Yoga on Monona: A Midday Break on the Lake

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by Katie Hicks, Contributing Writer

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Every Monday and Thursday through October 20th, Monona Terrace offers free yoga classes from 12-12:45 p.m.. There’s no catch– all you need is a mat.

I came into the class as a member of yoga studios both in Madison and at home, so I had a good amount of experience behind me. What I did not realize at first is that Lunchtime Yoga is not a workout, but more a time to reflect and relax. The class emphasizes the importance of stress management and maintaining flexibility. A good amount of time is also focused on breathing exercises and becoming self-aware.

Because of this, the class is very slow and simplistic, perfect for beginners or people looking for a low-key yoga environment, as it is easier than a traditional power flow class. If you’re expecting the hot, fast-paced environment of a studio, you’ll be sorely disappointed. Lunchtime Yoga is by no means a yoga sculpt class. However, you should appreciate it for what it is: a chance to unwind in the middle of the day, free of charge.

The class was held in one of the ballrooms at the Monona Terrace, which left plenty of space between the many attendees. Unfortunately, there were no windows in this particular space that took advantage of Monona Terrace’s scenic views.

While Lunchtime Yoga is open to people of all ages, most of the people were older, as many of were adults likely taking a break from their jobs near the Capitol. However, there were also some younger adults in attendance. Ages seemed to range anywhere from early-20s to mid-60s.

The instructor directed the class at a slow pace with Zen instrumental music in the background, which added to the calm atmosphere. All of the poses she covered were very basic, from Tree Pose to Warrior 2. She made adjustments for people who could not do certain poses and needed modifications. Those who were more advanced in skill were given the option to move at their own pace and do more complex poses. This emphasized the fact that all ability levels are welcome.

Overall, I would recommend giving Lunchtime Yoga a try. It’s a great option for people just starting out with yoga and those who want to de-stress between classes. Don’t come expecting to sweat – plan on exercising your mind more than your body. If for no other reason, try it out just as an excuse to visit Monona Terrace and take in the views after class. With all of the expenses associated with yoga studios, why not seize the opportunity to find your chi for free?

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