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We have 9 (and counting) opportunities to practice yoga in the great outdoors this summer! We would love for you and your friends to join us for an all levels yoga class as our gift to you. 

Elmhurst -  Elmhurst Police Department and The Club

  • Saturday, June 23rd 8:00-9:15 AM with Margot Knight - Police Department
  • Sunday, July 8th 9:30-10:45 AM with Jessica Martini - Police Department
  • Sunday, August 5th 8:00-9:15 AM with Cassie Quick - The Club beer garden out back!

Join us for FREE all-levels Vinyasa yoga in the great outdoors! Bring a mat, a water bottle and a friend!

June 23rd and July 8th classes will be held outside of the Elmhurst Police Department - 125 E 1st St, Elmhurst.

August 5th class will meet in the beer garden at The Club at 113 N. Addison Ave.

Pre-registration is not required. In case of bad weather, classes will be held at the Ahimsa South Studio at 506 Spring Rd.

Berwyn Proska Park

  • Sunday, June 24rd 9:00-10:15 AM with Laura Lundy
  • Sunday, July 22nd 9:30am-10:45am with Liz Simbi
  • Sunday, August 26th 9:00-10:15 AM with Laura Lundy

Classes will meet at Proska Park near the South Grove at the corner of Home & 31st street (just one block north & 4 blocks west of the Ahimsa Berwyn studio).

Bring your mat, a water bottle and a friend!

La Grange Bermis Woods South

  • Saturday, June 30th 10:45-11:45AM with Laura Lundy
  • Saturday, July 21st 10:45-11:45AM with Grace Sangat Gian
  • Saturday, August 18th 10:45-11:45AM with Annie Collins

Classes will meet at Bemis Woods South, in the grove at the end of the cul de sac.
Enter from Ogden Ave and follow Go Ape Zipline sign. Go past to get to the cul de sac.

1100 Ogden Ave, Western Springs. Just a few minutes West of the LaGrange Studio

Bring your mat, a water bottle and a friend!

Oak Park - check back for dates and location!

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By: Kelly Merydith
March 9, 2018

Ahimsa began as an idea that popped into my head my senior year of college at Northeastern University in Boston. I attribute that happening to a decision I made the previous night - to let go of a guy that was no good for me. Ahh…. the power of letting go to make space for new things!

Once the idea was there, I couldn't shake it. I was determined to open a yoga studio in my hometown of Oak Park, IL. Yoga had come into my life during high school, but it was in college when I really fell in love with it. I knew that this is what I needed to cope with the anxiety that I often experienced.

After college, I went to Santa Monica, California to obtain my yoga certification from YogaWorks. Less than a year later, Ahimsa was opened at 441 South Boulevard.

The many people who helped me open the studio had no clue they would be so influenced by yoga and would be working for Ahimsa someday.

My dad, Chuck Merydith, was job hunting in public relations and he took a month off to help me turn the space into a yoga studio. Years of remodeling homes with my mom made my dad the foreman of this endeavor. I could not have opened this studio without his help. Once we were open, he was my biggest cheerleader. He came to yoga every day, and in the process, fell in love with the practice. He got "the yoga bug." Something clicked and he knew, like many yoga practitioners, that yoga needed to be in his life. He also realized that he wanted to "help me out" by becoming a yoga instructor himself. And so, after a few months of a daily practice (I'd been giving him private lessons since the previous summer so I could practice teach), he was off to LA to take a summer intensive teacher training with YogaWorks in Pacific Palisades.  Conveniently, the training was just down the hill from his sister’s home!

Since then, Chuck has been teaching at Ahimsa and also manages the Oak Park studio. He has found his calling and is so grateful to be able to share yoga with so many people.

May 2011 - Chuck bringing in some tarps for painting

Also on the scene was my buddy from 6th grade, Masin Ouksel. Masin discovered yoga in college, so after we left college, he was student #2 (after my dad). He was always such a supportive friend and also helped with getting the space ready when he had time (his parents basement flooded that April, so he was dealing with that a lot).

A few years later, Masin was working at Peoples Gas in Chicago and not loving the 9-5 computer screen life (although ironically we now work at a computer screen a lot). He saw the joy Ahimsa brought me and wanted to open a 2nd studio with me. We chose Berwyn because it's close to Oak Park and we wanted to provide an underserved community with their first yoga studio. We could not have been happier to open that studio in September of 2015.

My mom, Carol Buer, was also on the scene, helping nights and weekends after working full time days as the hospital Vice President at Saint Joseph Hospital in Lincoln Park. I believe that she could have been a painter in another life. Below is Carol and her sister Barbara.

Carol (above) and her sister, Barbara (below)

My mom worked so hard throughout her whole career. She worked her way from Occupational Therapist to Vice President. After 22 years, she was downsized and given a year of severance. A year later she was back at another job and back to being stressed out again. Her health was becoming affected by the stress. By that time, Masin and I had opened a yoga studio in Berwyn. We told my mom that we needed her help with a few tasks. Once she was trained on a few things, she took off like a rocket ship - finding more and more ways for us to improve. She now is the manager of Customer Care and Workstudy, responding to student inquiries and building our team of 55 “shift managers” - the helpful people behind the desk.  Carol found that she loves making a difference by making sure people feel recognized and appreciated. I could not have imagined that we would be here today.

I cannot finish writing this blog post without mentioning our incredible workshop coordinator Christiane Broihier, who also did social media until about 6 months ago. We would not be able to host so many workshops without Christiane. She is so organized, resilient, responsible, funny, practical and reliable. We are so grateful to have her on the team. She is a regular student at the Oak Park studio and lives in Oak Park with her husband, 2 sons, and fur baby.

My sister, Ashley Harrington, is also a part of the team. I don't know how we got so lucky! Ashley lives in North Carolina with her husband, Will, and son, Rhett (born May 1, 2017). Ashley has been on one of our Belize yoga retreats, and is also a student whenever she's in town. She practices regularly at a studio near her home in Charlotte. Ashley is a mini Carol - a detail oriented hard worker. I wake up (on the West Coast) to text messages notifying me of capitalization errors and typos on Ahimsa's website. Ashley and I work together almost daily on modifying emails and processes to give the students the best experience possible.

In June of 2016, Masin and I purchased Blissed Out Yoga in Elmhurst and in June of 2017 we opened Ahimsa Yoga Studio in La Grange. The latest addition occurred In December of 2017 when we purchased Elmhurst Yoga Shala at 506 Spring Road. Although we have had rapid growth in the past few years, we are still in the early phases of these businesses. We work tirelessly to improve them and make them special places where people can find peace and self love through yoga.  

Below are some photos of the studios "before". I hope you enjoy!

Kelly Merydith
























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The 506 Spring Road location will continue to operate as a wonderful yoga studio under the name of Ahimsa Yoga Studio. As of January 15th, 2018 students with any Ahimsa or Elmhurst  Yoga Shala package or membership can take classes any of the 5 Ahimsa locations - Elmhurst South (506 Spring Road), Elmhurst North (381 N. York St), La Grange (14 W. Burlington), Berwyn (3120 S. Oak Park Ave.) and Oak Park (441 South). 

The Elmhurst South schedule can be found here. Scroll down and take a look inside the studio practice room!

Elmhurst Yoga Shala has been operating as a yoga studio for over 15 years - longer than Ahimsa has been open by almost 2x. Jackie DeGaetano owned the studio for 13 years and did an amazing job creating offers for the Elmhurst community including starting a kids yoga non-profit, a prenatal program, mom & baby classes, and more. Many of their teachers (who will stay on board!) have been teaching yoga for a very long time and have taken training programs in therapeutics. 

The studio features a large rope wall. These ropes are used to practice yoga poses in many classes. And stay tuned for workshops that focus solely on the wall. 

Elmhurst Yoga Shala has played a huge part in prenatal yoga, mom and baby, toddler, kids, teen and family yoga! We are doing our best to add in all of those specialties. Currently there is a prenatal class, toddler yoga is coming in February, and there is teen yoga every week. Be sure to also check out the Beginners Series

We look forward to continuing to benefit yoga students, yoga teachers, and the communities of the Chicago Western Suburbs. 

Namaste,

Kelly Merydith

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I spent the day with one of our ambassadors, Mia. She is our youngest ambassador. Mia is a student at Naperville Central high school. She loves all things photography, music, and Jesus. She is outgoing and loves to be around people. Mia is very involved with her church. Whether she is worshipping, leading a small group, or taking photos she is her happiest self. One of Mia's greatest joys besides church is photography. Patience and motivation are key factors in how she has been successful. Mia will never pass up an offer to go to Chick-fil-A (also known as her favorite restaurant). She loves plugging in headphones and grabbing a good book- they're essential to help her relax.

Photo: Macaila Britton Model: Mia Kanney

Mia beamed with excitement as we ordered our drinks from Owl and Lark. It was her first time in the juice bar and she was amazed with the plethora of options: smoothies, juices, hot drinks and snacks. 

The barista calls out "Mia" and hands over the pink dreamlike "Pitaya Smoothie". "I didn't know it was going to be pink!" Mia exclaims. "It's really pink. I love it". She continues, taking a sip of her pineapple-mango smoothie. 

She looks around, admiring the juice bar and noting how conveniently close it is to the studio. It's perfect for refueling after a yoga class!

Photo: Macaila Britton Model: Mia Kanney

Feeling rejuvenated after our smoothies, we headed back outside to walk the streets of downtown La Grange. We hunted for street art and went window shopping- chatting about everything from yoga to camera gear and everything in between. 

Photo: Macaila Britton Model: Mia Kanney

Photo: Macaila Britton Model: Mia Kanney

Next up was Elmhurst. We found a peaceful spot in the Wilder Park Conservatory to meditate and spend time in nature. The sun was beaming down on us as we laughed and walked the garden. Admiring the beauty of the world and feeling the serenity of the moment.  She explained how yoga is something she is working on practicing more. Mia reminisced on the days she and her grandmother would take their Tuesday yoga class. She noted how peaceful and energetic she feels after yoga. 

 

More about Mia:

Currently Listening To: Cage the Elephant and Foster the People

Favorite Snack: Fruit and Chocolate

Currently Reading: 'If I Stay' and 'Perks of Being a Wallflower'

Favorite Movie: If I Stay

Dream Vacation: Snowboarding in Colorado

Dream Travel Destination: Anywhere in Europe

Hobbies: Painting

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
— Gandhi

Mia is wearing "Define Your Inspiration" (DYI for short) leggings. This is one of the newer brands we carry at our four studio locations. We're particular about the brands we partner with and choose to include in our four studios. Why? It's because we care about you and want you to look and feel your absolute very best! Based out of Houston, Texas, DYI is an athletic brand that incorporates style and comfort. They believe that "feeling comfortable but sophisticated helps us move through life easily from workout to work, school days to date night or errands to homework"- we couldn't agree more! 

Each one of our locations (Oak Park, Berwyn, Elmhurst and La Grange) has different leggings. Berwyn is filled with deeper colors while Oak Park is home to funky striped designs. Stop in and check out the patterns! 

Here's a sneak peek of a few of the leggings we have:




ABOUT THE AUTHOR: MACAILA BRITTON

Macaila is a yoga teacher in training, writer and photographer. She likes meeting new people, is passionate about helping the community and also enjoys traveling, all kinds of dessert and cheesy jokes. She aspires to become the best version of herself by investing in others.

Yoga has helped her become more centered and focused on serving her higher purpose. In January she started the social media campaign called Operation Beautiful Nation. OBN is focused on raising awareness towards social injustice, which provides people all of the globe to take action and tackle these issues with a peaceful solution oriented attitude. 

Macaila hopes to someday eliminate social injustice and wants you to help.

To keep up with her latest adventures, visit MacailaBritton.com

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