Middleton Yogi of the Month: Pi Semrad

Pi Semrad never saw herself as a yogi until she stepped into our Middleton studio three weeks ago.

“Although I sweat a lot, I appreciate being in a heated room while working out. I feel more flexible when I’m warm. I’m beginning to understand how much effort it takes for every movement you do in Yoga. You need to stay focused , be present for the moment, and listen to how your body feels. Maintaining balance remains a challenge for me and hot yoga in general has been a humbling experience. In just a short period of time, I can already feel improvement in my endurance level. In time, I believe the obvious benefits will follow such as muscle tone, core stability improvement, strength building, stress reduction and relief.”

Pi especially enjoys the BarreAmped classes. “There’s something about this workout that’s really challenging for me. It’s the small, isolated movements and challenging postures that motivate me to try harder every class I go to.”

Pi says she is excited to come to every class she attends at Dragonfly. “Feeling good and healthy sound like a simple goal to accomplish, but oftentimes the stress of everyday life affects how we think and feel. It’s our attitude about ourself and our surroundings that will help us live our lives better. With determination, commitment, and believing in Dragonfly’s philosophy, my goal is to make a happier and healthier life and the people around me better off!”

Fitchburg Yogi of the Month: Jill McNaughton

You’ll often see Jill McNaughton in our Fitchburg studio as early as she can get there.  “I love all the early morning classes.  Which one I go to depends on my schedule and how fierce I’m feeling. I’m so thankful that Dragonfly has classes at dawn!”  Jill is currently training for her third marathon and says that the core and upper body work of a regular hot yoga practice has helped make her running easier.  “I have knocked off 45 seconds per mile in the last 7 months and I attribute every second of it to Yoga.  My balance, strength, stamina have all improved – still wouldn’t call myself flexible but nobody’s perfect!”

Jill heard about Dragonfly from the Groupon offer last summer.  “I held onto to it for 6 months until a dear friend asked me if I liked Hot Yoga… without hesitation I said, ‘I love it!’ and then wondered, ‘Why aren’t I doing it more often then!!?’  I was in your studio the next day.”  

Jill thanks Sarah, Amy, “And the other teachers I’ve dropped in on over the past 7 months for helping me get into the best shape of my life!  And mellowing me out a bit… and making me feel completely justified in having a beer every afternoon! Yay!”

New Instructor Spotlight: Suki & April

Dragonfly Hot Yoga is proud to welcome two new yoga instructors to Team Dragonfly. We chatted with Suki Warda and April Wahl about their new relationship with our studio and their love of yoga.

Dragonfly Hot Yoga: What drew you to become a yoga teacher?

Suki Warda: I was inspired to become a yoga teacher through my dear friends Fred and Richard. They pushed me to do something special for myself after having known me for 10+ years. At that time, I had never been away from my husband and children and felt guilty even thinking of going away for just a weekend. With their persistent encouragement, I signed up for Teacher Training in Hawaii with Baron Baptiste. It transformed my thoughts, perceptions, and my life. Whenever I take a full deep breath, I often think of Richard who passed away from lung failure 6 months before I completed my initial training.

April Wahl: Among so many of the great benefits of the practice, yoga helps people to feel more calm, centered, focused, connected, creative, and playful. And through the benefits of a yoga practice, people become more skilled at listening to their own heart and following their bliss in order to live their own lives more authentically. You see people become personally empowered! Seeing people grow into their bliss and discover more happiness and joy in their lives is its own reward. It has completely inspired me to teach!
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Thank You Groupon!

Here’s a story about a girl named Tiffany

(did you insert Brady Brunch theme music? If not, feel free to restart). I have to admit, I was……a groupon junkie (insert gasp). So when the first groupon for Dragonfly Fitchburg was launched last summer, my friends and I decided to give it a try. My first thought was, yoga…and it’s hot?????…Yikes, but why not? I’m just out a few dollars if this doesn’t pan out, and maybe my friends and I can make a night of it and go to BW3 or better yet, Target. I took my first flow class on a hot summer afternoon, not really knowing what to expect. I was not prepared with what I experienced within the first 10 minutes of that flow class. I was up dogging and down dogging and saluting the sun, and balancing on body parts I didn’t know were there, and yes sweating!!! I LOVED it, I was hooked.

My 10 pass groupon lasted all of a week. Then I bought another 10 class pass, then I bought a 20 class pass, and then I saw the light….and bought a membership!!! Yea, freedom!!! I could come every day if I wanted, I could try every class!! Halleluiah! Bring on the flow; whether fast, slow or chakra, bring on fusion, fire, fit, power, core, yin. There’s no stopping me now!! I was about 6 months in, and just soaking it all up, when I started thinking about becoming an instructor. I finally said it out loud to Megan, Tola, Amber and other fabulous instructors. I got nothing but support and encouragement from everyone in the Dragonfly community. My yoga practice and my peeps, gave me the strength to follow through with an amazing 200 certification course with Deb Williamson in June. So here I am, one year later after buying my groupon; teaching, growing and learning in two fabulous Dragonfly studios.

Thank you Groupon, thank you Megan, thank you to all the fabulous instructors and staff. To my Dragonfly friends old, new, and ones I have not yet met, come roll out your mat in one of my classes and ride along with me as I continue to grow and spread my wings as an instructor. Or roll out your mat next to me, and practice alongside as I continue to grow and learn as a student. Hallelujah, I’m hooked!

Practice Your Yoga Practice

“We are always practicing something and most of us practice suffering.”
-Natalie Goldman

I came across this quote while I was at a particularly frustrating time in my yoga practice. Frustrating in the sense that I was not practicing enough yoga. Oh sure, I was in the hot room 4-5 hours a day sometimes. But I was not practicing my yoga.

And as a result, I was practicing suffering.

Suffering in the way of joint pain, irritability, jealousy, short-temperedness, you name it.

Amy Weintraub, author of “Yoga for Depression,” and a senior Kripalu teacher recommends practicing yoga every day so that it is as part of your daily routine as brushing your teeth.

But how many of us can commit to practicing every single day?

Start small. Classes are a great way to hone your skills and learn from a qualified teacher, but your yoga practice doesn’t have to stop once you step off your mat.

There are many ways you can practice your yoga practice. Here are just five you can start with.
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Look Into Your Own Eyes

I recently read the book “Women, Food, And God” by Geneen Roth. In it, several women spoke about their daily eating habits and I could not believe how many of them talked about how much they hated themselves after a day of binging. How low is low? What’s rock bottom? It doesn’t have to be smashing up your car or losing your job. For me, rock bottom is when you come to the point of self hatred.

Three years ago I made a life change where I went from self hatred (or close to it) to self love. I’m not talking about egotism. I’m talking about self love, loving myself. Caring what I did to my body, my mind, my spirit. What guided me through this transition was mainly a (close to) daily practice of hot yoga.

What drew me to this particular type of yoga was the dialogue. The teacher didn’t always demonstrate, she inspired us through her words. One of her most inspiring phrases was “look into your own eyes.” I try to bring it into my classes now at Dragonfly when I teach.
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10 Things I Love About You When You Walk Into The Hot Room

1. The fact that you walked in the hot room.
We just experienced an unprecedented heatwave in Madison. That didn’t stop some of you. You walked in to the 105 degree studio from the 105 degree parking lot and sweetly exclaimed how little a difference you felt between the two.

2. Your quiet focus.
At the beginning of class during the breathing exercise, you begin to quiet your mind. You find your eyes in the mirror, you focus on your breath. Distractions may occur, but you brush these aside and keep your mind calm.

3. When you fall out of a pose, you dust yourself off and get right back into it.

Falling out of a pose is proof that you’re going beyond your comfort zone, which is magnificent! Nothing brings me more joy than to see you not take yourself too seriously when you lose your balance. You give herself a rueful grin and then get right back into the pose. How else do we learn?
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BarreAmped Will Shake You Up

You’ve heard the buzz…Dragonfly Hot Yoga’s Middleton location will be the only Barre Amped certified studio in Madison. What’s so special about Barre Amped? We chatted with instructors Carrie Johnson, Amber Thompson, and Sarah Mathis on what makes them amped about teaching BarreAmped.

Dragonfly Hot Yoga: What drew you to becoming a teacher of BarreAmped?

Amber Thompson: Many of my friends live along the coasts and they are all addicted to barre classes. I wanted to see for myself and loved my first class and knew it would be a hit at Dragonfly. I love teaching fitness classes and I know people will love the results they see.

Carrie Johnson: I was drawn to becoming a BarreAmped teacher for the method of it. It is driven from Pilates, classical and modern dance, yoga and orthopedic stretches. Having a background in all I’m able to combine all in one and this class does all that.

Sarah Mathis: I love teaching all forms of fitness and BarreAmped caught my eye because it brings a lot of these forms together. It incorporates elements of both yoga and pilates, which I love. I am very alignment-focused when I teach yoga and pilates because it helps us connect with our own body and create mindful movement. Precision, form and intention are key aspects of the BarreAmped classes, so I’m very excited to teach this!!
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