Downtown Yogi of the Month: Katie Murphy

I got started at Dfly through partnering with the downtown location for a charity flow class to raise money for a local Make-A-Wish this past spring!

My yoga experience before Dfly was YouTube videos in my living room, so I knew some basic techniques but was super excited to really give hot yoga classes a try.

I enjoy the atmosphere of each yoga class the most. As someone who did not have lots of experience prior to my first class, coming in can be super intimidating but I feel so comfortable walking into the studio every day because of the respectful and safe environment.

I have noticed a decrease in my stress levels and tension in my body after every class. My body feels more awake and energized, I leave the studio with a weight removed from my shoulders ready to take on the day!

I attend class 3-4 times a week. I mostly take morning flow classes and they are my favorite way to start the day!

As a college student, taking yoga classes at the downtown location have been a great way for me to get my body moving, and to dedicate some time to my physical and mental health.

Sun Prairie Yogi of the Month: Erin Leckwee Lita

Hi! I’m Erin Leckwee Lita. I am from Lodi and currently working for Tellurian in Madison. I originally started at Dragonfly in 2016 and I absolutely loved it. Unfortunately a change of jobs made it too difficult for me to continue attending. In late 2021 I began working in Madison again and I was looking for a way to get myself back into shape and de-stress. Dragonfly immediately came to mind. I started attending classes again in March and fell back in love with all things hot yoga. My husband, Cris, attends classes with me now, as he has really come to love the experience as well.

Prior to Dragonfly I had never really had much formal experience with yoga, I had been focused mainly on running and power lifting. I really enjoyed how non-judgmental and welcoming the instructors and other class members were, it made learning so much more enjoyable.

I really enjoy challenging my body and having those moments when I realize I can do something that I wasn’t able to do a couple of weeks ago. I like that the instructors offer different variations of poses as well. I cannot say that I have ever left a class feeling down or negative, the classes always have great vibes.

Since I have been attending classes I have noticed changes physically as well as mentally. My body has better muscle tone (thank you Yoga Up!) and I feel less of those creaks and sore spots. I have learned from the instructors to give my body grace if I’m not feeling the best physically, which is something I had always tried to “power through”. I also feel much more relaxed mentally. I have a very stressful job and it is helpful to be able to set everything aside and check out for a little while.

I generally attend classes 3-4 times per week, although I recently completed my first 30 day challenge successfully. I am looking forward to taking on the summer challenge next. I enjoy all of the classes, but my absolute favorite has to be Yoga Up. The energy and the music (love, love the throwbacks!) are great, and when I’m finished I am so energized and happy.

Middleton Yogi of the Month: Tom Vomastic

I registered for the Dragonfly free month trial that was offered in a mail advertisement in December 2021 and started the trial in January 2022 after Winter break. I had no Yoga or Barre experience.

The friends that I have made are my favorite part about attending Dragonfly classes, especially considering the changes to social experiences during the Covid pandemic.

The motivation received from the Dragonfly instructors, staff, and fellow yogis, and the physical and mental gains received from attending classes have significantly increased my well-being and can be applied to my outside sport and life pursuits.

I attend classes usually 1 and up to 3 times each day and my favorite class is Samantha Brenner’s Core Flow 60 on Wednesdays at 9am at the Middleton studio.

I am pleased that I started yoga, especially with Dragonfly, despite my initial apprehension. Hot Yoga has become a beautiful and significant part of my life that I plan to continue. I grew up in Milwaukee, WI, graduated from the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD with a B.S. in American Politics and Law and a commission as an Ensign in the US Navy granted in person by the US President, served as an officer in the US Navy, and worked for the US Department of Veterans Affairs. I have a M.A. in US National Security Policy from Georgetown University and a MBA in International Business from the University of Iowa’s international program in Italy. I enjoy participating in athletic events such as Ironman triathlons, the Birkebeiner cross country ski marathon, mountain bike racing, and various running events. Currently my goal is to qualify for the Boston Marathon. I love to travel and have lived in and visited many countries.

Instructor Brenda Autz: “Tom’s practice includes an impressive variety of classes and teachers. He’s an intentional yogi who embraces present moment opportunities through stillness in yin, and strength in vinyasa and Dragonfly’s HIT classes. Tom’s mat can often be found in the back of the studio, where he humbly cultivates challenging balance postures. It has been a joy to witness the evolution of Tom’s practice. Early in his Dragonfly membership, Tom shared that practicing yoga noticeably impacted his athleticism. Tom’s experience is a testament to the positive effects of a dedicated yoga practice, and we are fortunate that he is part of the community at Dragonfly.”

Downtown Yogi of the Month: Laura Bulai

How did you get started at Dfly?
I was introduced to hot yoga about 6 years ago. I did not know much about yoga at that time, but heat and movement seemed like a natural approach to treating a chronic myofascial pain syndrome affecting me for long time.

What was your yoga/BarreAmped experience before Dfly?
My first yoga class was right here at Dragonfly, and Dfly has remained my favorite oasis of yoga practice, heat, music, and detachment. For a while I enhanced with additional Fire/Bikram classes since high heat and the physically challenging postures are tremendous in making the muscle more pliant and helping with the pain. In time I started exploring the super-diverse, smart, and expertly taught Vinyasa classes at Dfly, and never looked back. DFly has the best instructors and variety of classes, the best sun-lit facilities and music, the most welcoming mission to tend to all ages, all shapes and sizes, to those new to yoga or experienced.

What do you enjoy most from attending Dfly classes?
I like coming back to the mat and being surprised with each and single session, whether is the set of postures chosen by the instructor, the music, the inspiration I find in others, or the renewed strength I find in myself.

Have you experienced any changes in your total well-being since taking classes?
Yoga with DFly has been essential in my well-being since the day I started: increased mind and body strength, balance, resilience, and flexibility, management of the chronic myofascial pain, osteoporosis prevention – which is very important for women, and an essential companion throughout the pandemic (whether in person or on Demand) I am grateful to be part of the community and I am thankful for all the attention and care we receive from the instructors and staff. I admire every one of them, especially since most have other careers, studies, and families, and they still give us 100% of their energy and passion no matter if is morning or night, weekends or holidays, and I could not be more grateful.

How often do you attend classes? Favorite class?
For the best part of first 5 years I attended about twice a week. Now, the average is 3 times a week and as often as I can! Even twice a day, if my schedule allows it. Favorite classes? The Fusion class with Kelly Perna, the core classes with Tiffanie, Cassie, and Laura, and the powerfully choreographed flow classes with John Harmon have built and fueled my practice throughout these past 6 years. I could not be more fortunate and honored for being able to learn and train with them. From time to time I try a new instructor and class here at DFly, and I have always been delighted and pleasantly surprised when I tried something new. Also, I recently discovered Yoga Up with Laura, a long-feared class for me which I avoided for ages. For the last few months, Laura’s passion, energy, amazing routine, and emboldening music has been calling me back on my mat for Yoga Up, any time I get a chance! I also see that we have a new class Fascia Yoga, and I cannot wait to try it! As I am learning to appreciate the restorative yoga postures more and I pay more attention to the transition postures and details, I feel there is tremendous room for growth, to keep me engaged and challenged for long time to come.

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 my time on the mat when I allow myself to be swept by music and the flow of the practice, and I love it even more when my partner can join me for a an occasional session. The way he takes in the entire practice and the flow inspires me and keeps me grounded. I really hope our children will also join us some days. In general, I love seeing families and couples practicing together. Thank you DFly and Happy June!

Fitchburg Yogi of the Month: Katrina Keogh

I discovered Dragonfly in December of 2011. I had just moved from Florida and the Wisconsin winter is cold! I had never tried yoga, but the promise of hot lured me in.

Over the past decade Dragonfly has been there for me through many stages of life. 99 days of summer, 30 day challenges, prenatal yoga, postpartum recovery (3 times!), mindfulness, and strength training – there is always something to love.

At this stage, I usually make it to class two or three times a week. My favorite combo is a flow followed by yin in a 1, 2 punch. I have seen both my physical strength and mental well-being grow by leaps and bounds over the years.

Yoga gives me confidence in my body in a way that nothing else ever has. While the classes bring joy to my life, it is truly the accepting, encouraging, and fun community atmosphere that keeps me coming back year after year.

Instructor Kelly Perna: “Katrina is truly an inspiration! Her commitment to showing up on her mat is real. Katrina values the benefits of yoga like strength and flexibility but it’s her awareness of the deeper benefits like mental and emotional health that drew me to her. Thank you, Katrina, for being such a bright light in the Dfly family!”

Sun Prairie Yogi of the Month: Ellie Valentine

I got started at Dragonfly back in 2016 at the downtown location, took a little hiatus due to COVID, and then came back to Dragonfly at the beginning of this year. Doing yoga and HIIT workouts at home just isn’t the same as doing them at Dragonfly; in the warmth with a whole class of people working toward similar goals.

The thing I love most about attending Dfly classes is how it continues to challenge me both physically and mentally. No matter what level of yoga practice I find myself at, there will always be a more challenging option and that’s really what keeps me coming back class after class. Not to mention, every class and every teaching style is so different – I love the surprise of new poses and sequences that each instructor brings. For this reason, it’s difficult to pick one favorite class, but if I had to choose – it would be Dragonfly Fusion 75 because of the longer length, the warmer room, and the variety of balance poses included.

Dragonfly gives me a way to schedule time out of my busy, student life to prioritize myself and take away the stress for a little while. I am so, so thankful to be a part of this wonderful, Dfly family!

Middleton Yogi of the Month: Nilda Morack

How did you get started at Dfly?
I moved back to Wisconsin last September and wanted to continue my journey of mind and body balance. I searched for the yoga studio with the best reviews. Ta-Da! DFLY was the first one listed on all searches

What was your yoga/barreamped experience before Dfly?
As an adult, I have lived in different cities/countries and yoga has been my common thread. Since 2011, hot yoga and bikram have been my preferred practices.

What do you enjoy most from attending Dfly classes?
I enjoy the encouragement from the instructors, the friendly greetings as I arrive, the blend of mindfulness and physical strength.

Have you experienced any changes in your total well-being since taking classes?
Absolutely! My days are more focused after a morning class and my nights are more settled after an evening class.

How often do you attend classes? Favorite class?
I usually attend 4 times per week. My favorite class is Anna Lindstrom’s Flow 45. I love how Anna incorporate mindfulness, breath of fire (the “Shoosh” :)), strength and her personal experiences.

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 am 68 years young. Yoga practice is my way of honoring my body, my mind and my goals. Seeing the improvement I make from month to month is a truly rewarding experience. My mother started practicing yoga when she was in her 40’s and she lived to the young age of 104! I strive to pick up what she left on the mat and in my heart.

Instructor Anna Lindstrom: “Nilda is an inspiration and embodies everything in the Dragonfly credo. She is dedicated to her practice, brings energy and curiosity to her mat, and listens to the body she is in that day. It is such a pleasure to have her class, and I am honored to be a little tiny part of her journey. Congratulations, Nilda!”

Fitchburg Yogi of the Month: Robin Neitzel

How did you get started at Dfly?
A co-worker who had back trouble and was even more out of shape than I was suggested I try it. He said the heat and stretching helped his back and told me if he could workout in the back row, so could I.

What was your yoga/barreamped experience before Dfly?
I had no yoga experience but had taken boot-camp style classes. I was not aware yoga studios had options beyond the classic pose type classes. That’s what convinced me to try it and continue with it.

What do you enjoy most from attending Dfly classes?
Feeding off the energy of all the fit people in class along with the enthusiasm, motivation and smiles of the instructors. Maybe it’s my imagination but I find the more the instructors smile the harder I have to work.

Have you experienced any changes in your total well-being since taking classes?
A few years ago on Easter Sunday I experienced chest pain. I had a 95 percent blockage in my “widow-maker” artery and was told I was lucky to be alive. Over the last year with the help of Dragonfly I’ve made big strides improving my fitness. I’m stronger and leaner but I still have a ways to go. The physical changes have boosted my mental spirits and I have reason to worry less about the past.

How often do you attend classes? Favorite class?
I attend 5 or 6 classes a week. Power Up and Yoga Up are my favorites. They are a great combination of strength and aerobic conditioning which I need to meet my goals. I’ve been adding in some flow and yin classes too. Partly because they are great for stretching and sore muscles but also because they just feel good.

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.
Everyone on the Dfly staff is very welcoming but I was worried about fitting in with people much fitter and younger than I am. A couple weeks ago something happened that helped me with that insecurity. A member approached me and said “Robin, I’ve noticed your progress and you look great”. That was a lifetime first for me and all I could do was thank her and give her a big hug. With all the political correctness now days it’s difficult to know if it’s ok to hand out a compliment. But for me personally the acknowledgement was a wonderful gift. It’s the little things in life……

Instructor Carly Schneider: “Robin is a consistent and dedicated Dfly practitioner, especially in the Up classes. It’s a pleasure having him there, motivating those around him and willing to try new things. He comes ready to work and is always up for a chat. Congratulations, Robin!”

Downtown Yogi of the Month: Chloe Strait

I got started going to Dragonfly while I was in undergrad. College was a huge change mentally and physically and finding Dragonfly was a huge help to both!

Prior to coming to Dragonfly I had never done hot yoga or Barre! I’d done yoga classes here and there and had done dance/poms all through my high school years so I decided to give it a shot and absolutely loved it! It was the perfect fit for someone who doesn’t necessarily like going to the gym but still wants to feel good mentally and physically.

The thing I enjoy most about Dfly classes is mental space I’m able to be in while I’m in the studio. The atmosphere, the instructors, and the classes really allow me to leave everything at the door and solely focus on my practice and my intention for the day. And of course the cool cloths at the end!

Hot yoga has helped my well being on so many levels. Being able to incorporate yoga into my weeks has helped my mental health drastically. I started working night shift as a nurse this past year which can take a toll on you mentally and physically and continuing to utilize Dfly practices has helped keep some normalcy in my day-to-day life :)

I always try to go to classes at least twice a week and three times a week when my work schedule allows it. Lately I’ve been been loving the afternoon week day flow classes where we get to try new flow series and poses! Prior to and during COVID I liked attending the Barre classes and practicing them at home on Dfly on Demand.

COVID really made me grateful for our Dfly studio. Doing yoga at home just wasn’t the same and since lockdown I have been so much more invested in getting out and going to yoga every week. So grateful for everyone at the studio who kept Dfly afloat during those tough times and helped keep yoga incorporated in our lives!

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.