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Tune in to Your Body and Mind with Freedom Yoga Center

By Marina I. Jokic

Located in one of Chicago's suburbs, Freedom Yoga Center in Arlington Heights opened a little more than a year ago. The studio is inspired by the Detroit community's style of teaching, especially by its dynamism and use of music. There is a wide selection of classes to choose from, including Yoga Nidra, Restorative Yin, Gentle Yoga, and Ashtanga among others.

The classes at this studio focus on teaching the fundamentals of yoga in a fresh, vibrant, and vigorous way. Set to the tune of upbeat music and performed as free flowing sequences, there are bare-bones asanas as well as advanced postures for long-time practitioners. Each student is guided through breathing and movement, allowing for opportunities to step out of their comfort zones or modify a certain posture at any time.

As a relatively new studio looking to make a name for itself, Freedom Yoga has already fostered a supportive and loyal community of practitioners. Offering an easygoing and non-judgmental space, the studio welcomes students from all walks of life and levels of practice. Whether you're are looking to unload a week's worth of stress or practice balancing on your hands, there are dozens of classes to choose from.

"At Freedom Yoga, it is our desire to teach each student the connection between breath and body, to learn to trust [his or her] own intuition and feel each posture rather than find 'perfect' alignment," says owner Bridget Fiscus. "Using the asana to get into your body versus using the body to simply get into the asana [is our number one goal]."

A good start is the Essentials course, focusing on basic alignment and building simple flows to discover how the body works and feels in this grounding practice. Learning to connect proper breathing technique with movement and relieving stress through standing postures are core aspects of this class.

Another popular practice at Freedom Yoga is Vinyasa. The class teaches students various flowing movements and how to synchronize postures and breathing with the help of uplifting music. A vigorous style of yoga, Vinyasa will test your strength, balance, and flexibility while creating internal 'heat'. In fact, the room is heated to 90 degrees which helps turn up people's internal 'fire'.

"Within each class, our teachers speak to the aesthetic alignment of the posture while guiding students to notice the sensations of the pose as they move into it," Fiscus said. "Rather than simply moving from posture to posture, our intention is to get students to notice the sensations they feel in each pose."

Freedom Yoga teaches the importance of finding balance between aesthetic alignment and awareness of sensations within one's body. Rather than prioritizing one over the other, it's important to give due consideration to both.

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