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Our Story

With locations established in 2004 in both Chicago's Wicker Park neighborhood and Oak Park's Arts District, Nature Sanctuary has been a bright light in the yoga community for over a decade. Students will feel right at home with our experienced, welcoming yoga teachers and staff. Please join us for a class or workshop any time and stay for tea or to browse in our storefront boutique.

 

Our Locations

Our Oak Park location, originally founded under the name of Yoga Trek and located across the street from our current home, has been owned by Gopi since 2013. When the original Nature Yoga Sanctuary location in Wicker Park joined the family in 2016, the decision was ultimately made to unite the two locations under one name and Nature Yoga Sanctuary Oak Park was born. Our Wicker Park location, located just west of Damen on Division has a dedicated yoga room and a beautiful retail space. Our Oak Park location on Harrison St in the heart of the Oak Park Arts District contains a vegan cafe (open all day) along with a well-stocked retail space and a yoga room. Both of our locations offer a variety of yoga classes, workshops, special events, and teacher training opportunities.

 

Our Staff

The team at Nature Yoga Sanctuary is varied and skilled. From our teachers to desk staff, cafe staff, and managers, we hope you will feel welcomed and right at home during your time with us. Unique in our industry, our entire staff is made up of paid employees. We highly value the work that people put in to make our space special and strive to treat everyone who works for us fairly. By classifying our staff as employees rather than independent contractors or "trade for" volunteers, tax burdens are distributed more fairly and our staff benefits from existing labor laws including sick time and more. This leads to much higher operating costs for us than some other similar businesses, but is something that we feel strongly about continuing.

 

Our Values

Whoever you are, we hope that you will feel so welcome at Nature Yoga Sanctuary. We strive to create a space that is safe and comfortable for everyone who walks in the door. Both of our locations contain unisex/all gender single-stall bathrooms and our Prenatal Yoga classes are open to all pregnant persons regardless of gender identity. The language that we employ strives to remain free from body shaming or health shaming. We employ the use of "adjustment consent cards" in all of our classes so that clear communication is simple and students who wish not to be touched for any reason will have no difficulty in making their needs known. You will only ever find vegan and cruelty free products for sale in our shops and cafe. We are open to new ways of approaching and addressing issues of diversity and welcome any feedback that you may be willing to offer in this regard.

 

Our Owner

Gopi Om is first and foremost a student of yoga, studying primarily with her Guru, Sri Dharma Mittra. In addition to owning and operating Nature Yoga Sanctuary, Gopi works full time as the Vice President of international natural foods company, Upton's Naturals, which is owned by her boyfriend, Daniel Staackmann. Gopi and Dan spend nearly all of their waking hours together and share ideas, responsibilities, and a strong work ethic that has led them to jointly operate Upton's Naturals, vegan restaurant Upton's Breakroom, Nature Yoga Sanctuary Wicker Park, and Nature Yoga Sanctuary & Cafe Oak Park. This family of businesses is focused on spreading compassion through availability of vegan food options and ethical treatment of all.

 

In The Media

"At Oak Park's Nature Yoga Sanctuary & Café, where healthy living and cruelty free eating are a way of life, patrons can get the best of both worlds." - Yoga and Waffles, Wednesday Journal

"The café is the very first all-vegan restaurant in the Oak Park neighborhood. Their menu offers a variety of sandwiches, salads, rice bowls, waffles and drinks that even non-vegans will enjoy!" - Find Your Balance in Mind, Stomach and Soul at Nature Yoga Sanctuary Café in Oak Park, Chicago Food Magazine

"I crap you not, Paul, I think that this is one of the best waffles that I've ever actually had in my life." - Andy on Episode 141 of The Bearded Vegans

"I don’t want to guilt anyone into being here… I don’t want to use these negative things to try to get people in the door, so that then they feel bad about themselves, so then they come here. I want people to come here and feel good, and so that’s why they come back… That approach is just not for me. I’m just not interested in making people feel badly." - Gopi on Scapi Radio Episode 07.12.18