Middleton Yogi of the Month: Amy Pophal

My first experience with Yoga was a huge disaster. Prior to my classes at Dragonfly, I had never attended a Hot yoga class before and my very well meaning neighbor talked me into going with her to a Flow class at a different studio. It was 100+ degrees in the yoga room and I lasted all of five minutes before I surrendered to the heat and laid on my mat for the remainder of the class. I literally thought I was going to melt before the class was over. After that experience I was really put off by Hot Yoga and was in no hurry to return.

In 2012, I was experiencing uncomfortable muscle tightness in my shoulders, back and hips and decided to try Yin (in the mild room) to see if that would help decrease my discomfort and pain. I took one class and was hooked. I started by adding more Yin to my schedule and eventually decided that Yin in the Hot Room would be beneficial. After that I branched out and tried Cardio Barre, Flow and Slow Flow. Eventually, life took over and I didn’t take time for myself and my overall health suffered including a weight gain of forty pounds.

After the pandemic and retirement, I decided to focus on my health. I lost sixty pounds and then came back to Dragonfly to build muscle and set up an exercise plan to keep myself healthy and in shape. I attend a variety of classes each week. I love Mary Leigh, Lindsey and LeAnn’s Cardio Barre/Barre Classes because the classes are always different and keep me on my toes as well as give me a great workout. I work on my core by attending Chanelle’s Core Flow class at least once a week. I schedule Yin into my schedule as much as possible. Fran’s Aroma Yin is a Sunday afternoon staple for me and I enjoy Mari’s Yin on Monday nights.

When I complete a class at Dragonfly I feel so many emotions. Pride in myself for taking control of my health and having the chance to participate in so many types of exercise that I never thought I would ever be able to do again. A huge sense of accomplishment for setting a goal and taking steps to make gains in that goal. I also feel a sense of emotional and physical strength for taking time for myself and my health which makes me a better person in all areas of my life. I look forward to all my classes at Dragonfly and am excited to see how they change my life in the future.

Instructor Lindsey Loeffler: “Amy is such a positive presence in class. She is now a regular and a staple in all of our barre classes! I have loved watching her grow in her strength and confidence over the past few months. Not only is she a rockstar at the barre, but she is always building everyone up and helps to keep the class going. I’m so thankful that’s she’s a barrefly!”

Downtown Yogi of the Month: Darian Carter

How did you get started at Dfly?
I got started at Dragonfly over the summer when I had an internship in Madison and was looking for a new place to work out while I didn’t have access to campus amenities.

What was your yoga or barre experience before Dfly?
I had tried a few barre classes before Dfly and had a membership to a hot yoga studio back at home, but only went twice a week.

What do you enjoy most about attending Dfly classes?
I love the feeling of relaxation I get from every class at the end, they always manage to put me in a good mood and clear my mind in times of stress.

Have you experienced any changes in your total well-being since taking classes?
I have started to feel much more relaxed and in tune with my emotions since Dragonfly classes give me more time to think and reflect. I have also felt a lot stronger and more active since I’m on a more consistent schedule with classes.

How often do you attend classes? Favorite class?
I try to attend classes 4-5 times a week and mix up which classes I attend. I like going to two workout-type classes and at least two classes that are more calming.

I love all of the classes I attend but my favorite workout class is probably Laura’s yoga up, and my favorite relaxing class is either a core flow or regular flow!

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 love to come to yoga with my friends because I feel like it’s a great workout and a very non-judgmental environment. Dragonfly’s staff is always so friendly and eager to help their yogis, which makes it easier for me to convince my friends to join me!

I am from Park City, Utah, and am an avid skier and have grown up ski racing. I feel like yoga has helped keep me in shape and protect me from potential injuries during the ski season.

Sun Prairie Yogi of the Month: J. Ritchie

How did you get started at Dfly?
Over time you hear about the benefits of yoga and wonder how to get started. Jumping into any yoga studio can be an anxious experience, especially since my age is a little older than 99% of the yogis. Fellow YotM Tara had recently begun at DragonFly and recommended trying Dragonfly Hot Yoga despite my anxiety. Tara encouraged me to stick with it and DragonFly teachers have been exceptionally welcoming and supportive.

What was your yoga and barre experience before Dfly?
I had tried a few classes elsewhere but never took it any further, just did not feel comfortable.

What do you enjoy most from attending Dfly classes?
Camaraderie and learning with the teachers and yogis. Yoga by yourself is not the same as learning and developing in a supportive class environment. While I believe I might be a primary source for teacher-to-yogi comments about improving form and trying alternative options, I continue to learn in each and every class.

Dragonfly clearly demonstrates that learning from each other expands our horizons and improves our futures. I rely and thrive on the energy, recharging, and health provided with the teachers, staff, yogis, environment and convenient class experience. And the Yoga Up and Power Up classes further develop physical strength and endurance.

Have you experienced any changes in your total well-being since taking classes?
Yoga is my primary indoor physical and mental activity. I have become very dependent, relying on DragonFly for my mental and physical health and will adjust my schedule to accommodate class timing.

How often do you attend classes? Favorite class?
I feel incomplete and deficient if I do not participate in 5 or more classes a week. Difficult to pick a favorite because all classes provide growth and I work my schedule around attending as many classes as possible.

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.
Even with the COVID interruption, nearly six years have passed and now almost 800 classes later, I am wondering what the future holds. I will always treasure the wonderful Dfly experience and the friendships made and know it will be impossible to duplicate anywhere else.

Middleton Yogi of the Month: Kyle Wilson

I began taking classes in January 2017. I was working out at the gym a lot and I wanted a complement to that routine. I thought yoga was a good choice because it would help me improve my balance, static strength, and flexibility.

My first experience with yoga was a class in college. I didn’t take it seriously then and I wish I would have kept with it.

I enjoy the feeling of relaxation after class even though I had just finished a hard workout. I also find relief from anxiety/stress at class and enjoy the mental aspect.

I suffered a minor knee injury before joining Dragonfly. Since I began practicing yoga regularly I have improved my balance on that leg and no longer experience any pain. My posture has significantly improved as well.

I try to attend at least 3 times a week. I enjoy all the Flow classes. I get an effective workout in Flow classes, but I am not pushed too hard and I feel refreshed after class.

I work as a Computer Engineer in West Middleton. I like the Middleton location because of its proximity to work but also because of all the classes offered there and the instructors that teach them.

Instructor Suki Warda: “Kyle epitomizes the balance of effort and ease. “STHIRA SUKHAM ASANAM”.
He brings to practice sincerity, strength, and kindness. The room gets energized through his focus, intentional listening and easygoing attitude. For being as strong and agile as he is, Kyle remains grounded and lighthearted. He is a joy to be around.”

Fitchburg Yogi of the Month: Michelle Peters

How did you get started at Dfly?
I have lived with back and neck pain for years from daily computer work and poor posture. Then about a year ago I had to have a heart valve repaired and the sternotomy left me with more upper body muscle tightness and pain so I decided to try massage therapy for some relief. My massage therapist recommended hot yoga as she thought it would help as well. I tried to resist her suggestion, but after she strongly recommended it a second time, I decided to give it a try.

What was your yoga/barre experience before Dfly? What do you enjoy most from attending Dfly classes?
I had absolutely no experience with yoga prior to this. In fact, this is the first time in over 30 years I’ve actually attended group exercise classes as in general it is not something I am comfortable with. I’ve always been one to exercise on my own at home. The heat! Don’t get me wrong, everyone here is very welcoming and friendly and the teachers are great, but I am pretty sure without the heat it wouldn’t be the same for me. The heat really allows me to relax and move a little easier.

Have you experienced any changes in your total well-being since taking classes?
Overall, I have less upper body pain from stretching my muscles regularly and building my strength and flexibility. Having the opportunity with some of the classes to find mindfulness and let go of the daily stress and anxiety that life brings has helped me a lot.

How often do you attend classes? Favorite class?
I usually attend seven classes a week and wish there was time for more. I take a variety of classes including yoga-up, power-up, barre, flow, slow flow, and yin. It would be difficult to pick one favorite class as I enjoy them all and feel all the instructors here at Dragonfly are great. I love the variety of classes offered as it allows me to have a well-balanced exercise routine. However, I guess my favorite would be Shawn’s Yin class as it brings my body and mind the total relaxation it needs.

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 still getting used to the empty nest syndrome and realizing one positive of it is that I finally have the time for myself that I didn’t have while the kids were young and at home. Although starting classes at Dragonfly definitely took me out of my comfort zone and most classes I still keep to myself, I’m thankful to have found this community and the great physical and mental benefits it has brought me.

Instructor Belle Karls: “Michelle is incredibly committed to her fitness and yoga journey here at Dragonfly. She has tried nearly every class we offer – sometimes even going to multiple classes in the same day! It’s been a joy to see her in my barre class each week and I hope to see her in many more to come.”

Sun Prairie Yogi of the Month: Lavina Harjani

How did you get started at Dfly?
About 10 years ago, my friend suggested we both take a class at the new yoga studio that just opened close to her house in Fitchburg. She had taken a class and loved it. There was only one Dfly studio back then, now I’m so proud we’ve grown to four.

What was your yoga/Barre experience before Dfly?
I started hot yoga at a nice studio in town. I switched once I started at Dfly about 10 years ago, I never went back to the other studio. Three things that stood out about Dfly are friendly customer service, clean, and well trained, personable and fun instructors.

What do you enjoy most from attending Dfly classes?
I love so many things about Dfly, starting from the welcome when I first walk in, to the time I walk out the door feeling refreshed. The studio has a lounge relaxing atmosphere. I love that! If I were to pick one unique thing about Dfly, the hot temp/heat is not like any other hot yoga studios I’ve been to, it does not give me a headache; I don’t feel like I’m getting toasted or cooked.

Have you experienced any changes in your total well-being since taking classes?
Oh yes, definitely!!! In so many ways!

How often do you attend classes? Favorite class?
My goal is once a day but with work, travel and some lazy WI weather, that’s not possible; so perhaps on average it’s 3 times per week. I love all classes, hard to say what is my favorite. I do enjoy barre since I don’t get to do it often due to my schedule. I feel great satisfaction after yoga up. Hot yoga is always refreshing. And yin, is just like a free massage.

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.
My birthday gift for myself is taking that day off so I can take whatever yoga classes I want. My birthday gifts from my family is yoga time. From my husband, he too would take the day off and join me do yoga on my birthdays. And starting last year, I ask my children to give me the gift of 10 hours of yoga sweat. I buy them a 10 class pass :) they need to use them up.

Middleton Yogi of the Month: Angela Bozo

How did you get started at Dfly?
I was gifted a 10 class pass from a friend and we attended a few classes together. I had practiced yoga previously but never in the heat.

What is/was your yoga/barre experience before Dfly?
I have been practicing yoga on and off for about 14 years. My first classes were Hatha and then Shadow Yoga (modern yogis) all at Yoga Shala in Portland, OR. When we moved to Wisconsin I started to use a yoga app to practice at home and then pandemic and so it’s been great to get back to a studio.

What do you enjoy most from attending Dfly classes?
Well, I love the heat as well as every instructor I have experienced thus far. I also like the idea of a yoga community. I have yet to actually connect beyond simple small talk with anyone in a class but I like the energy of practicing in a group.

Have you experienced any changes in your total well-being since taking classes?
Coming back to a studio feels like a return to self. I have kids and they have required a lot of energy and time– joining and going to classes is a wonderfully selfish, take care of me act. Sure, my youngest just turned 8 but I am still having moments of “Who was I before motherhood? What did I like?”

How often do you attend classes? Favorite class?
I strive to come 4 times a week. My favorite class is Kay’s 10:30am Saturday morning class. I love that studio with the windows and Kay is amazing. I am happy to “take what I need and need what I take” and I believed her immediately when she said it. I appreciate her commitment to adding a little dharma to our practice and she radiates positive vibes.

When my classes were running out and I was unsure about joining, I overheard Kyle tell someone that he was starting 5:30am classes and I knew that I needed to join and attend those classes. I love coming to yoga half asleep and practicing before I do very much else. He is also amazing and I have really felt awesome on those Tuesdays and Thursdays. As he suggests, I do tell myself thank you for waking up and making this happen– it is not always easy.

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 practice on the mat, but I also try to practice in my life in general – I read the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali every day and would love to be more committed to all 8 limbs. One of my early yoga instructors turned me on to Richard Freeman’s Yoga Matrix and I still listen to the CDs (yes, CDs!) and feel inspired by the sheer depths of practice available. As an American woman in her 40s, I feel more comfortable in my skin than I ever have (the magic of 40? I think so) and I am so stoked to be doing something that makes me sweat and strong and never makes me want to get on a scale or measure my “success”. I love the clarity and focus that come with practice and I hope to continue on this journey with Dragonfly! Thank you!

Instructor Kay Lera: “Angela is dedicated to her practice. She “gets” how to do yoga. She practices with purpose and seems to know when to notch it up as well as when to take it easy. Well deserved, thank you for your positive energy!”

Fitchburg Yogi of the Month: Terri Parnell

How did you get started at Dfly?
I saw an advertisement for Dfly hot yoga in Fitchburg and thought I would give it a try. I signed up for the introductory unlimited trial and I was hooked! This was back in 2012!

What was your yoga/barre experience before Dfly?
I had been going to Pilates for several years, but no yoga experience.

What do you enjoy most from attending Dfly classes?
Classes are never boring and the time flies by! I look forward to the heat, the challenge of the workout and the feeling of accomplishment after each class!

Have you experienced any changes in your total well-being since taking classes?
Yes, my strength, balance, and flexibility have definitely improved. I look forward to going to class; it keeps me focused and puts me in a better mood! My mental health is just as important as my physical health and Dfly is an important part of my life!

How often do you attend classes? Favorite class?
I retired in December and I’m able to attend 4-6 classes a week! My favorite classes are Flow, Slow Flow, and Cardio Barre.

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’ve been a member of the Dfly family for the past 10 years and what a gift it has been. Yoga is an important aspect of my life both physically and mentally and I love it!

Instructor Kyle Anderson: “It is wonderful to see Terri recognized as Yogi of the month! Terri brings an infectious joy and strength to her practice and the studio. It is always such a pleasure to see her in my classes and to be able to practice beside her.”

Downtown Yogi of the Month: Chris Borland

How did you get started at Dfly?
I moved to Madison from Los Angeles last year, and was looking for a studio to continue doing hot yoga. I live by the Capitol, so I lucked out that Dragonfly was down the block.

What was your yoga/barre experience before Dfly?
I’d occasionally do yoga during my days as an athlete. When my career was over, I did a deep dive into practice; I got a 200 hour teacher certification in 2016. Since then, my practice has ebbed and flowed.

What do you enjoy most from attending Dfly classes?
Classes are thorough yet efficient. The community is welcoming and the studios are peaceful – even when Yoga Up is a grind.

Have you experienced any changes in your total well-being since taking classes?
I’ve practiced regularly for months now, and it’s the best I’ve felt in years. Mind, body, and soul.

How often do you attend classes? Favorite class?
I attend class nearly every day that I’m in town. Often, I go twice daily. It’s hard to pick a favorite class, but I love Colleen’s 60 minute flow!

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 never know what to say to the “share more about yourself” prompt. I have a dog named Bruce, and he’s pretty great. I try to dress him as a different famous “Bruce” every Halloween. Last year was Bruce Lee. I’m open to suggestions.

Sun Prairie Yogi of the Month: Dawn Peterson

How did you get started at Dfly?
I was in a place mentally and physically where I needed to feel better. I have 3 boys, and I want to be able to play with them and be around for them for a long time. I quit my job last year to stay home with my kids. My incredible husband had taken some classes at Dfly. He encouraged me to make some healthy goals, including going with him to a Dfly class. I fell in love with how the yoga and community made me feel.

What was your yoga/BarreAmped experience before Dfly?
I had done some yoga at home with various beginner videos. I had also done mindfulness classes, but honestly did not have much yoga experience before Dfly.

What do you enjoy most from attending Dfly classes?
The variety! I love that I can go to Flow or Yoga Up or Yin and hit on different areas of my physical and mental health.

Have you experienced any changes in your total well-being since taking classes?
Absolutely! I have chronic migraines, and I’ve found Dfly classes are one important aspect of helping me keep my muscles stretched out in such a way to keep my migraines at bay! I also have increased strength, flexibility, and energy.

How often do you attend classes? Favorite class?
I like to attend 5-7 classes a week but that varies as my family schedule fluctuates. Some weeks I can only come 1-2 times. It’s hard to pick a fav class, but I really enjoy Flow & Yin because I get both in one class. That said, I just tried Circut Up which was really fun and super challenging.

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 love to travel and visit the beach. I recently got to check off my top bucket list item of going to Hawaii! We also like going to Disney World as a family and absolutely love Disney Cruises. It’s been fun getting to know more yogis and feel welcomed coming to classes. So, if you see me please feel free to say “Hi.” I’d love to chat.