The sun on your skin, the wind in your hair, the yoga mat at your feet: As spring gives way to summer, why stay cooped up?
You may be used to doing yoga at your local gym or even in the comfort of your own home, but you have plenty of other options. All around Chicago, yoga instructors are taking their lessons outside.
Here are 14 places to visit for a class.
From June through September, Millennium Park lets Chicagoans get their yoga fix absolutely free. The yoga classes taught at the Millennium Park Summer Workouts program are led by some of the most prominent yogis in the city, including Moksha Yoga’s Lani Granum, Alie McManus and Dunamis Yoga’s Marta Bailey.
Depending on which weekend you visit, you could be stretching and sweating to Spanish music or invigorating gospel tunes.
Logan Square Farmers Market
You may not picture a farmer’s market as the ideal place for a yoga class, but within Logan Square Farmers Market is Tula Yoga Studio. Michelle Beuser leads this free class, which does offer yoga mats for beginners. After class wraps up, stock up on produce and other healthy eats.
Lululemon Athletica sponsors the Yoga in the Park series at Wicker Park. On evenings from June through late August, stop on by the park’s softball field for free yoga. If it rains, class is still on; just go to the Field House Gym instead. Staff from Eb & Flow Yoga Studio, Moksha Yoga Center and Zen Yoga Garage take turns teaching different yoga techniques.
Do you want to trade your yoga mat for a paddleboard? If so, check out SUP Yoga near Montrose Beach. Mary Lou Cerami teaches participants all they need to know about how to balance on a paddleboard on the water.
Make sure to bring your swimsuit in case you take a dip!
Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
Sure, you could burn some calories taking in the exhibits at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, or you could stretch out here with some yoga. Butterfly Haven Yoga takes place outside at the Judy Istock Butterfly Haven. If you’re not feeling relaxed enough by these pretty insects, you will after the class is over.
Get your tickets in advance; Butterfly Haven Yoga tends to sell out.
Equinox Lincoln Park
While fitness centers are pretty commonplace, how many of them have rooftop yoga? Equinox Lincoln Park does, but only on Wednesday mornings. Rise with the sun as the fitness staff teaches participants how to become stronger and more flexible.
Bloom Yoga Studio
Bloom Yoga Studio is open all year long, but once the weather warms up, the Bloom All Summer program begins. These classes don’t cost a cent and are designed for “people of all ages and stages.”
If you have a yoga mat, bring it. If not, a towel will suffice. While the classes are free, space is limited, so consider registering ahead of time.
Lincoln Park Zoo
Let the warmth of the sunlight and the excitement of the animals fuel a workout at the Lincoln Park Zoo. The Yoga at the Zoo series takes place at the zoo’s Nature Boardwalk. There’s a yoga class for people of all ages, even toddlers. The instructors welcome beginners, experts and everyone in between.
North Avenue Beach
Another summertime option for those who can’t get enough of the ocean is Sun & Moon Yoga at North Avenue Beach. Be on the lookout — some of these classes are free. Otherwise, you can sign up for a single class, multiple classes or a season pass. Sun & Moon has a big team of instructors who invite Chicagoans to try yoga regardless of experience level.
Each Tuesday and Sunday evening throughout the summer, Fitness Formula Clubs (FFC) take over Belmont Harbor for Yoga by the Lake. FFC instructors Rachel and Bobbi guide their students through an exciting hour of breathing techniques, stretching and toning muscles. Best of all, these classes are free.
Chicago Park District
Athleta and the Chicago Park District offer both yoga classes and boot camps through the Summer Beach Fitness Series. Stop by North Avenue Beach on Tuesday or Thursday mornings from mid-June through late August. This is another free way to burn some calories and work up a sweat.
While Pfit Yoga has its own studio in Pilsen, the instructors host classes at Swallow Cliff when the weather is nice. These power yoga classes have the potential to improve flexibility, according to the instructors. It is recommended that anyone who signs up brings their own yoga mat, and there is a fee to participate.
Chicago Botanic Garden
The Chicago Botanic Garden is a beautiful place to learn more about horticulture. If you’re in the mood to get out in nature after spending a day among the trees, plants and other greenery, you’re in luck. The Botanic Garden hosts outdoor yoga classes, beginning with the Yoga Master Class in late May. Whole Journey Northwest Yoga’s Patricia Nakon will be around all summer to teach classes such as yoga at ease, yoga flow and gentle yoga.
After you practice your downward dog on a paddleboat with SUP Yoga, embark on the Yoga & Sailing event at Belmont Harbor.
Red Elephant Yoga & Wellness instructor Jodi Geoghan will guide participants through three hours of fun and fitness. It all begins with a stretch by the lake before moving on to some Vinyasa yoga. After those two hours of exercise, set sail on the yacht for another hour.