Sunday, September 25

Yoga at Lincoln Park Zoo | Chicago, IL

LOCATION: Who knew finding a zoo in the middle of a city would be so difficult. I mean, it's an ENTIRE zoo... but I couldn't find a single sign on where it was, let alone parking for it. So... I left it to the directional gods, so to speak. I went off course of the written directions (seriously, I need a new GPS), and what do you know? I found Lincoln Park Zoo, but then I had nowhere to park. Ugh! I left at 6am to give myself plenty of time to get to this class at 9am (two hour drive), and all I could think was, "I just drove two hours to turn around and go home, didn't I." OK, fine, parking gods, have at it! And wouldn't you know it, I found a spot where I could see the entrance to Lincoln Park Zoo from my car (which was free, by the way). It's amazing how things work out if you just... let... go... 
COST: $20 for the drop-in fee in cash, but you can pre-pay online.   
STUDIO:  A summer series outside in Lincoln Park Zoo with the view of the city skyline behind the instructor, covered by a cocoon/sci-fi like piece of artwork, surrounded by nature and water and sounds of wildlife. While we had class it went from sunshine to downpour to sunshine all over the course of an hour. Challenging to focus? Yes. But what a wonderful way to challenge yourself. 
CLASS DESCRIPTION: Adult Yoga Breath in... Breath out... OMMMMMMMM. Take in the views of the city skyline as you connect with nature at Lincoln Park Zoo. Learn or perfect the basics of yoga in this class targeted to beginner and intermediate yoga practitioners. Participants are encouraged to bring their own yoga mat and bottled water. 
INSTRUCTOR: Julie Snyder completed teacher training in 2008, and hopes to pass on her love of yoga to others while teaching outdoors at Lincoln Park Zoo. Her classes are taught to inspire self-awareness, relaxation, and an appreciation for the body. 

After the debacle of finding the zoo and parking... I then had to navigate my way (by foot, very adventurous) through the park to find the class. Once I arrived, I was happy to see people still setting up and that I wasn't late. Woo hoo! We started out in seated position, rolling the head to stretch the neck and start out slowly. The class was very basic, which was great for the variety of students in the class. It offered just the right amount of challenge to warm up the body on this cool morning. I would say it's a slowed down flow. Actually, thinking back, there wasn't much discussion of alignment and positioning. Julie didn't adjust anyone. It really was a basic class to wake up the body on this Saturday morning. Which I find is a nice introduction to yoga. 

I do have to say, I was completely distracted by being able to walk through the zoo and check out some of the animals after class. It's a nice added perk to a yoga class. As I walked through the empty zoo, there were a few performers playing guitar and singing or playing violin. The violinist was playing Amazing Grace, which was my dad's favorite song. And this is the zoo he took me to have some daddy/daughter moments after my parents got divorced. I'm finding, on these excursions to discover yoga classes, something else serendipitous happens. A moment of kindness and love. Whether it's a couple of puppies or beautiful memory of my father heightened by music. These gentle reminders are welcomed as they encourage me to keep doing what I'm doing. I hope you're enjoying the journey with me! 


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