Ahimsa Oak Park Student Spotlight: Cindy Klein-Banai


Meet Cindy Klein-Banai, Age 59, Oak Park

What do you do when you are off the mat?  
I lead sustainability initiatives at the University of Illinois at Chicago. In other words me and my staff facilitate projects that advance UIC’s Climate Commitments to become a Carbon Neutral, Zero Waste, Net Zero Water, and Biodiverse University. I also garden, raise hens, travel to see my three grown daughters and other family in the US and abroad.

What brought you to Ahimsa for the first time?
I had practiced yoga for a few years with a teacher at the YMCA but she left the area. I was seeking a place to continue my practice. I started coming to the free Sunday evening community classes. That must have been about five years ago.

What's your favorite thing about this studio?
The instructors first of all. As a sustainability practitioner, I love that you provide reusable cups, use chemical free mat cleaners with reusable cloths, and LED lights. I also like that I can leave my mat in the studio. Especially, I like coming in after a stressful workday and having a moment on the mat before class begins.

What is your favorite type of yoga class (hatha, yin, vinyasa, etc.) and why?
It is really hard to pick. I like the variety because I can choose what I need each week. I lean towards Hatha vinyasa and vinyasa. However, I like the Anasura yoga because the instructor brings some reflection to the class each time. Also the chanting and partnering builds community.

What is your advice for someone coming to yoga for the very first time?
Choose a beginning level class or Hatha level 1 class. Give your body and mind time to open up to the benefits of yoga. It is amazing how easy it can be to find those openings with regular practice.

What has your practice given you?
It has de-stressed my life, helped me sleep better, be a better listener, spouse, and boss. On a spiritual level the sustainability work I do comes out of my Jewish background and teachings that we, as humans, need to repair the world. Yoga helps me get past the feelings of negativity that can easily surface when looking at the scientific evidence regarding the future of human life on this planet. I can stay more focused on the present moment which ultimately helps achieve future goals.

What is your favorite pose?
It’s hard to pick. Legs up the wall is a great one for de-stressing. Tree pose when I find balance.

Tell us something unusual about yourself.
I’m fluent in Hebrew. I lived in Israel for over 10 years and two of my daughters were born there.

What 3 words would a good friend use to describe you?
You hear me

What's your guilty pleasures?
Chocolate, TV before bed

Have you made any changes in your life as a result of your practice?
Just including it in my weekly routine has changed the structure of my week. It has helped me slow down my pace and be more present. I have begun meditating.

Kelly MerydithComment