I’ve gone on many journeys. Never in my mind did I realize that I took the first step to one of my most fulfilling journeys in the hill town of Kandy, Sri Lanka. For a year, a group of women from Nepal, Germany, the UK, Argentina and Chile, the Philippines and the US, got together every Wednesday morning to enjoy each other’s company with a yoga class taught by Jean, who called herself a “white Rhodesian.” My family returned to Madison in 1988, and curious about continuing yoga, I came across Mound St. Yoga. Written across its windows was the sign that said “Iyengar Wellness Center.” This was it, this was true yoga, but what does “Iyengar” mean? It took me a year to realize that I knew nothing at all about yoga, and many more years before I realized that there was more to it than just “doing” yoga. My wonderful teachers—Roger, Tom and Faith-- were patient and caring. I knew they had gone to India to learn from B.K.S. Iyengar, but I did not realize its significance at the time. Then Mary Dunn came to Madison; I started going to workshops at Chris Saudek’s studio in La Crosse. And here I am practicing and teaching at the Yoga Co-op, loving the Iyengar yoga tradition as it takes me deeper into a continuing journey inwards.

Gina C. June 16, 2014

The first yoga class I took was at a community college in Chicago, when my then partner urged me to do so as a way to de-stress from my busy life as a small business owner. We went on a retreat with our original teacher and many other teachers from different disciplines. At the retreat, we had the opportunity to take a class from someone who was on the path to becoming Iyengar certified. After that initial class, both my partner and I started classes with this Iyengar-based teacher. During her class, which was held at a local health club (!), the teacher brought in Yoga the Iyengar Way book and referred us to classes at the Yoga Circle. We then began taking classes exclusively at the Yoga Circle, where the teachers wove philosophy into their teachings. This was truly inspiring! It was the integrity and quality of the asana, pranayama, and philosophical teachings and the compassion and professionalism of the teachers that inspired me to study regularly, develop a personal practice, and ultimately to teach others.

Lisa T. June 16, 2014

In many yoga classes I've taken over the years, instructors too often demonstrate poses at a distance -- standing at the front of the room but not moving among the students. I often worry that people don't really know what to do and may injure themselves as a result. But at the Coop, teachers work intensively with you, helping you into and out of postures correctly. My practice is better and I feel a whole lot healthier for it.

Ronnie H. June 16, 2014

Each yoga practice allows me to retreat for some time from the many activities of daily life. I'm reconnecting with an inner place of silence and strength and after the practice I feel refreshed and energized yet calm at the same time.

Barbara F.S. June 16, 2014

Yoga should be an integral part of every person's own wellness program. It provides benefits which cannot be obtained with other physical activities, such as aerobics or weight training. Research is emerging, showing that we can indeed affect our cells at the molecular level, turning "good" genes on and "bad" genes off by lifestyle choices. In my own case, yoga has improved flexibility, decreased stress, and generated an improved sense of well-being.

Susan W., MD June 16, 2014

I never feel so relaxed anywhere else.

Kyle H. June 16, 2014

Who would have thought that an overweight, 44-yr-old could do a handstand without pain (during or after)? Yoga with Sophie is fun, safe, builds strength, and alleviates those nagging pains that come unexpectedly early.

Sue M. June 16, 2014