emmerman & Talya Ring, two of the most senior teachers in the Midwest, offer this compelling curriculum for rapid, lasting change in their students. In creating Turbodog Yoga, Steve and Talya have skillfully combined the power of vigorous yoga asana with the power of indigenous ceremony and ritual, an exciting and rewarding technique that helps students recognize and then reorganize the conditioned internal programming that has held them back.
Rather than being blindly governed by habitual beliefs and behaviors, Steve & Talya guide students back to a place of choice. Whether it’s finding freedom from self-limitation by being safely guided through yoga poses they never thought they could do; building confidence by learning to courageously feel and embrace the full spectrum of emotions including pleasure; or by energetically rewiring a particular pattern formed as a response to a past wound; students grow into the people they most want to become.
Woven into the practice are teachings from the Toltec lineage, Blackfoot Medicine, and other shamanic and energy work. The sequencing has its roots in Forrest Yoga, a style created to specifically address the physical and emotional needs of Western peoples. The asana draws on the teachings of Robert Boustany and his rich understanding of human physiology and how to open energetic blockages for greater strength, flexibility and overall health. The process is exciting, the revelations are profound and the changes are tangible.¨
Wicker Park – 1344 North Milwaukee Avenue
Lincoln Park – 2736A North Clark Street
South Loop – 47 West Polk
Take your pick: Lincoln Park, South Loop, or Wicker Park. No matter where you are in the city, 105f is your go-to studio for Bikram Yoga. 105f is Chicago’s original hot yoga, independently owned and operated since we opened in 2001! Each studio has a wide variety of yoga clothes, mats and accessories available for purchase as well as a fully stocked beverage cooler to rehydrate post-sweat session. The Lincoln Park and South Loop studios have lovely locker rooms with showers, and while the Wicker Park studio does not have shower facilities, it has a lofty vibe with a lounge area to cool down after class before you head home to shower. Each studio also recently began offering SMART 60 a hot yoga happy hour. ¨Students will move through the traditional series of 26 postures and two breathing exercises at a heart-pounding clip over an hour. The SMART 60 class is perfect for skilled and seasoned students looking to supplement their regular classes.¨
I began practicing at 105f in 2003 and always return to practice when I´m in town — sometimes even hightailing it straight to one of the studios directly from the airport to help reduce jet lag!
3. Indigo Fitness Studio 735 North LaSalle Street
Indigo studio is a multi-purpose fitness studio with a variety of classes that incorporate dance, cardio, yoga, and sculpting. Give Yoga Booty Ballet, Bootcamp Ballerina or Body Pump a try, but based upon personal experience, hands-down, I suggest you put on your sneakers and bra top and get ready to dance your heart out in one of Sue´s or Cristina´s Zumba classes. They will get you moving and shaking like you´re livin´la vida loca in South America!
4. Karyn´s Raw and Inner Beauty Center 1901 North Halsted Street
Karyn´s, founded by the beautiful Karyn Calabrese (who is nearly 70 years old but doesn´t look a day over 50!) offers monthly detoxes, weekly food packages, yoga, colon hydrotherapy and a juice bar menu that features soft serve ¨ice cream¨. I´ve been a loyal customer of both the cafe and Inner Beauty Center since 2006 and consider Karyn´s to be a one-stop shop for raw food and holistic healing. Some of my personal faves are their Energy Soup (based upon Ann Wigmore´s famous recipe) or the Raw Cacao Superfood Smoothie, a decadent blend of Nut milk, raw cacao powder, coconut butter, spirulina, maca. However, if you´re ready for a little R&R and self care, just head to the Inner Beauty Center for an organic manicure, oxygen bath — just two of the services on their extensive menu. Enjoy the wait before your treatment on their comfy sofa while listening to zen music and wind chimes.
*If you are looking for a more formal dining options, head across town to either Karyn´s Cooked or Karyn´s on Green, two of Ms. Calabrese´s other establishments that cater to vegetarian, vegan, and raw food enthusiasts.
Explore the City Some More:
Where to next — New York, London, Bogota, Los Angeles, Miami or Munich?1