WEST LOOP — Parking in the West Loop got you stressed?
The Shambhala Meditation Center opened at 37 N. Carpenter St., replacing the now-closed Oprah Winfrey gift shop.
Shambhala — which also has centers in Edgewater and Hyde Park — specializes in Buddhist meditation and also offers yoga and tai chi classes.
Upon entering the center at 37 N. Carpenter St., those with a sharp eye might notice a split letter "O" on the doorway — leftover from the site's gift shop days.
The group moved to the West Loop after selling its Rogers Park location of 15 years to a company owned by billionaire developer Col. James Pritzker. In October, that property was torn down and replaced with a four-story, 250-car parking garage.
The new West Loop location provides almost twice as much space, according to Thomas Adducci, executive director for the group.
With the larger space and central location, Adducci said he hopes to draw a new crowd of Chicagoans who may not have been able to make it to the Far North and South Side locations.
"I think mindfulness has really become more of a mainstream thing now. People have a lot of stress in their lives and are looking for ways to relax," Adducci said.
To celebrate its West Loop grand opening, the center will have several days of free classes and artist talks. On Wednesday, from 5-8 p.m., there will be a guided meditation, followed by a talk and presentation from the Illinois Council on Handgun Violence and the youth poetry group Louder Than a Bomb. There will also be additional free yoga and meditation classes starting at 7:30 a.m. Thursday and Friday.
But it has a wide variety of programming, including classes on Ikebana, or Japanese flower arranging.
For a full list of programming, visit Shambhala's website.