Dragonfly Hot Yoga started with two dreams and an email. One dream quickly went by the wayside, while the other, a hot yoga studio on the West side of Madison, lived on and has become a beautiful place for the community to practice yoga.
Until June of this year I hadn’t met most of our clients and probably only half of our instructors as my wife and I live in Schenectady, NY, which is as bad as it sounds. I am originally from Mineral Point, WI, and the idea of spending a few months in Madison, a little closer to friends and family was an attractive opportunity for me.
I have never had what you would call a “regular” yoga practice. In the summer I go hiking and play tennis, in the winter I’m more likely to be found racing downhill on skis than on a yoga mat. But I have had times in my life when I practiced yoga. I took an intensive yoga course while traveling through India in 2009, and when my wife and I were living in Holland we took yoga classes in order to meet other
I arrived in Madison in June and took over managing the Fitchburg studio while Megan and Tola moved on to start up the Middleton location. Yoga studios are no different than any other small business; every day is a new challenge, and as an owner you become an accountant, a plumber, an electrician, an HVAC specialist, a childcare provider, a custodian, a tea brewer, a salesperson, a psychologist, etc. It seems that every day there is something ‘big’ that happens, either positive or negative, that you have to face, and that is where yoga has helped me.
I started taking yoga classes as soon as I got here and I haven’t stopped. I have found yoga to be one of the best ways to set aside the problems I face in my professional and personal life for a little while, and ensure that I don’t carry those problems with me physically. When I don’t make time for yoga, I literally feel heavier, bound, strained and tired. When I make time for my practice, I feel light, happy, relaxed, peaceful and full of energy.
Yoga is one of the first forms of physical motion that I have found, where I feel more relaxed and have more energy than when I started. When I play tennis, I am wasted after an hour, and I feel sore and heavy afterwards. Not only does yoga give me energy, I have also lost 20 pounds since June and feel stronger than I’ve felt in at least 15 years. I’ll never forget the moment I popped up into wheel for the first time. I felt transformed and empowered to keep making positive changes in my life.
I am a social person, and this is the most fun place I have ever worked. I love interacting with our clients, instructors and my business partner. Every day I hear stories of joy, laughter, sadness, hope and dismay. The practice of yoga seems to release a wide array of emotions in people. Yoga opens us, and we all have different emotions hidden within us. For some, there are very sad and painful memories hidden inside their bodies. It is not uncommon to see tears after a yoga class as someone finally releases a painful emotion and stares it in the face. I have also seen people who were timid on their first visits to the studio become more extroverted, and rowdy people become more introverted; people just seem to find what they need through yoga.
The New Year will see me returning to New York for a while as we now have the studios on solid footing. I will miss the day to day interactions with everyone, but I will take with me a better understanding of Dragonfly and myself. I look forward to having a regular yoga practice and continuing to enjoy the secrets I find hidden within myself, and I also look forward to continuing to work with Dragonfly to make it an ever stronger presence in the community.