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.

Sun Prairie Yogi of the Month: Judy Bryant Vilwock

How did you get started at Dfly?
It’s been so long but my guess is that like many people, I saw the 10 passes for $99 and figured why not? And over the years I would attend classes on and off, usually utilizing the $99 offer. But last year I decided to prioritize myself and my overall wellness and became a member. It’s been the best thing for me too because instead of just going to classes sporadically, I attend much more frequently which makes my cost per class cheaper than a Starbucks coffee:-)

What is/was your yoga/BarreAmped experience before Dfly?
I’ve probably done yoga on/off for almost 20 years. I was lucky for a time that my employer offered lunchtime yoga and pilates classes. Back then I did yoga mainly as a way to stay flexible for tennis and found that yoga really helped with recovery and injury prevention.

What do you enjoy most from attending Dfly classes?
I love how each instructor brings their unique style and I’m able to learn something from each of them. The classes aren’t just about the physical, they can have a spiritual element, a motivational side, a way to reframe a thought. I’m naturally a competitive person and my own harshest critic so the classes at Dragonfly have been good for me to find that balance of challenging myself at the same time accepting myself. Dragonfly also has a nice variety of classes so there is definitely something for everyone.

Have you experienced any changes in your total well-being since taking classes?
At the risk of sounding like I’ve drank the Kool-Aid, yes! I have had some health issues the last several years and found myself in this vicious circle where I didn’t have energy for physical activity, then when I would exercise it hurt during and after, so then I didn’t want to do it. Plus, I was always taking ibuprofen to less and less effect. And did I mention I have a job where I sit at a desk all day? But now that I’ve made my health a priority and attend classes regularly, I have more energy, I don’t have any of the aches and pains I had before, I feel stronger physically and mentally, and can’t remember the last time I took ibuprofen.

How often do you attend? Favorite class.
Although I am trying to make myself a priority, I have a son who’s active in hockey and tennis, so my schedule revolves around his. Yoga will always be there for me but he will only be in school for a few years, so I want to be there and support his endeavors. I usually attend at least 3 times a week but 4-5 is the norm. Some of my favorites are Monday nights with Ashley. Just love her personality and the energy she brings to each class, plus she mixes things up to keep it fresh. Megan’s 75 minute flow class on Sunday is another one, and she introduces challenging binds and poses. Nicole’s yoga up is a fun workout because she pushes you but has a great sense of humor about it so you leave the class sweaty but smiling.

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 started out just doing yin classes, which I still enjoy, because that’s all I thought I could do. Eventually I decided to try slow flow and worked up to regular flow. This year I decided I am going to try every class they offer (except maybe the prenatal ;-) because I don’t want to tell myself that I can’t do a class without having tried it for myself. I think I was too worried about things like what if it’s too much, what if I look stupid, are people going to judge me for having to stop and get water or a myriad other things. But finally I started listening to what the instructors have been saying in class rather than the doubt in my head: this is your practice, do what works for you today, take what you need and leave what you don’t, and if you’re uncomfortable it means you’re growing. So yeah, I decided to try yoga up and it’s one of my favorite classes! I struggle with some of the cardio at times because I have some breathing issues related to Covid. But instead of never trying the class because I think I can’t do it, I’m glad I tried the class and I just modify the cardio part when I have to. Now I need to try some of the other classes I thought I couldn’t do, such as cardio barre! Maybe I’ll like it, maybe I won’t but I’m going to find out for myself instead of just assuming that I can’t do it.

I also brought my son to yin classes a few years ago when he had a hip injury and the classes helped get him back on the ice. I gave him a 10 pack pass for Christmas, and it’s been an eye opener for him to see that although he’s a strong, athletic young man, he can also work on his flexibility. It’s also good for him (and me!) to see men, women, young, old, every body type in one place engaged in a healthy activity that you can do your entire life.

Middleton Yogi of the Month: Liz Mussehl

How did you get started at Dfly?
Flashback to about 9 years ago, after experiencing bereavement, a friend invited me to a flow class at Dragonfly. I was feeling lost after losing my daughter and my friend thought yoga would be a great way to help me cope. She was right! I was totally hooked after one class. Following that I did drop in classes as much as possible. While I have enjoyed other fitness platforms over the years yoga is my true love. Flash forward to present day, returning to Dragonfly a few months ago has been a full circle moment for me. I moved to Middleton after a massive life shift during the height of the pandemic. Living in the area has allowed me to practice as much I want. It has been so awesome coming back to where my journey inward all started!

What is/was your yoga/barreamped experience before Dfly? What do you enjoy most from attending Dfly classes?
I love all forms of fitness. I have tried just about everything but felt yoga was most beneficial coming into post pandemic life. The HEAT! The hotter, the better!

Have you experienced any changes in your total well-being since taking classes?
Aside from weight loss and toning that naturally come with hot yoga, I treat myself and others around me with kindness and patients. As Samantha Brenner always says, “have grace.” I’m learning that!

How often do you attend classes? Favorite class?
Every day if possible. Sometimes twice a day! Samantha Brenner’s classes push me way outside of my comfort zone in the BEST way. She’s caring but challenging at the same moment. I appreciate that mix of zen but crazy hard. You can’t grow if you don’t push yourself. She expects the very best version of her students and I love it!

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.
Yoga has been my calm in the storm through many challenging chapters in life. Knowing yoga basics like breathing and focus has morphed hardships into some of my greatest accomplishments. I can do hard things simply by believing I can. Because yoga has taught me that by feeling good in your own skin and trusting yourself you can accomplish the impossible.

I’m in such a great chapter right now. I have always done the “healing, restorative” kind of yoga. I’m really looking forward to the “fun, carefree” yoga days that are ahead!

Instructor Sam Brenner: “Liz is SO deserving of Yogi of the Month! She is consistent in her practice, willing to try new things as well as find grace and playfulness in practice. I am so impressed with Liz’s dedication to her practice–keep up the amazing work!”

Fitchburg Yogi of the Month: Joe McFarland

How did you get started at Dfly?
I started with a flow class back in 2019.

What is/was your yoga/barreamped experience before Dfly?
No previous experience with yoga.

What do you enjoy most from attending Dfly classes?
It’s been both inspiring and humbling to be part of the yoga up, and power up classes. Especially when the music is pumping and the sweat is pouring.

Have you experienced any changes in your total well-being since taking classes?
I enjoy the great workout and feeling of well-being achieved through balance, movement, cardio, weights and more.

How often do you attend classes? Favorite class?
I try to attend 4 times a week, I like all the 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.
I always feel better after attending a class.

Instructor Shawn Smith: “I don’t think I’ve ever heard Joe complain during one of my fitness classes, like Power Up. He just comes in, does the task at hand, and leaves with a smile and always a thank you. Lately he’s been bringing his son with him to class so that’s really awesome to see. I appreciate you being a dedicated yogi, Joe.”

Downtown Yogi of the Month: Lauren Wysocky

How did you get started at Dfly?
I started at Dfly as a way to exercise after coming back from a knee injury. I had a hard time finding something that would be low impact and was enjoyable. Once I tried Dfly, and I was hooked after a month! I loved how it allowed me to work my whole body and challenge myself but also take it at my own level.

What is/was your yoga/BarreAmped experience before Dfly?
I had little experience before Dfly and had only gone to a few classes.

What do you enjoy most from attending Dfly classes?
I enjoy challenging myself. I love seeing how far I’ve come in my strength, flexibility and balance—it’s what keeps me coming back. Plus, the teachers are great and I appreciate it when they add tips for improving my practice.

Have you experienced any changes in your total well-being since taking classes?
I am stronger—both mentally and physically, and I have increased flexibility and mindfulness.

How often do you attend classes? Favorite class?
I attend classes about 4 times a week. I love Yoga Up when I want to really break a sweat and Flow classes when I want to practice mindfulness and work on my balance and flexibility.

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 being in the Dfly community and feeling like I can be myself. I am currently working full time and in school to complete my master’s. Dfly has been a positive outlet mentally and physically and I can tell it has greatly affected my wellbeing. Thank you!

Sun Prairie Yogi of the Month: Laila Borokhim

How did you get started at Dfly?
I saw an ad for the intro month special and thought why not?

What was your yoga/BarreAmped experience before Dfly?
I’ve taken a few yoga classes over the years…never hot yoga though.

What do you enjoy most from attending Dfly classes?
The Heat!!!! And the instructors, there are some really amazing women leading the classes.

Have you experienced any changes in your total well-being since taking classes?
So many awesome changes. I sleep better, have way more energy and overall my body feels so much stronger.

How often do you attend classes? Favorite class?
I attend at least six classes a week, sometimes seven…. I’m not going to lie, I really like the 45 minute flow classes. They fit into my busy life perfectly.

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 think, like a lot of people these, days my anxiety and stress have been pretty high. Yoga is helping me cope with all of the hardships that are confronting me in is this wild world. I like that it’s a challenge to do hot yoga and then do it in a mask. As I finish out the last year of my thirties I wanted to start being kinder to my body. I’ve always been an active person but some of that movement has left me with lots of aches and pains. My body truly feels amazing after attending classes these past few months. I feel, and am, stronger than I’ve ever been in my life. I’m so glad I joined Dfly. I love all four of the locations and look forward to the classes being part of my daily well-being.

Middleton Yogi of the Month: Yahina Avila Vargas

How did you get started at Dfly?
A friend of mine was doing the intro month and invited me to join her. It was the middle of winter and the heat of the room felt awesome!

What was your yoga/barreamped experience before Dfly?
My yoga journey started a while ago. When I moved to Madison, I started because it helped with flexibility, strength, and relaxation for anxiety but I didn’t quite get into it until I started coming to Dragonfly.

What do you enjoy most from attending Dfly classes?
I love everything about it, everyone has the best attitude and is very welcoming, and it is truly my happy place.

Have you experienced any changes in your total well-being since taking classes?
It really helps in keeping me mentally healthy and balanced, it’s the best remedy.

How often do you attend classes? Favorite class?
Before COVID, about 5 times, now as much as possible. When I have a busy week sometimes not at all but when I can make it 3 times a week I know is a great week. My favorite classes are power up and yoga up.

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.
Dragonfly is more than a place; it’s a community, a place where everyone is welcome. I always want to be part of it and I hope it stays forever.

Instructor Audrey McAdams: “Yahina has such a sweet, peaceful spirit. She is steadfast in her practice and I love having her next to me in class.”

Downtown Yogi of the Month: Megan Ballew

How did you get started at Dfly?
I moved to Madison in 2018 just before starting pharmacy school at UW. I had been practicing yoga on and off for the last few years and knew I wanted to find a studio in my new town. I tried several different yoga/barre studios but I loved dragonfly the most. They had so many classes at several different studios around Madison but it was mostly the instructors who were supportive, welcoming and really dedicated to creating a relaxing and fun environment. After I did the 30-day membership, I was hooked and have pretty much been a member ever since!

What was your yoga/BarreAmped experience before Dfly?
I started doing bikram yoga my junior year of high school and like many yogis, was “addicted” to the high intensity classes. I did my undergrad at Indiana University in Bloomington, IN and would try a different studio almost every semester but never really found one that I loved. I still practiced at my home studio over the summer and on breaks but my practice always felt a little fragmented without a consistent studio.

What do you enjoy most from attending Dfly classes?
The welcoming environment and the flexibility of classes to work with my busy schedule. Trying to balance grad school, work, and other responsibilities means my days are constantly go go go. Although I LOVE to get there early to relax before, it is not always possible. Even when I’m flying in minutes before class starts the instructors and members are always happy to see you and glad you are able to make time in your day.

Have you experienced any changes in your total well-being since taking classes?
So many! I have grown a lot in my balance, strength and flexibility which definitely makes you feel great! But really it is the benefits on my anxiety which keep me coming back. The practice reinforces itself because as I have learned to be mindful and center myself with breath during the poses and workouts I am better able to handle stressors in my day to day. When I find myself sweating the small stuff outside of class, I can take a deep breath and remember it is all just practice!

How often do you attend classes? Favorite class?
Really depends! Some weeks I go 5-6 times whereas others I am lucky if I can squeeze 1-2 in. If I had to choose it would probably be Yoga Up with Brooklyn! Early on I would exclusively go to yoga only classes but during one of my first fitness classes (when I was STRUGGLING) Brooklyn could not have been more encouraging. She always shakes things up and plus we share a love for Taylor Swift. Now I will attend every yoga, fitness or barre class because all the instructors are amazing and no two classes are the same!

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.
In my other studios I always felt like I needed to push myself but at dragonfly the instructors are constantly reinforcing the idea of PRACTICE. Dragonfly is the place where I have learned to let go of perfectionism and accept that it is much less about the postures as it is about the mindset and being in the moment. It is not supposed to click right away or even every time! There are good and bad days (like everything else in life) so if you try a class and feel like it is not for you that is normal. Keep going and pretty soon you will be just as hooked as the rest of us!

Fitchburg Yogi of the Month: Liz Sax

How did you get started at Dfly?
A good friend invited me to join her at Erika Doyle’s Core flow class quite a few years ago. I had never tried heated yoga prior to that and believe I was a bit over-dressed and recall scaling back the layers and adding water and towels after that.

What is/was your yoga/barreamped experience before Dfly?
Previous to Dfly, I had tried a few classes at Mound Street Yoga Center, and then taken both Pilates mat and yoga classes at Horizon Health and Fitness. I realized then that I was and am drawn and motivated not only by a particular class, but just as much or more so by the instructor.

What do you enjoy most from attending Dfly classes?
I really feel that the quality of the classes but more importantly the instructors and staff make Dfly such a great experience that I truly look forward to.

Have you experienced any changes in your total well-being since taking classes?
I love how yoga makes you be mindfully present in the moment without any electronic devices our outside distraction. I think this 100% contributes to my well-being.

How often do you attend classes? Favorite class?
I usually try to attend at least 2 classes a week and am a huge fan of the core classes. Yoga Up has also inched right up there as a favorite class.

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 the community at Dfly. I love hearing about what is going on with the instructors, or the staff, and their lives. I love seeing the “regular” yogis in many of the classes I attend. I am grateful that Dfly has been able to navigate the past few years and is still here. I missed the in-person classes and instructors greatly when those had to be paused. But mainly, thank you to all of you!

Instructor Tiffany Geier: “I am beyond excited that Liz is our Fitchburg Yogi of the Month! Liz is the epitome of happiness and hard work! Every time Liz enters the studio she has a smile on her face. I see Liz working hard on her mat in both Up and Flow classes. She is focused, strong, playful, patient, and is genuinely curious, always seeking knowledge to further her growth. I also see Liz translating these qualities off the mat. Liz has made wonderful relationships with her fellow yogis, instructors and desk staff. We are all always happy seeing Liz walk through the door, Liz is the perfect Yogi of the Month!”