Rustic Retreat

Dec 06, 2017

Yoga at the Cabin connects mind and body with nature

A narrow wooded drive leads the way off Schaumburg Road to a serene setting.

In the rear-view mirror, lights and traffic become smaller, slowly fading on approach to a historic log cabin. Inside, a small group is rolling out yoga mats in preparation for an hour of tranquility and transformation. 


This is Schaumburg Park District’s Weekly Yoga at the Cabin, offered Tuesday and Thursday nights in the Merkle Cabin at Spring Valley Nature Center, 1111 E. Schaumburg Road. One of the District’s longest-running programs, Yoga at the Cabin is rooted in the connection between health and wellness and the idyllic scenery Spring Valley provides.

“Yoga fits in really well with nature,” said Spring Valley Education Coordinator Mary Rice. “Both have a calming effect on people and the Merkle Cabin is such a perfect and unique location.”

On this particular evening, Instructor Mark Marcello is leading the class, taking participants through his Himalayan style of teaching. He begins with the “Makarasana” or crocodile pose to facilitate and strengthen breathing.

“Concentrate on your breath,” Marcello, of Carpentersville, tells his students. “Don’t get caught up listening to external stimuli.” 

All experience levels are welcome—from seasoned yogis to novice newcomers. Although she’s done yoga in the past, Lisa DiMartino of Schaumburg only recently joined the sessions at Merkle Cabin. The experience has been cathartic.

“I love this class,” DiMartino said. “I feel so relaxed after being here at the cabin.”

A yoga instructor more than 20 years, Marcello began teaching Weekly Yoga at the Cabin sessions in 2016. He reminds participants of the relation between mind and body, explaining the ways various poses improve use of muscles and joints, while preventing chronic conditions such as peripheral neuropathy. Marcello said his goal is to help his students live longer, healthier lives and move freely without pain.

“Yoga is designed to enhance mental, physical and spiritual strength,” he said. “My hope is for people to do yoga to improve their overall health and wellness.” 

Many longtime participants are drawn to the program’s unique location. Participants take a secluded entrance next to the nature center to access the cabin in the evenings. During colder months, a wood-burning fireplace roars to life, creating a cozy atmosphere.

“It even smells like a log cabin,” said Gina Crance of Schaumburg. “We just leave here feeling completely rejuvenated both physically and emotionally.”

Weekly Yoga at the Cabin is offered year-round, with new sessions starting Jan. 2. Registration is available online. For more information, call (847) 985-2100 

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