Work It!

Millenium Park Offers Free Summer Exercise Sessions

Mary Kroeck

Thinking about personal fitness is hard to get away from during the summer. From “beach bods” to throngs of people playing outdoor sports, warmer weather can give one the spark needed be healthier. With that in mind, the City of Chicago wants to help people get in shape.

Every Saturday now through September 5, people can meet on the Great Lawn and be led by professional instructors in Tai Chi, Yoga, Pilates and Zumba. Live music is played as an instructor leads the crowd in a 45-minute session. The first workout, Tai Chi, begins at 7am.

Kyrie Bock, a frequent visitor of Millennium Park, has been going to summer workouts for four summers. She attended a yoga session and feels that being outdoors gives her a different feeling than her normal workout routine.

“If I was working out [somewhere else], I’d be running,” said Bock. “This is a good balance…. It’s a nice way to slow down for the summer…. Here, there’s a huge group of people. It’s a way to wind down from the work week [and] de-stress.”

Bock brought a friend with her, Lynn Schmitt, to her workout on June 13th, which was a smaller session in the park’s Wrigley Square.

“This is my first time out,” said Schmitt. “I really like yoga, but I’ve never done yoga outdoors before. This was really awesome.”

Schmitt went on to say that if she weren’t attending the session in the park, she would probably be at a yoga studio to get her exercise. However, she really appreciated being able to come out to the park and be part of a larger group.

“I like how diverse it is,” Schmitt said. “It’s all different ages, different races, men and women…. It’s very relaxing. It just feels really good.”

Lani Granum has been leading yoga sessions with summer workouts for several years. She also enjoys the large group that attends each week.

“When sessions are on the Great Lawn, there are about 500 people there each week,” said Granum, who works for Moksha Yoga.  “People come from all corners of the city. Yoga is all about connecting with nature. When you’re outdoors, you get to root down in the grass, breathe in the fresh air. It’s inspiring. You find a way of creating a community without walls.”

Millennium Park’s Great Lawn is located downtown near Michigan Avenue between Randolph and Washington near Cloud Gate (a.k.a. The Bean). There are no reservations required to participate, but attendees do need to bring their own workout gear. All workouts sessions are free and open to the public.

A crowd gathers for Saturday morning yoga on June 13, at Millennium Park. Free summer workouts take place through early Sept.
Photo taken by Mary Kroeck
A crowd gathers for Saturday morning yoga on June 13, at Millennium Park. Free summer workouts take place through early Sept.