Winter yoga will warm muscles, minds and spirits
Lynn Jack, who brought Yoga on the Tower to the Urban Ecology Center (UEC), 1500 E. Park Pl., this past summer, is teaming up with Chad Thomack, Urban Adventures Coordinator at UEC, to offer four winter yoga events in January and February.
Jack and Thomack will pair yoga and cross-country skiing at two Saturday events, the first Jan. 14 and the second on Feb. 25. Jack will lead participants through yoga poses that focus on lower body muscles used during skiing. Thomack will offer a brief introduction to skiing and then lead people on a cross-country jaunt.
A couple's yoga class, which Jack is billing as "perfect for a Valentine weekend," will be held at the UEC on Saturday, Feb. 11. Jack says that couples can reconnect through supporting each other's yoga postures. Depending on the number of registered participants, Jack envisions the class taking place in front of UEC's large fireplace on the main floor of its East Side location.
The following Wednesday, Feb. 15, Jack and Thomack will return to the great outdoors for a yoga and snowshoe outing.
Jack says snowshoeing is a fun and easy cardio workout that builds strength, agility, balance and endurance. The yoga poses at the beginning of the class will limber the body in preparation for the workout.
"I hope people will discover a new winter activity that gets them outside during the cold months. This can help people stay positive and energized during our chilly winters," says Thomack, who has also done yoga in the past and thought pairing it with outdoor recreation would be a perfect match.
Enrollment in the classes is open to UEC members and everyone in the community, but limited to 20 people. Thomack says all necessary equipment will be provided.
Jack sees the pairings as complementary mind / body workout. "The snowshoeing and skiing relates to the yoga in the importance for overall wellness. The yoga part for flexibility and stability and the winter activities for the development of muscles and bones," Jack says.
During the yoga piece at the beginning of each pairing with the winter activities, Jack will teach participants how to meditate during movement or moving with the breath like during meditation when one is normally sitting still. While skiing or snowshoeing people will be able to maintain the peace of meditative calmness.
"So many people just run, bike or swim and they often find that they're not growing from these activities alone," says Jack.
Jack is an executive assistant and the wellness coordinator at Northshore Bank. She sets up bank employee wellness activities such as flu-shot clinics, CPR trainings, health and fitness classes. Jack has been with Northshore for 13 years and has been conducting the wellness trainings for the last 10 years.
Jack has been practicing yoga for 16 years, with a break to have a couple kids. She took up pilates after the break and returned to yoga eight years ago.
"It's amazing how the body remembers, even after a break," she says.
Jack is looking forward to the winter activities at UEC. She says growing up in Ashland, Wis., and attending college in even snowier Ironwood, Mich., has prepared her well. She lived in Minneapolis for awhile, but having family in Milwaukee is what originally drew her here.
A few years ago, Jack started getting "a lot of signs" for her to start teaching. She earned her yoga teaching certification last year and started instructing classes right away. In addition to her offerings at the Urban Ecology Center, Jack teaches at Yogasylum and G-form Fitness, both in Brookfield.
Jack will offer two couple's yoga classes at Yogasylum, 3815 N. Brookfield Rd., in February like the one at UEC. Check the website for details.
She is currently studying to become a certified pilates instructor and a personal trainer.
Jack began planning the winter yoga activities at UEC with Thomack after her successful "yoga on the tower" series of classes last July. Participants practiced their yoga poses on top of UEC's 75-foot high observation tower.
"We just started talking about (winter yoga) and Chad got really excited. It's been good planning multiple exercises connecting body and mind. The pre-yoga will prepare the body for the physical activity. I could see maybe even doing yoga on the snow," says Jack.
Jack is also planning what she's calling a "Winter Yoga Jam," at which live musicians will perform while she facilitates the yoga, the music speeding up and slowing down as the yoga moves do.
Thomack says they plan to incorporate yoga with other outdoor activities in different seasons, such as kayaking, biking and rock climbing.
People can email Jack directly with questions and to get information about registering for the winter yoga activities or visit the UEC's website, stop in at the center's information desk or call (414) 964-8505.
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