Inside a 2,000-square-foot room heated between 105 and 110 degrees, people twist their bodies into the 26 poses of Bikram yoga. Bikram Yoga River North's studio space is certainly necessary: it needs to accommodate yoga students of all experience levels all at once.
Though everyone performs the poses together, instructors—who were directly trained and certified by the yoga style's founder—help participants modify the poses to their ability. Each posture works a specific part of the body, and the heat encourages flexibility and prompts sweating, which can expel toxins.
Whether before or after class, all students are welcome to use the studio's complete changing room and private shower facilities, which are part of Bikram Yoga River North's other 4,000 square feet, along with a large lobby.
At over 90 locations throughout the country, CorePower Yoga (CPY) invites students to creative classes that meld movement, breath, heat, and music into entrancing routines to energize the body and mind. Signature CPY classes are taught by approachable certified yoga instructors who lead students through dynamic, Vinyasa-style flows with demonstration and verbal cues, helping pupils of all experience levels tone core muscles and cultivate balance. CPY also offers teacher training and lifestyle programs to empower students to become yoga instructors or to just advance their individual practice. During construction of all its new studios, CPY strives to use recycled content, install eco-friendly and efficient mechanical systems, and ensure that any waste created doesn't end up in landfills or just piled in Mr. Henderson's garage.
Founder Gulia Huertas first tried yoga while looking for way to maintain physical health as she recovered from a series of back injuries. What she discovered instead was a prolonged passion for the mind-body practice and its spiritual benefits, inspiring her to open her own studio and share its therapeutic effects with others. Catering largely to beginners, P.S. Yoga's hatha classes ease students into the practice using safe, slow-moving poses and a progressive approach, while Ashtanga-yoga instructors demonstrate a style that combines deep breathing with spine-straightening postures for both novice and intermediate-level students. Inside the studio, a large mural of a butterfly paints a peaceful backdrop for all classes, while serving as inspiration to stiff-necked caterpillars.
Margo Kellison developed a passion for yoga after just one class. Previously a marathon runner, Kellison—now a certified yoga instructor at Vessel Yoga—originally tried the sport as a way to ease knee problems, and instead adopted it as her new vocation. After studying under celebrated yogis such as Baron Baptiste, Seane Corn, and Yogi Bear, then collaborating with Nike designers to create yoga products, Kellison settled down in Chicago to open Vessel Yoga. Today, with more than a decade's worth of experience under her spandex waistband, Kellison makes it her mission to mint new yogis through five different class sizes grounded in the Vinyasa tradition. Classes take place in a naturally lit studio with hardwood floors, exposed-brick walls, and wooden beams.
Yoga and fitness gurus guide students of all skill levels toward slimmer silhouettes in a noncompetitive atmosphere. The spacious studio’s sage-green walls, hardwood floors, and natural lighting provide a backdrop for yoga classes such as Hatha Flow Yoga and Forrest Yoga, which gently twist torsos and stretch limbs through slow-moving poses.
Kids' yoga classes, such as Preschool Pranayama and Toddler Tadasana, encourage children to find peace and stillness while engaging them through games and partner work. During Pilates classes, students build firmer cores, tighten muscles, and enable tendons to produce melodious twangs by propelling their bodies through a series of isometric motions. Students are encouraged to wear comfortable clothing to all classes.
The team at Cheetah Gym knows that getting in shape is hard work, but they try to add a playful spin to the task. In the WERQ class, for example, they play with the spelling of work itself—as well as with conventional cardio exercise, choreographing easy-to-follow dance routines to the latest pop songs or old-school hits.
In addition to dance fitness, the gyms each offer more than 130 group classes per week, ranging from Pilates and yoga sessions to cycling and boxing lessons. Outside the group fitness studios, visitors build cardio strength and muscle tone on equipment from Strive, Hammer Strength, and PreCor, rather than by trying to lift an entire bank of lockers in the changing room.