BY SARAH TEREZ-ROSENBLUM
African-American history month, I get. Women’s history month too; both represent necessary and legitimate reactions to the white male-centric hetero-normative hegemony of antidisestablishmentarianism. (Editor’s note: That was just a cavalcade of big words. She has no idea what she’s talking about.)
But sometimes I question the American impulse to devote finite periods to specific groups or activities. Example: National Talk like a Pirate Day. “Trendy” in the way of mustaches, haiku and Betty White, the Sept. 19 holiday devoted to (what else?) speaking like a pirate seems in bad taste given the recent rise in Somali piracy. But I’ve buried the lead in a shallow grave; this blog’s topic is actually National Yoga Month. More justifiable than Pirate Day, perhaps of less socio-politically supercalifragalisticexpialadosious (Editor’s Note: Ignore her; she’s doing it again) than all those history months, NYM was conceived by California organization Yoga Health Foundation to attract novice yogis to the spiritual and physical practice.
Here in Chicago, studios like Bloom Yoga are bending over backward and then binding to offer special deals and events. Owner Kerry Maiorca (above), who was inspired to open Bloom in 2004 to “create a yoga studio that would be welcoming and unintimidating to all students, regardless of their fitness level or previous yoga experience,” says NYM has spurred a surge of new students.
Offering a week of free, unlimited yoga, as well as a ‘Bring a Friend’ promotion that allows a current student to get a free class for herself and a new student, Bloom supports both fresh and continuing practitioners. Says Maiorca, “If you're a beginner, you'll feel welcome because our teachers are skilled at modifying to give you the experience of the pose in a safe way. For those who've been practicing for a long time, our intermediate classes offer a challenge, [but] no matter how difficult the pose sequence, the [practice’s] core is still about creating a state of health and happiness for body and mind.”
Bloom teacher Ryan Maher echoes Maiorca’s sentiments. “The best thing about being a yoga teacher,” he says, “is creating a space where people can decompress and get to know themselves on a deeper level. No matter where we are on the yoga path, whether we've been practicing for 20 years or a day, it is so important to maintain a beginner’s perspective.”
No matter what your perspective, there’s a yoga pose for you. Maher’s favorites change with the seasons. In winter he gravitates toward “savasana/corpse pose and also legs up the wall. During the springtime, handstands and twists. Wheel pose, in the summer. And in autumn, seated forward fold.” For Maiorca, “It depends on the day! When I'm feeling energetic, I love a good strong standing pose like Warrior 2 or Extended Side Angle. If I'm a little tired, Reclining Big Toe pose is my favorite.”
As for me, I’ll be celebrating NYM with my new favorite pose, Dwi pada viparita dandasana. (Editor’s Note: she’s in earnest this time and she thinks it’s a really big deal. Kindly don’t disabuse her.)
Learn more about Lincoln Square’s lovely Bloom Yoga here.
Sarah Terez Rosenblum (@SarahTerez) is an MFA-holding writer, teacher and Spinning instructor. She's also the Theater Listings Editor for Centerstage Chicago. Look for her posts twice a week.