Yoga has become more mainstream and practiced by a variety of ages to gain flexibility, reach a state of relaxation or mind-body connection and even just for fun. For residents around the ZIP, a place where all walks of life to learn about yoga and to experience it at all levels is right around the corner: Bloom Yoga.
Bloom Yoga , located near the Rockwell Brown Line stop (4663 N Rockwell), is a studio that holds a variety of yoga classes along with teaching seminars, prenatal and post birth classes and massages. The studio also gives time to the community with classes for cancer survivors, Stretch to the Cure and to local causes when possible. There’s something for all ages that are interested in yoga.
The studio was opened in 2004 by Kerry Maiorca and her husband Zach. Maiorca first discovered yoga while studying in New York. After seeing that there was a need for a yoga experience that could suit all ages and levels, she decided to open a studio.
“We opened the studio because we wanted a place where people who were brand new to it could come and feel totally comfortable,” said Maiorca. “We wanted people who who were making coming with injuries or who had limitations and could come and experience it in a way that was appropriate for their bodies. We also wanted a place where we could bring in the mind body connection in a way that was very down to Earth… we wanted something that was for everybody [and all stages of life].”
The couple both grew up around Chicago. While living in San Francisco, they decided they wanted to work back within their home roots. Once opening the studio, one the challenges they ran into was being able to have downtime.
“We threw ourselves into it,” said Maiorca, “so the challenge was just finding a balance between starting a business and having downtime. Tor the first six months we worked really hard and really long hours, and we knew it was going to be like that, so it was a challenge we had to go through.”
They have found that this area of Chicago was best suited for the studio.
“It just immediately felt like home to us, and that has very much been our experience,” said Maiorca. “I think it’s a community [of people that] are really invested in their local businesses, local school and each other as neighbors. It couldn’t have been a better fit. We love it here.”
Front Desk Manager Lauren Bisio has been a part of the Bloom community for about four years and enjoys working at the studio. She shares that the neighborhood helps make a positive atmosphere for all.
“Because it’s a neighborhood studio, so many of our students live here in the neighborhood,” said Bisio. “It’s just a really friendly environment. People come in and socialize before and after class. Everyone is kind and friendly. It’s not a competitive atmosphere.”
Maiorca’s favorite aspect of Bloom Yoga is seeing the connection first time yoga students make when they take his or her first class.
“I love seeing when someone comes in and has this experience and [realizes it’s] a simple, yet profound thing,” said Maiorca. “I just love seeing them get that ‘ah ha’ moment. It feels great in their body and they feel different afterwards. They feel more at peace and calm. They just feel better.”
For the variety of reasons that one may choose to do yoga on a weekly basis, there can be many benefits found from having it a part of one’s life. According to Maiorca, yoga has helped those who have trouble with anxiety, back and posture issues, along with those seeking flexibility, strength and a mind-body connection.
Even though Bloom Yoga’s majority of students are within the late 20’s to early 50’s, the studio is open to all ages and levels of experience, which is what it strives to welcome on a daily basis.
“[Yoga] shouldn’t be just for one population,” said Maiorca. “This should be for everybody… in some of our classes we have 20 year olds and 70 year olds. I think that’s pretty cool.”
There are a variety of classes that fit for all age groups and experience levels. The most popular classes at Bloom Yoga are the Level 1 and Level 2 along with the Gentle class. Level 1 and 2 is a mixed level class and usually recommended for those first starting to add yoga to his or her daily routine. Gentle class is suitable for all age groups and is more focused on “breathing and quieting of the body and mind.”
Bisio recommends for those who are coming to Bloom Yoga for the first time to take the Level 1 and 2 classes.
“Every instructor teaches based on their strengths and experiences [which makes for] a different class from teacher to teacher,” said Bisio.
Along with yoga classes, there are family-friendly classes from pregnancy and postpartum classes to classes geared towards kids.
Bloom Yoga even offers teacher training for those who want to take the next level of yoga and share it with others. Along with classes and training, the studio offers massages that range from 30 to 90 minute massages.
While many businesses seek out caterers or team building activities, many businesses have worked with Bloom Yoga to bring yoga in their offices. Workplace Wellness offers any business for a yoga teacher to come in and learn techniques in the office to help with relaxation, posture and stretches.
One way to get to know the Bloom Yoga community and earn free yoga classes and massages is by participating in a work study program. This program is a no less than three month commitment that allows students to pitch in time within the studio, which is beneficial for the studio, student, and community.
There are many new happenings for Bloom Yoga as summer comes to an end. The studio is hosting a cancer survivor class in the fall. Along with that, a teen’s yoga class will start in the fall season, which Maiorca is excited for.
“Kids are more stressed than they have ever been,” said Maiorca. “They’re taking the tools [like breathing exercises] and applying them in a way that’s really going to make a difference for them.”
The studio is approaching its 10th year anniversary, and Maiorca says there’s a surprise in store.
Whether one is seeking a new space to do yoga or wanting to try it for the first time, Bloom Yoga has a class and the atmosphere and teachers to help accommodate to all ages and skill levels.