Sun Prairie Yogi of the Month: Amy Hamilton-Durian

My story begins as most fairytales do… Once upon a time a middle aged woman wandered in off the mean streets of Sun Prairie on January 30, 2018 and signed up for a membership having no history or expectations of what yoga actually was or the impact it would have on my life. I had been working with a personal trainer for several years but he had decided to take a new career path which essentially forced me into trying something new. I run daily, but have always supplemented that task with something else and I figured I would give Dragonfly a whirl. As simple as it sounds I was driving on Grand Avenue and saw the sign. Yoga was totally out of my comfort zone as I always associated people who practice yoga as calm, spiritual, kind, flexible and mindful of others. None of those things describe me. I’m loud, unfocused, selfish and extremely non bendy. (My mantra is I’ve got the flexibility and mouth of a trucker.) That faithful January night Pete was at the front desk and without his kindness I may have turned around and exited the building as quickly as I had entered. What sealed the deal for me was Pete basically guaranteed that yoga would make me a better runner and help with the knee pain I had begun to experience. Sign me up! In the beginning I was very fortunate and thankful to have practiced with the likes of Bekah, Anna, Beth and Sam. (and countless others along the way.) That top tier talent helped build a foundation and gave me the tools to keep growing in my practice. For the next two years I was consistently taking Flow and Barre classes 4 to 5 days a week and things were good in my world.

And then COVID hit… everything went to sh*t in a shopping cart. It seemed all aspects of my life had to be reinvented. I’m not certain of many things but I can tell you that familiarity, continuity and accountability is what gives me comfort. My mat is in the same spot each class, my girl Eden is right next to me and Paul on the other side. (Whether he wants to be part of my posse or not. LOL) and signing up for the classes in advance keeps me in check. The simple things I look forward to is knowing that Dani (my little yoga Goddess) will talk to me in her soothing voice on Tuesday nights and it somehow calms my tortured soul or how I’m convinced my Queen Nicole is trying to break me both mentally and physically during Yoga Up simply for her own enjoyment (Oddly enough hearing her laugh melts away the pain and suffering). None of this Utopia existed during COVID and I was a bit lost to say the least with no daily routine. I know Dfly tried to adapt and adjust best they could by implementing online classes but I couldn’t do it and slowly my body began to suffer. I always felt out of alignment as though things just weren’t in the right spot. After I would complete my runs I was extremely sore. It was even getting tough just walking up the stairs. My mind wouldn’t quiet… the list could go on and on. Flash forward two years and FINALLY things started to look up at the beginning of January. It was time to re-enter society as everything was falling into place. The vaccine was coursing through my veins, the mask mandate was lifted and my membership to Dfly was back up and running. I’m just shy of my 400th class and truth be told it’s just as hard today as it was on the first day of my yoga journey back in 2018. This yoga stuff is tough and it’s work and a lot of days it’s not something I particularly enjoy if I’m being honest, but I know in order to stay balanced and to feel good I have to keep doing it. I kid you not, the best part of my day is when I hear the words “there is no more work to be done. Savasana.” Sprinkles on the cupcake is the cool scented towel for sure and makes the anguish I just experienced for the previous hour all the worthwhile. TOWELS. MANDATORY. Enough said.

In Summary…..

I’m flawed and have an abundance of imperfections.

Honesty is my super power.

I try really hard to be kind, but sometimes it just doesn’t land.

The Dragonfly family has been so gracious and accepting of me and for that I am very appreciative.

I’m blessed.

Middleton Yogi of the Month: McKayla Trotter

How did you get started at Dfly? What was your yoga/barreamped experience before Dfly?
I started Dfly in 2018 when a co-worker of mine introduced me, and as they say… the rest is history! I had absolutely no experience with yoga before that first class in 2018.

What do you enjoy most from attending Dfly classes?
There are so many amazing things about Dfly! What I enjoy most is the supportive, kind, and passionate community. Right when I walk in the door, I immediately feel the loving and passionate energy of the people and the space. I love the many physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual benefits I’ve felt since that first day. The teachers are knowledgeable, kind, dedicated, and genuine. They’ve taught me a very important life lesson, which I’m still learning to this day – Yoga is about more than moving your body in this shape versus that shape – it’s about becoming fully embodied & taking that knowledge with you out into the world so we can be our absolute best selves.

Have you experienced any changes in your total well-being since taking classes?
Yoga has completely changed my life. Because of Dragonfly, I am now a certified yoga teacher! Being a yoga teacher means a lot to me, and I wouldn’t have ever thought about it if it wasn’t for my experiences at Dragonfly. I utilize yoga every single day of my life both mentally and physically. Yoga brought me to my dream job. Yoga has taught me to be calm amidst chaos. Yoga helps me create mental clarity daily. Yoga has taught me much about my body. Yoga has taught me many life lessons that I utilize every day. Yoga has improved my flexibility, balance, strength, endurance, and so much more. Yoga has taught me mindfulness, how to breathe through hard things/times, how to stay present, how to let go, how to handle stress, frustration, self-doubt, and many emotions we all experience daily. Yoga has reduced physical symptoms bringing me anger and frustration, such as inflammation. Yoga has improved my sleep. Yoga has improved my self-esteem, self-compassion, and self-love. Yoga has improved my posture.

There are so many amazing benefits – I have changed for the better because of yoga! I take class 4-5 times a week, at least! I love Suki’s 7:00 AM flow and Anna’s 9:00 AM flow. However, I find amazing things within every class I take at Dragonfly.

Please feel free to share any other thoughts you have about Dfly, hot yoga, or your life as we would love to know more about you.
A little about me: I live in Verona with my boyfriend and our cat & dog. I am the youngest of 3 – I have a twin brother. I am musically talented. I love going for walks. I really enjoy Broadway & country music. I love food. I love drinking water. I am a certified recreational therapist at Creative Forces Therapy in Madison working with kids and teens. It’s absolutely my dream job. Being a recreational therapist with a yoga teacher certification has shown me how important body-based modalities are to people healing & growing. Yoga has given me the knowledge and experience to be the best therapist I can be for my clients and families. My journey to embodiment and healing is one that wouldn’t have happened without Dragonfly. If you want to learn about life, your health, your body, and you’re willing to be/try to be vulnerable then I highly recommend that you give this amazing place a chance. Last but not least, you will sweat A LOT! Sweating out the toxins while engaging in such a powerful practice is so transformative. It’s something everybody should experience at least once in their lifetime. You will not regret your decision!

And always remember, Yoga is for everybody. If you’re too frightened to try, let me be your motivation. You can do this!

Instructor Suki Warda: “It is an honor to have McKayla’s presence in class. Her practice exudes steadiness and ease. Her steadiness shows up as dedication, deep listening, and a courageous spirit. Her ease is expressed in kindness, grace, & a deep understanding beyond the poses we do. Thank you McKayla for being a beautiful peaceful warrior!”

Fitchburg Yogi of the Month: Sophie Brandsetter

How did you get started at Dfly?
I actually came to Dragonfly with my aunt a few times around 2010 and it always stuck with me. When I was looking to change up my fitness routine last year, I joined again and I’ve been a yogi ever since.

What was your yoga/barreamped experience before Dfly?
See above: I also took a few trial classes at other yoga studios, but I didn’t see the same impact as hot yoga.

What do you enjoy most from attending Dfly classes?
I enjoy carving time out for myself and to wind down from my busy corporate days. I always know I’m coming to a warm (literally and emotionally) and accepting environment where I can challenge myself appropriately.

Have you experienced any changes in your total well-being since taking classes?
My flexibility is back at my teenage ballet dancer level- especially my hips and back! Emotionally, it really helps release any physical or mental tension and can make my day/mood almost instantly lighter.

How often do you attend classes? Favorite class?
My goal is to come to class 3-4 times a week but during a busy week, I attend about two classes. My favorite class is 5:30 on Thursdays with Kristen because it is challenging. I also like Saturday mornings with Jonathan because he’s intense and it sparks my entire weekend. I also can’t go wrong with a Cassie or Rachel class because they are rays of bright, positive sunshine. :)

Please feel free to share any other thoughts you have about Dfly, hot yoga, or your life as we would love to know more about you.
I’m just about to hit my 100 class mark at my one-year Dfly anniversary!

Instructor Cassie Everhart: “Sophie is such a pleasure to have in class! I don’t think I have ever seen her walk into the studio without a huge smile on her face. She always makes sure to ask how the front desk person is doing as well as the instructor. As for in class Sophie is always willing to try new things yet has no ego about the practice if she falls she laughs at herself and tries again, long story short Sophie is a delight and very deserving of title of YOM!”

Downtown Yogi of the Month: Beth Piliouras

How did you get started at Dfly?
In the summer of 2020, my partner’s daughter recommended Dfly On Demand because she knew I had started practicing yoga at home while everything shut down due to COVID. In the summer of 2021 she invited me to go with her to an in-person Yoga Up class and I’ve been hooked on the in-person classes since then. I still use Dfly On Demand to supplement my workouts if I miss classes or I’m on vacation.

What was your yoga/BarreAmped experience before Dfly?
Not much. I had been going to the gym regularly when COVID hit. Even when the gyms started opening back up in a limited basis, my family wasn’t that comfortable and so I decided to try yoga. I found a series on YouTube that I liked that taught Vinyasa, but the number of videos was limited. I tried the Dfly On Demand free 14-day intro and just kept going with it.

What do you enjoy most from attending Dfly classes?
The challenge and the people. The instructors and yogis are always friendly and I feel better after every class I take because of that comradery.

Have you experienced any changes in your total well-being since taking classes?
Absolutely. Dragonfly classes are my “me time.” I have two kids and work full-time. When I’m in the classes I don’t think about what needs to get done when I leave, I just think about how I can challenge myself in the 45-60 minutes that I’m there and, perhaps more importantly, what I can do better because of classes I’ve attended. Dragonfly is a great place to connect and to sweat out issues of the day. I can truly say that Dragonfly got me through COVID. I not only lost weight and gained strength, but kept my sanity and met a lot of great people in the process!

How often do you attend classes? Favorite class?
I usually go to five classes a week at all of the locations depending on what works out for my schedule. I don’t have a favorite class. Every teacher has a different format and it’s always to my benefit. I’ve done the Up classes, core classes, flow and barre classes.

Please feel free to share any other thoughts you have about Dfly, hot yoga, or your life as we would love to know more about you.
At 46, this is the most fit I’ve ever been and I don’t plan to stop exploring new physical challenges. I never thought of myself as a fitness “class” person, but Dfly has made me see otherwise. And I’ve fallen for the same obsession that so many have in “hot” fitness. There’s just nothing else like it.

I’ve lived in the Madison area for almost 30 years (gasp!), and currently live in Monona with my partner, two kids, two dogs and a cat (although we did have 28 rats at one point). I like to mountain bike, kayak and garden in the summer. I swear that I’m moving to an island one of these days, but midwest springs and summers always keep me.