It was while working as a casting producer for ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" in Los Angeles that Megan Ryan Kaiser discovered hot yoga.
"I worked closely with families who were going through rough situations, including children with terminal illnesses and the passing of a parent, which left behind a spouse and small children," recalled Kaiser, owner of Dragonfly Hot Yoga in Madison and Fitchburg. "These families looked to me for hope. Not just hope for a new home, but a new start."
She ultimately had to tell most of the families that they were not chosen for the show, and the stress for her was intense. "I remembered someone telling me that hot yoga got them through a personal tragedy. It helped them find a sense of calm," she said.
Kaiser visited a hot yoga studio and was surprised at how fast she got hooked: "I realized the physical and mental benefits almost immediately."
Hot yoga is named because it is done in a room that is heated between 75 to 105 degrees, depending on which style of yoga is being done. Dragonfly offers 13 styles ranging from gentle/meditative to intense, full-body workouts. Benefits of hot yoga include body detoxification from sweating, weight loss, increased metabolism, happier mood, more energy and reduced stress.
When Kaiser, 37, relocated to Madison, she found only one hot yoga studio, which wasn't convenient to her home. She missed practicing hot yoga. When her husband was laid off in 2009 and while she was six months pregnant with their second daughter, she decided that it was time to open her own hot yoga studio.
Six months after opening the first studio in Fitchburg in 2011, classes were full, and she realized that she had to open a second location, which ended up being at 610 Junction Road in Madison.
Personal training sessions with instructors, complimentary tea in on-site tea lounges, child care for some morning weekday classes, and workshops to help enhance yoga practice are also available.
Dragonfly's philosophy is that yoga is for every shape, size and person.
"You will not be judged in our studio. Not by how flexible you are, by what you wear, by how much you weigh, by how much yoga you've done," Kaiser said. "Our instructors see clients as equals, all experiencing the power of yoga."
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