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As Days Get Colder and Shorter, Candlelight Yoga Gains In Popularity

By JoAnne Pazderski | December 25, 2012 10:25am
 Instructor Nicole Gutierrez leads a class of candlelight yoga at In Motion Yoga, 821 W. Superior St.
Instructor Nicole Gutierrez leads a class of candlelight yoga at In Motion Yoga, 821 W. Superior St.
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DNAinfo/JoAnne Pazderski

RIVER WEST — Amidst the flickering candles and the sodium-vapor glow from the street lights outside, this certainly doesn’t feel like a workout. There’s no blaring music or glaring lights, and most describe it as relaxing.

Candlelight yoga is gaining popularity — especially in the chilly, dark months in Chicago.

In Motion Yoga, 821 W. Superior St., has seen attendance grow as the days get shorter at its classes offered at 8:15 p.m. on Mondays through Thursdays. The classes, which cost $18 each, are also offered at the same time Tuesdays through Thursdays at its Lakeview location, 1017 W. Belmont Ave.

“It’s completely, totally its own kind of yoga,” says Lacey Whitaker, owner and instructor at In Motion Yoga.

Candlelight yoga classes are done in the dark with just a few candles scattered about.  Whitaker says she begins and ends the class slowly to help people unwind from the stresses of the day.

“It’s a good wind down at the end of the day.  I really do find it to be incredibly stress relieving,” said Amy Aho, of River West, who attends the candlelight classes with her husband, Michael.  He says it’s a good bonding experience.

Couples seem to be drawn to candlelight yoga.  Whitaker says there are sometimes three or four couples in the classes. 

“Because it’s dark, it is a little bit more sensual,” she says.

Whitaker ends her classes by giving each student a brief head massage in which she gently rotates the head to each side, presses down on the shoulders and gently taps the center of the forehead. 

“It’s a nice way to end the practice and make people feel extra relaxed and cared for and like they’re floating out of the studio,” she said.

“It’s very relaxing,” says Chris Fendrich, of Wicker Park, who attended his first candlelight yoga class earlier this month.  “I liked it.  It’s a little more challenging.  But, it’s really relaxing.”