This is the third time I have been to Yoga Circle. I first attended over 10 years ago because my Iyengar teacher at the time was Gabriel Halpern’s student. I recently have returned because I have changed employment and I bought a Groupon that allowed up to 5 visits to Yoga Circle.
I have practiced yoga fairly regularly for 19 years. I have attended classes at Moksha, Nature, Bloom, Corepower, Bikram, SatNam, Bally’s, Bikram, GoTime, Nature, Om on the Range, and Kriya in Chicago. I try out places when I travel as well.
First the bad news…the location is hard to get to (for me anyway) and the hours that Gabriel teaches do not fit into a regular workday.
Now the great news…it is a two hour class that feels short because you are learning, engaging and interacting in meaningful ways with your teacher, the history of yoga through the teachings of Iyengar, and with the other students in the class. There are all types of props to help get into proper alignment including: blankets, bolsters (in many shapes), blocks, mats, ropes attached to the wall and folding chairs.
If you are serious about yoga but have never practiced Iyengar yoga then you have skipped what I consider to be the foundations of a healthy and informed lifelong yoga discipline. Iyengar breaks down the postures to minute detail, where to lift, what is in line, where to feel the breath and more.
If you have ever done shoulder stand without the Iyengar setup of props then you are missing out. The combination of blankets, mat and sometimes folding chair allows the practitioner to get into a more perfect form without the usual strain in the neck. You’ve got to try it!
Gabriel has been teaching a long time. He has experience with accommodating injuries. You will sweat, chant, be challenged, be humbled, laugh and feel invigorated. After class there is a tea station that includes, healthy fruit and tea and healthy-in-moderation chocolate and cookies!
I have only ever taken class from Gabriel at Yoga Circle. It is his studio. I have taken class from some of his students at other studios around Chicago and they too are wonderful showing that Gabriel Halpern has done a service to the future by passing on his knowledge.