Centennial Beach has a new yoga class, and it’s a hit.
Jeanne Yorke, 66, has made Centennial Beach her second home for about 66 years. Recently, Naperville’s iconic swimming quarry has become Yorke’s outdoor yoga oasis.
Yorke joined a handful of yoga enthusiasts for Centennial Beach’s inaugural Beachside Yoga program, which met for an hour every Sunday morning June 22 through July 27.
The class, which welcomes yoga sages and novices alike, is led by Sarah Weyenberg — a yoga guru who taught classes in the sands of California’s coast before coming to the shores of Centennial Beach. Weyenberg leads the class through hatha yoga, which gently introduces students to basic yoga postures.
“It’s flow yoga,” Yorke said. “We do a lot of flowing movements, and the teacher is very energetic.”
Andrea Coates, Naperville Park District’s aquatic manager, chose the location.
“I thought Centennial Beach would be great for yoga because the setting’s so pretty,” she said. “In the morning, when no one else is there, it’s peaceful and quiet.”
Yorke was lucky to get a spot; the 20-person class filled up quickly. She says the class was an easy choice for her and the other participants.
“It’s a no-brainer,” she said. “Just being outside is a totally different experience than the studio. It’s a great way to start a Sunday morning in the fresh air.”
Yorke hasn’t always had to battle crowds for a spot at Centennial Beach. Born and raised in Naperville, Yorke recalls a time when life in the city was quieter — much quieter.
“Centennial (Beach) was the only thing to do,” she said. “We’re talking the ’50s and ’60s; there was nothing south of (Edward) Hospital. There were 7,000 people in town.”
Besides breaks for meals and sleep, Yorke spent most of her childhood summers at the beach with her brothers and sisters. The beach is in her blood: her father was a proud beach bum, growing up as Naperville resident Judge Win Knoch purchased the former quarry and transformed it into a swimming pool for the city’s 100th birthday.
Pool doesn’t accurately describe Centennial Beach, according to Yorke.
“It’s more like being in a lake,” she said. “I like that. It’s a little more wild than your typical pool. When we were kids, we would see fish that sometimes swam into the beach.”
While schools of fish have found their way to the beach before, a school of yoga students is unprecedented. Karen Olson, an instructor at Abhyaasa Yoga in downtown Naperville, says that residents should expect to see yoga spreading to new places.
“There’s a fresh demand for yoga because we’re all multi-tasking,” she said. “People are looking forward to turning their phone off and going through the process.”
A spot in Beachside Yoga costs $48 for Naperville residents or $72 for nonresidents. Anyone who missed out on this year’s course is in luck; Coates plans to continue the class next summer.Tags: Centennial Beach, fitness
Other programs at Centennial Beach:
Description: Tone muscles and increase cardiovascular fitness through various exercises while using the natural resistance and buoyancy of water. Swimming ability is not required.
Class meets from 11 to 11:50 a.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday through Aug. 22. For ages 16 and older. Cost varies.
On Saturday and Sunday mornings, from 9 to 10:55 a.m., adults ages 18 and older can swim, sun or paddle around the beach on an inner tube. Cost is $6 for Naperville residents and $10 for nonresidents or season membership.
Integrating the Zumba formula and philosophy with traditional aqua fitness disciplines provides a safe, challenging, water-based workout that’s cardio-conditioning, body toning and most of all, exhilarating.
Visit http://www.centennialbeach.org/for more information.