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Community yoga classes in Chicago

Your wish “I recently joined a gym, and love it, but also miss going to the yoga studio on a regular basis. Sadly, I can’t afford both. Are...

Photograph: Marina Makropoulos

Your wish “I recently joined a gym, and love it, but also miss going to the yoga studio on a regular basis. Sadly, I can’t afford both. Are there any affordable yoga classes in the city, so I can enjoy the best of both worlds?” —Elizabeth B., Bridgeport

Our command Cheap Genie likes to spend time in the weight room and on the yoga mat, too. And luckily, many Chicago yoga studios offer affordable options. For starters, ask the studios in your ’hood if they offer a free (or discounted) class to first-time students. Once you’re done exploring those options, community (or donation-based) yoga classes are the way to go. For example, yoga classes at Three Pillars Wellness(1516 E 53rd St, 773-363-7607) in Hyde Park usually cost $17, but the studio offers a couple of donation-based vinyasa classes every Tuesday and Thursday from 1–2pm where you have to pay only between $5 and $12. The class size is usually only five or six students, so it’s practically like getting a private yoga session. If you want to feel as if you’re doing a downward dog for a good cause (other than your health, of course), try TruHarmony Yoga(900 N Franklin St, fifth floor, 312-643-8577). The River North space offers a heated power vinyasa community class every Sunday from 1–2:30pm. Once a month, the studio selects a nonprofit organization and all of the proceeds from the donation classes go to that nonprofit (The suggested fee is $15, but TruHarmony stresses students should pay what they can). Past charities include organizations that help victims in Haiti and the Lincoln Park Community Shelter. Of course, nothing beats free, so if you’re really strapped for cash, free community classes are for you. But keep in mind that even free things come with a cost. A TOC staffer checked out the Sunday-evening community yoga class at Edgewater’s Yoga Now(5852 N Broadway, 773-561-9642) and found the small studio space packed to the gills with people (of all ages, including two students under age ten) on yoga mats. The studio says it has a policy of not turning anyone away for the free class, so make sure to arrive early—and with an open mind.

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