If you can’t take a year off to follow Liz Gilbert’s “Eat, Pray, Love” footsteps around the world, don’t worry—you can “let yourself go” right here.
During her quest to find herself, Liz gained 10 pounds eating her way through Italy’s pasta, gelato and more. So go ahead and indulge a bit in the name of self-exploration! Here are our Dining Editor’s top restaurant picks:
Bistro Bordeaux, Evanston (French)
DMK Burger Bar, Chicago (Burgers)
Abigail’s, Highland Park (American)
You don’t need to go to an ashram in India to reach spiritual nirvana. There are numerous local meditation workshops—not to mention inspiring views of nature—that can help you inject some tranquility into the busy fall season ahead. Here are just a few.
Tsogyaling Meditation Center at the Heartwood Center for Mind, Body and Spirit (Evanston)
Unwind before the weekend Buddha-style at this hour-long meditation class at 6 p.m. on Fridays. Recommended donation is $10. The center focuses on the healing aspects of Tibetan Buddhism and is a member of the Heartwood Center, a leader in holistic health care. First-timers welcome. There are short breaks between the 5- to 10-minute sittings.
Learn more at evanstonmeditation.org
Ramaa Krishnan, a native of India, teaches meditation and Kundalini Yoga along with lessons in self-awareness. She started her practice out of her home years ago, sharing wisdom from India and teaching other moms how to apply the principles to their busy lives. The studio offers drop-in meditation classes as well as longer classes and workshops.
Learn more at fullbloomedlotus.com.
The DeKoven Center (Racine, Wisc.)
This retreat and conference center is located on an 11-acre wooded campus on Lake Michigan. The center is offering “An Autumn Quiet Day for Busy Women” on October 13 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The retreat is led by Rev. Holly Whitcomb, a minister in the United Church of Christ. For more information, visit the website.
Cabrini Retreat Center (Des Plaines)
Cabrini Retreat Center welcomes groups and individuals of all faiths for meetings, retreats and times of personal prayer. Watch for upcoming retreats at cabrinicenter.org or organize your own.
Sanctuary Yoga (Highwood)
Sanctuary often offers meditation classes and workshops, in addition to its challenging yoga classes. The Mindful Hour, for instance, is an opportunity to breathe, get centered, and return “to the ground of your being,” with the help of breathing techniques, relaxation and mantras. (The studio is offering $50 for unlimited classes during the week of August 23-29—sign up for a class on their website, starting August 16, to get the offer at checkout).
There are few things more serene than the lakefront we have right here in our backyard—and Ft. Sheridan beach is 100% free! This overlooked spot is a great place to ride a bike to, and the military base right there might prompt you to meditate on our freedoms (or, rendez-vous with a man in uniform!)
Summer in the suburbs feels a lot like Bali, where Liz met her Latin lover. Need to add a little romance to your life? Look no further.
As Liz did all those exciting things, she wrote about them—culminating in the book so many of us enjoyed.
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