Sunday, June 12

Just Breathe | Joliet, IL

LOCATION: Google maps will tell you there are two locations, but the Division St address is the way to go (aka their only location). It looks like one of those strips of businesses your dentist and realtor both reside in, not very yoga-esque on the outside. I arrived early and was further confused by the sign for The Center (which also offers up yoga classes), and because I had them on the list of places to visit I thought maybe I wrote down the wrong address. But the next door over has the Just Breathe sign (they must be connected somehow)... I was still the only one there though. I questioned the two locations at the time—had I gone to the wrong one? I called one of the instructor's numbers on their website (the wrong instructor, oops) and left a message (she did end up calling back while I was in class, and was very kind... thank you, Galey!). Luckily other cars started showing up, and then the teacher... whew! Parking was free.
COST: Drop-in fee was $15 (no credit cards)

STUDIO: You enter right into the practice space with just a simple desk up front for check-in. The space is light and airy, it reminded me of a beach bungalow actually, feeling spa or vacation-like. I'm becoming a fan of spaces having ceiling fans... just saying, I'm a sweater. And by sweater, I mean I sweat a lot... I'm not a warm and fuzzy piece of clothing. Anyway! The studio had yoga props to offer, but no mats, I believe everyone brought their own (I could be wrong on the mat topic though, maybe no one needed them and therefore they didn't take them out from a different closet).
CLASS DESCRIPTION: Level 1-2 These classes are a perfect blend for students with some yoga experience. Options will be given for both level 1 & 2. This class may include a blend of flow, strong standing asana & floor poses using mindful breath awareness to allow you to find your own place in the practice.
INSTRUCTOR: Jill began her yoga journey in 2000. After years of running, weight-lifting, aerobics and step-classes, attending her first yoga class changed her life. Immediately drawn to its transformational qualities of both mind and body, yoga soon became her passion. She began teaching in 2004. Jill continues to study at every opportunity with master teachers.
CONTACT: Just Breathe

After all the confusion of whether I was in the right place or not, things began to run much smoother. As I filled out the waiver form, Jill asked where I was from. That got everyone talking about Champaign... and the studio I go to (Living Yoga Center), which a couple people had been to and had nothing but wonderful things to say about them (I agree). It was a great way to warm-up to the experience, to say the least. There were six students total, and this was the first time I felt like I was surrounded by the stereotypical body type associated with yoga... being the curvier girl that I am, I probably noticed it more than anyone. I contemplated not mentioning this in my review, because it REALLY shouldn't matter, but there are many an article out there about the stereotypes of yoga and why people are intimidated to try a class. I understand why, I was a bit intimidated. Then one of my biggest reasons I love yoga happened, I entered that space on my yoga mat that allows me to be completely selfish and just focus on my practice. It's guilt-free fabulousness I wouldn't trade for anything in the world! Sure, I notice others around me, but it's truly just to witness the many beautiful forms of yoga from inside my zen bubble. I really do value where I'm at in my practice, because it's leaps and bounds from where I was two years ago. Plus, another reason I love yoga... it's ever-evolving since you can ALWAYS take it to the next stage, so I can't get bored. And if you know me even a little bit, you may notice I keep things moving because my brain gets excited by new stuff (read: may not finish a lot of projects because I've moved on to the next brainchild). I digress. I was in my bubble. All was good.

I found this class to be a wonderful challenge. Jill did a lot of the yoga with us, but regularly took the time to walk around and adjust us. She was able to take poses to more advanced stages because of the people in her class (I was not one of them), so I got to see some awesome work while attempting the stage I was at and not feeling too shabby about it either. It was refreshing to also see these same woman who went into some deep poses, grab props to aide them in other poses. We really all do have strengths and weaknesses through out yoga, so to judge ourselves based on someone else's practice is an unfortunate waste of time and energy (that I'm also guilty of).

After sivasana we came back to our sitting position, and Jill asked us to massage just below the third eye (which is the area between your eyebrows). I hadn't done this before. Once massaged, we tapped the third eye three times, then ran our finger down the front of our face (as opposed to the back of our face?) to our heart chakra. She said something along the lines of understanding the brain as nervous system central, but that we connect and act from our hearts. I liked the physical movement of literally drawing the line between the two.

After class I chatted with Jill quite a bit. Since I had dropped off some Yoga Journal Conference posters to her, she told me about her wonderful experiences attending the conferences in the past and was kind enough to go over the instructors featured at this event, with special focus on Aadil Palkhivala. I hope to attend one of his classes on Saturday or Sunday, but she mentioned his all-day intensive class on Monday. I planned to go home on Sunday night... but maybe I need to stay an extra day. I'll keep you posted.

All in all, a great class with fantastic instruction. If you're a beginner, I wouldn't recommend this specific class (which they say it's for people with more experience, so it shouldn't be shocking). I can say, though, if you start with them in one of their beginner classes, they will get you started on an incredible path! Thank you Jill & Just Breathe!

3 responses:

  1. Sounds like a great experience. Love your honesty...and crazy sense of humor (ew the back of your face, kind of dark :)

  2. Thanks Vee—it was a great experience—for every side of my face!
    Did I just imply I'm two-faced? yikes!

  3. I practice at this studio and I absolutely love it and Jill. Jill has made me want to continue practicing yoga. Very clean professional studio and you couldn't ask for a nicer group of ladies to do yoga with. I felf welcomed from the moment I walked in. The class I attend has women of all body types and age groups.