Chaturanga extends its reach

Herald Intern

Hyde Park’s Chaturanga Holistic Fitness, 1525 E. 55th St., hopes to bring yoga to new frontiers. The yoga business has just completed a series of six free classes in Washington Park’s Arts Incubator, 301 E. Garfield Blvd.

Romonda Bumpus, program director at Chaturanga Seeds, the offshoot which developed the series of classes, said the program’s aim was health benefits.

“Our purpose is to provide stress relief and other holistic health benefits to people who might not have access to the [Hyde Park] studio,” she said.

But for the teacher, Julia Tobiaska, the drive behind the program was philosophical. She said she believes yoga should be “universally available.”

“The fact that at times the costs of attending a yoga class can be prohibitive is — [yoga] is helpful to anyone,” Tobiaska said.

Diane Brooks, who lives near the Arts Incubator site, said that she has seen benefits from the program. When visiting the doctor, she uses breathing exercises developed in yoga to lower her blood pressure.

“I especially like this location because it’s especially convenient,” she said.

The spot is one of three locations where Chaturanga offers programs beyond Hyde Park. The others are Coppin A.M.E., 5627 S. Maryland Ave., and Coppin House Apartments, 333 E. 55th Pl.

Another participant, Bronzeville resident Paulette Jones, gets to Hyde Park regularly. She said she’s using the free program to develop flexibility for her senior dance class at the Logan Center.

“I’ve been to yoga but I don’t consistently go — I’m being more consistent this summer,” she said.