A staff of more than 30 qualified yoga instructors sporting diverse backgrounds, experience, and expertise have made Sanctuary Yoga Highwood an inclusive studio for practitioners of all abilities and interests. Credit for the place's welcoming vibes also belong to owner Amanda Small, whose Mississippi-borne Southern hospitality inspires her to create a warm space, in both the emotional and physical sense. Though not every class is heated, some of the Vinyasa flows are performed in temperatures as high as 98 degrees to promote deeper stretching and to detoxify the body. For a less strenuous session, students can try one of Sanctuary's specialty classes, such as Stretchy and Gentle and Yoga Basics. An adjoined retail lounge keeps guests outfitted with exercise apparel and accessories from brands such as Yogitoes, as well as with organic candles and aromatherapy products that freshen up homes filled with sweaty yoga apparel and accessories.
"Our brain is designed to realize what we wish, without any minor errors," says Dahn Yoga founder Ilchi Lee. "If you want success, it will create success. If you want happiness or health, it will create them. Anything is possible, as long as negative thoughts and emotions don't interfere."
To make this challenging, yet hopeful, philosophy accessible to all, Lee combined the Eastern concept of chi energy with his own brain-management system, developing a distinctive program that unlocks inner peace and sweeps up brain clutter caused by the daily stress of always having to find Waldo. This focus, shared by Body & Brain Holistic Yoga and The Life Yoga, forms the basis of the studio's classes and consultations. Warm-up yoga maneuvers awaken muscles before 30–40 minutes of breathing, stretching, core practice, and meditation—including a signature brain-wave vibration technique that aims to calibrate mental and physical energies. Cooldown exercises ease the body back into quotidian functionality before a 10-minute teatime invites socialization among participants while bolstering pinkie endurance.
Owner Dani Petrie and her studio manager, Debbie Lofdahl, helm a staff of seasoned teachers who lead yoga and fitness classes seven days a week. Inside their peaceful, Zen-style studio, spacious wooden floors offer plenty of room for stretching and posing, and a boutique shop brims with yoga clothes and jewelry by Manduka, Beyond Yoga, and Be Present. When they aren't leading their regular classes, instructors facilitate yoga parties and provide the mats, props, water, and music. Teachers also infiltrate the workplace to lead corporate classes that help businesses and their employees stay happy and healthy. In addition to their 200-hour teacher training sessions, Reach Yoga also hosts workshops on topics such as laughter yoga, which turns self-induced chuckles into genuine guffaws by having participants laugh intentionally.
In practice rooms with aqua-blue walls and wooden floors, Willow Yoga's passionate instructors guide students toward physical fitness and stress relief. Small groups move through a variety of Hatha yoga classes and yoga Pilates fusion classes. The atmosphere is supportive, and instructors provide modifications of routines so that students can practice within their comfort zones. At the end of each class, a guided relaxation helps participants to find peace and focus.
It may seem like a paradox, but yoga can provide relaxation as much as it provides exercise. With a broad slate of more than a dozen types of classes, Total Body Yoga lets you have it both ways. The curriculum ranges from gentle restorative yoga classes to higher-energy sessions that feature more challenging poses at a quicker clip. Beyond the yoga mat, the staff also leads meditation workshops and weeklong children's summer camps that encourage kids to use their creativity constructively through yoga fitness, games, music, and crafts.
Large windows let in as much natural light as possible, making the Himalayan Yoga and Meditation Center an ideal environment for the transformative practice of yoga. In Vinyasa Flow sessions and beginners' hatha classes, students follow a systematic progression of breathing and asanas?or postures?designed to strengthen muscles and align spines. The goal is to help clients maintain a healthy mind and body to lead a happier life.
The teachers follow the philosophies of Swami Rama, whose beliefs can be summarized in one inspirational quote: "Do your duties skillfully, selflessly, and grease them with love." Their work demonstrates their adherence to that teaching: instructors with decades of combined experience use their classes at this nonprofit studio to reach out to all sorts of yoga practitioners, from athletes to to people interested in mindfulness exercises to adults with physical challenges.