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.
"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.
Lisa Faremouth Weber, the founder and owner of Heaven Meets Earth, wanted her studio to be a sacred space where students could come for a regular yoga practice and leave refreshed. That's why her commitment to student health reaches beyond the classes and into the very nontoxic paint that coats the studio's walls. Heaven Meets Earth is one of Evanston's only green yoga studios, featuring sustainable bamboo floors, an eco-boutique, and paper products made out of still-living trees.
Certified instructors lead the studio's workshops, teacher-training, meditation classes. They teach students to control their breath and build strength during Sacred Vinyasa classes, and also branch out into Pilates and dance-fitness classes. Teen, child, and family classes instill a sense of peace and focus in the light-filled studio, which features a wall of inspirational quotes.
At Workout Wright, founder Duwayne Wright and trainer Aga Adamczyk help clients slim down and muscle up through proper nutrition and rigorous workouts on high-quality equipment. Classes include Body Sculpt, which develops muscular endurance and increases clients' aerobic/anaerobic threshold, as well as interval training on treadmills designed to use exercisers' own body weight for a challenging workout.
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.
For their Pilates program, Fit Stop Inc. coaches people at any and all fitness levels—even instructors. Whatever your fitness goals, the certified instructors here can create custom workout plans that employ either personal training or small, intimate group Pilates classes. The beginner Pilates classes introduce students to the traditional Pilates workout, and the intermediate and advanced Pilates reformer classes employ any combination of 100 exercises. For Pilates enthusiasts, there's the gym's Pilates teacher training program, which sets the stage for anyone to become an official instructor. It covers Pilates mechanics, instruction techniques, and how many apples per day it takes to keep doctors away.