Kumu Hula (“Master Teacher of the Hula”) June Yoshiko sometimes wonders if it was the same streak of courage that led both of her grandfathers to leave Japan and start a new life in Hawaii that inspired her to make a similar journey from Hawaii to Chicago. A hula dancer since she was six, she’s honed her craft over three decades while augmenting it with a master’s in public health nutrition, ordination as a Zen Buddhist priest, and certification as a reiki master teacher.
June teaches two types of hula classes: Hula Kahiko, ancient dances accompanied by chanting that emphasize Hawaiian culture, and Hula Auana, or modern hula, set to contemporary Hawaiian songs and instruments such as ukulele and guitar. Her beginner classes focus on footwork and hip motions, and advanced classes merge both Kahiko and Auana with the study of plants, chants, mythology, and history important to hula. June also offers a Gracious Ladies class for mature women and men that incorporates Auana hula to tone bodies, strengthen core muscles, and boost ACT scores.
Playing house is more fun when you have a house of your own, like the one at Peekaboo Playroom, complete with curtains and a colorful fa?ade. The shoe-free, kid-centric facility provides a place for children to interact, play, and exercise their imaginations. Parents, too, are invited to relax and socialize, or play alongside their kids, assuming they still remember proper wood-block etiquette. Various special activities also take place, including movie screenings, themed dress-up parties, and story-time circles.
A giant tree spreads its limbs across a softly lit room as soothing forest sounds play. On a child-size stage, kids manipulate controls to flick theater lights on and off. In an art studio stocked with supplies, budding artists make creative messes. This is all taking place in Wonder Works' 6,400-square-foot space. Children aged 8 and younger explore six hands-on exhibits that help them express their creativity and develop mental and social skills. Wonder Works is able to cater to children with special needs.
The children's museum also hosts school field trips, and a variety of special activities and events including a children's music concert series, African American History Month, and the paleontology-centric Dino Works. In addition, an outdoor organic garden onsite gives kids an opportunity to marvel in the great outdoors without having to pay tolls to riddle-spouting trolls.
The instructors at Ahimsa Yoga Studio lead classes that have something to offer yogis of any age and skill level. Those new to practicing yoga can jump into the art of precise stretching and breathing in beginners? yoga, whereas experienced practitioners can learn more in-depth maneuvers in hatha Vinyasa sessions. Prenatal yoga classes gift soon-to-be moms with a number of exercises that alleviate tension and discomfort, and in Yoga Kids classes, children as young as 4 can channel their abundant energy into noncompetitive movements. Instructors also helm teen yoga meetings that teach calming techniques to soothe anxiety over upcoming tests, summer jobs, or passing the limbo portion of the state driving test.
At The Yoga Centre in Oak Park, a team of passionate instructors helps students build stronger connections between their physical, mental, and emotional selves. The studio hosts more than 20 yoga classes each week, including introductory classes, Cardio Yoga classes, and meditative classes that help clear students' minds of stressful thoughts about work or apprehensions about their work's annual shouting convention. Private training sessions are also available for those who desire a one-on-one format.
Former Yoga Trek students Kate Wester and Catherine Cappel carry on ownership of the studio passed on to them by their former instructors, leading a staff of impassioned yoga teachers as they guide students in the physically dynamic Vinyasa and Ashtanga styles of yoga. The instructors accommodate students of all skill and fitness levels except in the most advanced sessions, which transition between challenging poses at a rapid pace. Beginners and intermediate students can build up practice over time, learning to incorporate meditation and mindful breathing techniques to center thoughts while bolstering physical stamina with traditional yoga poses. Instructors help to prepare students before class by passing out any yoga mats, supportive props, or chakra-warming space blankets guests need.