Studio brings yoga to Englewood

CHICAGO (WLS) -- It seems that there is no shortage of yoga studios throughout the city, but in some communities, access to yoga is hard to come by. One program is changing that, with a class in Englewood.

Stretching and strengthening, a weekly challenge for these yoga students who attend the class every Wednesday.

It's through a program called Yoga-Care taught at a facility in Englewood.

Greg van Hyfte is one of the founders of Yoga-Care who saw a need to make the physical and emotional benefits of yoga more accessible to an underserved community.

"We know there's a 20-year life discrepancy between lower-income communities and higher income communities here in Chicago," he said. "We also know that yoga can help with 75 different health conditions that have been researched."

Chronic back pain brought Dorla Smith to yoga. She's been practicing on and off for a year and has noticed a difference.

"I am so much more flexible that some of the poses I could not even reach because of the stiffness in my back and I am just reaching them today, it's really good," she said.

Smith also says that by the class being in Englewood, she doesn't have to travel outside of her community to take yoga.

That convenience is what brought Michael Dickens to the class.

He says yoga has both a healing and calming effect on him and encourages more people to try it.

"I would like to see more men," he said. "I don't see a lot of black men at least in my circles. I don't know if men think it's a women's endeavor."

Yoga-Care is sponsored by Community-Health the largest free health clinic in the country.

A spokesperson for Community-Health says their clients who take the yoga class have become very attached to it.

"I think it makes them feel good that they are taking steps to take charge of their own health, but it's also something they enjoy," said Laura Starr.

Community Health also has a location in the West Town neighborhood.

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