Give Yoga a Go

Appears in the September 2022 issue.

Sure, by now, we all know the basic benefits of yoga, but you still may be on the fence about actually trying it. Fortunately, a variety of programs are making yoga more accessible and appealing to a wide range of fitness levels.

“Yoga is a journey—it doesn’t matter if you can’t do everything right away,” explains Rishin Pandya, who co-owns the recently opened YogaSix studio in Naperville with longtime friend Pritesh Patel. Both have spent much of their lives regularly practicing yoga as an integral part of their cultural upbringing. The pair’s ultimate goal is for people to understand that yoga is for everyone and that nobody should feel intimidated. 

Whether you’re looking for stress relief and relaxation, increased flexibility and strength, deep stretching, injury recovery, or high-intensity training, match a program and instructor to your starting point and goals. You’ll find formats catering to every fitness level—and every comfort level, from 100-plus-degree hot yoga to room-temperature options. 

Once you find your comfort zone—and whether it’s in a large class or a small-group session and whatever the frequency or intensity—it’s OK to start slowly on your yoga journey. Pandya hopes newbies realize that there’s much more to yoga, both mentally and physically, than they might have originally thought. “I’ve always believed in the physical benefits of yoga,” says Pandya, who credits the practice with helping him overcome back pain developed over years in a desk job and knee pain from a sports injury. 

Patel, a radiologist at UChicago Medicine, believes yoga can help ease pandemic-induced anxieties: “I saw this as a chance to both heal people in my day job while creating a forum for ongoing healing through meditation and yoga to really tackle the mental health issues that I thought were kind of underrepresented in a lot of the talk surrounding the pandemic.”

It’s all about building links and strengthening bonds. “Yoga is about connection,” Pandya adds. “It’s about connecting mind and body. It’s about connecting with our breath. And for us, the studio is also a place to connect and come together. A lot of us lost a sense of community being online so much during the pandemic, and we think this is a great way to try and rebuild some of that.”  

Photo courtesy of YogaSix