Bliss Flow Yoga, Fitchburg and Madison
|Wintertime cabin fever?|
Cured by the open spaces of
Bliss Flow Yoga's studios.
I've been doing slow-flow yoga for a few years with Tamar Zink, an excellent instructor in Portage, and occasional classes with Michelle Szalapski, a talented teacher in Pardeeville. These are well-constructed, beautifully taught, gentle sessions, with a lot of emphasis on breath and form, so I was a little nervous about keeping up with a more fast-paced Fitchburg class. Happily, Tamar's and Michelle's instruction proved to be perfect preparation.
The first class I attended was called Yoga Flow, one of about a dozen options. Instructor: Angela herself. We started with sensible warm-ups. Then purposefully moved into a series of salutations. I totally lost track of time. Each mountain pose ended and began another series. Eventually a few of the 14 students took breaks in child's pose. The slim yogini next to me continued to gracefully float from forward fold to plank. I moved through the poses, working but satisfied, saturated in the 70-degree room.
The instructor for my second class a few days later was Ruthie Goldman, a good-humored, direct teacher. Her light laughs when she tongue-twisted a direction brought smiles to her students. The asanas were a little gentler than Angela's Yoga Flow session; that is, I didn't totally drench my shirt. Another five-star session.
My third session was "Advanced Yoga Flow." (Hey, for ten dollars you can attend all the classes you want during your first week at Bliss Flow Yoga. I'm on that!) Teacher Heather Last has an amazing resume and can do instruction-book poses: touch head and foot? sure, she's got it, from both a backbend, or leg over the shoulder. But most importantly, she can teach. Her class was a thorough warm-up, a challenging strengthening, and a workshoppy finale, all geared toward understanding the pose Dancer. My abilities were below many of the gymnast-like comrades who attended, but I felt worthy and content. And I felt more informed. Smart and satisfying class.
All of these instructors were experienced: they brought presence that could communicate, direction without distracting. And they offered assurance that adaptations are good and breathing is the star. It was great yoga. Too bad my all-you-can-attend week is done. But I'll be back some day.
Kettlebells and a Fit Brain
|A Turkish Get-up|
These are my take-home notes: push, pull, squat, lunge, twist. Do a Turkish get-up every day, using weights as able. Eat mostly plants. Skip the crunches, stabilize instead: do planks (front and side.) Exercise keeps your brain in shape. You are a product of the ten people you spend most time with. Go barefoot.
I hope this instructor will do a follow-up next time he's in Wisconsin.
Group X, a new Cross Fit gym in Portage
|Group X, a new gym in Portage, Wisconsin|
Group X co-owner, Serina Seiler, is a multiple-Ironman, ultra-marathoner, and certified Cross Fit coach. She glows, she loves what she's doing. I attended a couple one-hour classes. The first was lead by Serina; the session included lifts, hops, push-ups. The second was instructed by Mike, Serina's brother and co-owner of Group X. Both energetically kept us on task, adjusting our form, finding the right place to start, demonstrating pace.
|Serina Seiler, Group X co-owner, |
was willing to pose for me.
You won't be surprised that I'm gonna try out Group X this season. I like the new challenges, the one-on-one coaching, and what's not to love about the price. More strength translates into better fitness, which means better swimming, biking, running, right?
Ok, office work is already picking up, but the holiday indulges have been so very refreshing.