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Down the Garden Path

Take yoga at the Chicago Botanic Gardens or the Museum of Contemporary Art, and you'll see the asanas in a whole new way.

By Jaimal Yogis

At a recent Dan Flavin exhibition at Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art, visitors wandered from magenta-colored rooms to lemon yellow galleries, all of them illuminated by the artist's trademark fluorescent lights, before making their way to the ground floor for a yoga class. Moving through the asanas, the yogis created a glow of their own.

Practicing in such an inspiring setting is becoming more common in Chicago now that both the museum and the Botanic Gardens offer yoga classes. Those who practice at the gardens can bask in a jasmine-scented greenhouse amid tropical orchids, a Japanese garden laced with meandering streams, or a triple-terraced sculpture garden overlooking Lake Michigan. "Part of the experience is the walk from the entrance to class," says Steve Nakon, who teaches classes at both institutions. "It's transformational."

The unique environments inspire people who wouldn't normally do yoga to give it a try. "We get a lot of first-timers," he says. Nine classes at the Botanic Gardens will cost you $155 ($105 for members). At the museum, 10 classes are $160 ($135 for members). Visit,, or www.

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