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.
A cool day inside Bikram Yoga Evanston is 98 degrees. That's during one of the studio's meditative Yin yoga classes, which can help boost circulation and increase flexibility. For a more intense workout, exercisers head to a 90-minute Bikram yoga class, where they complete a series of 26 postures in a room that's heated to 105 degrees with 40% humidity. Regardless of the class or temperature, Bikram Yoga Evanston doesn't take reservations, meaning the first students to arrive will be the lucky ones to nab a spot. Refusing to lower the bar, Bikram Yoga Evanston's instructors are all about helping clients cultivate their minds and bodies to full potential, and see real change.
With a focus on burning calories and toning muscle, Down Dog Hot Yoga's instructors immerse students of all skill and fitness levels in the practice of hot yoga. Each class starts off slowly to give students time to adjust to the heat and to ease into the rhythm of the movements, and then blossoms into a full-tilt cardio workout with a series of Vinyasa flow poses. Throughout the classes, the studio's upbeat instructors give new students special attention, and demonstrate how to incorporate resting poses and modifications for more difficult positions. They also hang around after class to field questions about poses such as, "If I do yoga often enough, will I turn into a pretzel?"