Rachel Goldberg  | November 2019

Rachel Goldberg | November 2019

I decided to become a yoga teacher after many years of practicing diligently. One particularly cold winter, hot yoga was my everything. I went to yoga 6 or 7 times a week, revving up in the morning and calming down at night. I practiced so much that I lost the point of it, and started just to flow through the motions without presence or patience. I decided to make a commitment to more intentional learning and signed up for a 200-hour teacher training. It was during this training that I became so much more present and aware of all of the magic that was happening on the mat. I deepened my postures by learning the anatomy of each pose. Focusing on alignment and bone structure, I found that so much more was available to me than just waiting to move on to the next sequence.

When I first moved to Madison in 2015 I work traded at Inner Fire's west side studio because I wasn't in a financial place where I could afford a membership. I fell in love with the variety of teaching styles, the wide range, and availability of classes, and the obvious passion that teachers pour into the studio walls. I'm so thrilled and humbled to be part of IFY's teacher team, and have finally found a space where I feel like I am learning and teaching in balance. I am inspired by (it's ironic because of her name), Hope Henley! I always, always, always leave her classes feeling grounded, inspired, and in touch with my body and the Inner Fire community.

I was recently asked what makes my classes unique. Well, for one, my classes are intense! Guaranteed to give you a powerful workout, I look to push people to their physical limit because that's where I believe mental growth and stillness can most naturally occur. I rely on music to carry my classes and spend a lot of time curating playlists that work with my sequences. I never know exactly where we will go when I walk into a yoga class, so my classes are also creative, unique and never the same twice. I teach on Tuesday evenings at 6 pm and Thursday mornings at 6 am, both at the Eastside studio. Come check one out for yourself!

Claire Fitzpatrick  | October 2019

Claire Fitzpatrick | October 2019

When I first started my yoga and fitness journey, I never dreamed that I would one day be an instructor. I always found myself comparing myself to others and focusing on the most skilled person in the class rather than my individual growth. It wasn’t until I was approached by the owner of my home studio that I realized that I actually had the potential to teach. At first I was hesitant to begin teacher training because I doubted my own abilities. After speaking with my favorite instructor she told me that everyone has the ability to teacher and every yoga and fitness instructor is still developing their practice. In completing my pilates instructor certification I learned more about myself than I did about pilates.

I fell in love with Inner Fire before I began instructing, and after completing my teacher training I dreamed of potentially bringing my class to Inner Fire. I was astonished by the humility and approachability of the staff at Inner Fire when they gave me the opportunity to teach. I felt welcomed into the Inner Fire family even without my formal 200 hour RYT. Not only was the staff at Inner Fire incredibly kind but the students were also receptive and diligent. Each class is challenging yet exciting and I have seen myself develop physically and mentally to better at as an instructor. Inner Fire facilitates an environment where students and instructors can both grow and learn from one another.

Everytime I step into the Inner Fire I am always greeted with a smile whether its that of another instructor, receptionist, or student. No matter what is happening in my personal life I know I can come to Inner Fire and escape the outside chaos for a little. I have at one point been inspired by all of the staff at Inner Fire, but I have found myself constantly inspired by Jamie Mustful. She never fails to provide a smile and a sense of calm and reassurance on days where I may be doubting myself. I feel very privileged to be apart of the Inner Fire family and to have individuals like Jamie as not only colleagues but also as friends.

Karen Knetter  | September 2019

Karen Knetter | September 2019

My desire to go deeper into yoga motivated me to become a yoga teacher. It’s been a humbling and fun journey that isn’t over because there’s still so much to learn, but I’ve enjoyed sharing what I know so far with others so they too can feel the benefits of yoga. There’s nothing like being on the receiving end of an honest thank-you.

I reflect sometimes about how a group gets together for a class at IFY, each person at a different moment in life with varying stress levels from jobs, age, kids, health challenges, etc. It’s uplifting to see these different people, each in a different chapter of life, all together in the same room forming similar shapes, maybe even breathing in unison, and practicing being in the now. One of these fellow students, Margery Biel, has been someone I’ve looked up to for many many years, figuratively as I’m nearly double her height. I’d try to lay my mat down nearby thinking I’d absorb some of her calm cool strength she quietly exudes in Hot 90 classes. I confessed my secret admiration to Margery recently and she laughed like I was joking. I wasn’t. This woman, who has battled brain surgery and is back in the studio practicing, continues to inspire. Margery extends her gratitude to everyone at Inner Fire who has helped and supported her over the past 6 months.

There are many others at IFY that inspire me, while I’m teaching and practicing, and that’s what I love most about the place.

Kerri Helmer  | August 2019

Kerri Helmer | August 2019

What do you love most about teaching and practicing at Inner Fire? First, the sense of community. When I contemplated moving from San Diego to Madison five years ago, there were two things I knew I would miss - the beach and the amazing community of friends I had through my yoga practice. It’s a challenge to start over again in a new city (and a different part of the country!) but I felt confident that I could find that sense of belonging, of community, with the right yoga studio. And I have found that at Inner Fire Yoga.

Additionally, I’ve been exposed to different types of yoga and yoga-related practices beyond the Bikram style that I’ve practiced since 1997 and through that my interests have expanded - yin, slow flow, aromatherapy, chakra meditation and more. It feels like another new journey is just beginning.

Who at Inner Fire has inspired you and why? I am inspired by the people who make yoga a priority in their lives, who commit to a regular practice. By those who show up, try the right way instead of the easy way, and let the yoga work its magic. And especially by those who never saw themselves as the yoga type, the ones who find that bending and stretching does not come as easily, those who have to work a little bit harder to find the magic.

Meg Novich  | July 2019

Meg Novich | July 2019

I have been an evangelical Inner Fire Yogi since my first class in December of 2015. Like many, the combination of Groupon and a search for - something - was the catalyst. I had recently lost my Mom, had my first baby, quit a demanding job… and was coming up for air. Time on my mat revealed an empowered version of myself. Breath by breath I gained strength and confidence. That Friday night class was a distinct turning point (Thanks, Brenda!), and I am both proud and humbled at how different the person in the mirror looks, now. Yoga, unexpectedly, became a pillar of a new identity. This tangible transformation made it a seamless decision to complete teacher training at Inner Fire, which has unequivocally remained my yoga home. There is nothing better than that heat to melt whatever ails you (and I shamelessly include “baby weight”)! It is truly an honor to share space with the wisdom and grace of our teaching team; there are too many inspiring stories and personalities to list!

Yoga continues to be a path to wholeness for me. I seek classes that encourage us to acknowledge all aspects of ourselves. Honoring our individual experiences brings us to our oneness as a human community. Tiptoeing around the studio as a teacher brings such richness to the experiences we share both on and off our mats. And the playlists are fun, too. :) By day, I’m an SLP specializing in literacy, so teaching adults is a luxury and a perfect counterpart.

Pictured are my two daughters and I enjoying Yellowstone for the first time. We are much more frequently spotted enjoying urban hikes up, down, and around Monroe St., coffee in hand.

Lisa Stefanik  | June 2019

Lisa Stefanik | June 2019

I first arrived on my Inner Fire yoga mat in 2010, taking a 90-minute “Intro to Hot Yoga” class in sweatpants and long-sleeves and lived to tell the tale. This latest adventure was -- at the time -- an antidote to a high-stress job and a new way to move my body after an extended love affair with long-distance running and the repetitive injuries that hobby delivered. I expected Inner Fire Yoga would be a temporary respite while I recovered from my injuries; nevertheless, my practice stuck across the years. I found something on my yoga mat that was missing in other activities in my life – my muscles lengthened, my flexibility increased, and my mind became quieter with every class.

Eventually, my Hot Yoga love affair led me to answer the whisper in my brain to try Hot Yoga teacher training early in 2017. My intent was to simply get technically better in practice and to love my yoga practice a little more – not to teach (Never teach! No! I couldn’t!) – but as it turns out, teaching was something I genuinely enjoyed. I ultimately completed my 200-Hour Yoga Teaching Certification through Inner Fire Yoga by the end of that year.

What I love most in practicing at Inner Fire Yoga is the unexpected community I’ve found – both among fellow students I’ve rolled my mat out next to and the teachers who lead our classes. I have found myself bringing both my celebrations and my challenges to my mat at Inner Fire over the years as a student, and I look forward to now being part of this team that helps create that consistent, safe space for its students within our Inner Fire Yoga studios.

Jonathan Ivry  | May 2019

Jonathan Ivry | May 2019

How did you decide to become a yoga teacher?

I started practicing yoga in January 2009.  I was going through some hard personal stuff at the time and practicing yoga became a way to get re-grounded, to get out of my head and thoughts, and to reconnect with my physical reality.   I found that a regular yoga practice helped me gain mental clarity and focus, helped reduce stress, and generally set me in a better mood. I also lost some extra pounds and just felt overall stronger physically.  In the Fall of 2010 I had a semester off from my other job of teaching English at UW-Whitewater, and I decided to attend a week-long teacher training yoga retreat led by Baron Baptiste in Tulum, Mexico. The Baptiste training combined intense physical practice with a mode of self-exploration and inquiry that really resonated with me.  I came back excited to explore teaching opportunities around town. I went back to Tulum in 2012 for the second half of my 200 hour teacher training. I am excited to share more about Baptiste trainings with anyone who might be thinking about a yoga retreat!

What do you love the most about practicing and teaching yoga at Inner Fire Yoga?
Like so many Inner Fire yogis, I really enjoy practicing in a heated studio.  The heat can feel amazingly cleansing and restorative, regardless of the time of year or type of class.  I love hot yoga in the winter, but I think hot yoga in the summer might even be better! Aside from the heat, though, it's really the people that make a studio great, and I think we're lucky to have such a warm and welcoming community of yogis at Inner Fire.  I love seeing the familiar faces when I go to a class like Karen Rigsby's 7:00 am IFF. Teaching at Inner Fire is an opportunity to deepen my connection to this yoga community. It's also exciting to be a part of a group opening and building a new community at our East Side location.

Who at Inner Fire Yoga has inspired you and why? I recently looked up my class history on MindBody and was happy to see that I took my first class at Inner Fire just over ten years ago and the teacher was Angie Carlson.  I'm still going to Angie's classes ten years later! (And, fun fact, she's now my son's teacher over at West High.) Over the years, I've been lucky to learn from so many great and inspiring teachers at Inner Fire -- Joan Bliefernicht, Julie Logue, and Karen Rigsby to name a few.  Also-- big shout-out to all the great male teachers at IFY! I love learning from all the different teachers at Inner Fire. Each one brings their own unique perspective and energy to their class, so you are constantly learning something new.

Peg Trehey  | April 2019

Peg Trehey | April 2019

In 2005, I began practicing yoga as part of my healing process from a long illness. Gradually I began to feel stronger, calmer, more balanced and accepting in my daily life.

In yoga, I found a friendly community, amazing and intelligent instructors and hours upon hours of sweat, determination and fun. Inspired and curious, I obtained a teacher certification at Inner Fire Yoga in 2013.

Previously, I was an elementary education teacher for 17 years in Arizona and my native Wisconsin. I currently live in Middleton with my husband and our yellow lab. We have three grown children. Along with yoga, I enjoy spending time with my family, hiking, biking, swimming, baking and reading.

I am very honored and grateful to be practicing at a place with such a supportive staff that truly cares about the people that walk in the studio each and every day. In my classes, my intention is to create a welcoming environment for you to explore and find what you need in your practice. Yoga has been transformative and empowering in my life. It can be for you too - come and join me on your mat!

Jane Bernstein  | March 2019

Jane Bernstein | March 2019

I began yoga at Inner Fire in 2012 as a New Year's Resolution to reduce stress, and I’ve been practicing regularly ever since. Inner Fire has always been my yoga “home”. I love the heat, the teachers, the range of classes, the way yoga calms my mind and stretches my body, and most of all, the community. I’ve completed multiple personal revolutions and over 1000 classes!

So when I retired from a 20-year career teaching history at West High School in Madison, it seemed like a natural progression for me to use my new-found time to deepen my yoga practice and turn my teaching experience toward yoga. In yoga teaching, I’m finding so many of the same rewards I found in my high school teaching career: the challenge of sharing knowledge, the opportunity to help others find their own understanding and, even more, the chance to build relationships and community in my classes. I’m excited to be part of the new crop of teachers at Inner Fire Yoga East and look forward to helping it grow.

I am grateful to so many of the Inner Fire Yoga teachers who have inspired and taught me over the years. There are almost too many to count. I’ve loved and learned from Brenda and Angie’s calmness, Sandy’s gentleness, Adrienne’s joyfulness, Dar’s exactness, Hope’s grounding, Joan’s teacher training, Karen’s knowledge, and Kate’s experience... Each one of them (and others), at one time or another, have generously taken the time to share their expertise and yoga wisdom with me whenever I’ve asked.

Some non-yoga things about me: I was born and raised in New Jersey and went to college in New York. I’ve been in Madison for over 30 years, teaching and raising two wonderful children. In some ways, I’ve become a midwesterner, but that accent you may hear when I talk, - and my tendency to talk fast -- is my New Jersey coming out. When I’m not practicing yoga, you may find me reading, baking, hanging out with friends, reading too much online news, or taking long walks on the bike path.

Emi Shermeta  | February 2019

Emi Shermeta | February 2019

I decided to be a yoga teacher because I love the practice and I love making an impact on people’s lives. I was a dancer and I loved moving to music and being able to just be free and let loose. However, as I got older I quit dance to play soccer and lacrosse. As time passed I missed being able to dance and let loose to music while still exercising, therefore I decided to try a Yoga Sculpt class with my mom and instantly fell in love. I loved that you could be with yourself and jam to music while still getting a workout. I also loved the aspect that teachers could have such an impact on the students. I realized at that point I wanted to become a teacher not only because my love of the practice, but also the way I could change people’s lives.

I love the fact that I can teach students who love the practice as much as I do. I think it’s also especially fun that I know my students on a more personal level because I see them at school. I love practicing at this studio because of the location and the beauty of the studio.

My students are my inspiration and are the reason why I want to continue teaching. Even on the days when I am exhausted, my students give me the positive energy and motivation to want to teach and give them the best workout they can get anywhere in Madison.

Brynn Tonn  | January 2019

Brynn Tonn | January 2019

My passion for yoga started after my mother introduced me to my first yoga sculpt class when I was 15. I immediately fell in love! Yoga sculpt quickly became a staple of my weekly routine. I was attracted to the mental benefits of a conventional yoga class mixed with the strength-building exercises of a high intensity workout.

Last summer, I decided to take my love of yoga one step further by signing up for yoga sculpt instructor training. I always had the idea of one day becoming certified, so when my home studio in Minneapolis announced they would be offering teacher training over the summer, I knew I was ready to step out of my comfort zone. I wanted to share my love of yoga sculpt with other students on campus.

My first few months of teaching at Inner Fire Yoga have been a wonderful experience. The community of students and teachers is truly amazing. I love the strong loyalty to Inner Fire Yoga by so many students. It’s also very exciting to see all the new faces who come each week to try Inner Fire Yoga for the first time. I view my class as an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others. With many of my yogis being fellow college students, I strive to help them disconnect with the pressures and commitments of being a student and reconnect with themselves. I want them to leave feeling empowered, refreshed, and ready to conquer whatever they will face outside of the four corners of their mat. I look forward to teaching many more classes in the future and helping my students get the most out of their practice.

LiLi Jones  | December 2018

LiLi Jones | December 2018

Like everyone else, I am not perfect, but I like to share what I learn. I love teaching because I find great enjoyment in sharing the knowledge that has inspired and impassioned me. I am most at home when I am fully present, in the teaching zone, with the students and I in one cohesive unit. For me, teaching yoga is a never-ending process of learning through the reciprocal relationship between the teacher and the students. The students assist me to learn and to be aware of their needs. I wish for us all to find our compassion, honesty, faith, and confidence together.

What initially attracted me to practicing at Inner Fire yoga was the heat (my hometown is hot…Madison, not so much). Later, I began to love the variety of yoga classes guided by passionate teachers who embrace the heartfelt sharing of their knowledge and wisdom. I learned that some teachers create their sequence from their heart, some teach spiritually and some focus on the anatomical alignment. It all fascinates me and makes me want to learn more about what is beyond the physical practice. Investigating these aspects of yoga (for my own practice) led me to teacher training. Very quickly I realized that through teaching I was guiding others on their journey and I achieved the same peace as I did by pursuing my own practice.

There are countless teachers who have inspired me on my yoga journey. Rather than list them all, I would like to call out Sandy Homburg as an example. Sandy taught me above all to treasure the relationship between the teacher and student. At the end of each class Sandy often thanks students for showing up on the mat, so she can teach. Teaching is a form of service in that the teacher is always there for the students to offer wisdom without holding anything back. When Inner Fire Yoga decided to hire me, I told Michael that he is brave to do so. It means a lot to me to know that Inner Fire Yoga trusts me to devote my passion to our community and the students. In this community, we breathe, practice, and grow together.

Isabel Esch  | November 2018

Isabel Esch | November 2018

I decided to become a yoga teacher after my freshman year of college. I grew up as a dancer and so I have always been someone who feels grounded through movement. During my first year at UW-Madison, I started to practice yoga more regularly, and the combination of breath and movement grounded my life through a period of change.

I love to teach at Inner Fire Yoga because there are new yogis walking in and out of our doors all of the time. Especially during this time of year, newcomers to Madison are looking for a new routine and they bring great energy into our space. Our yogis are passionate and hungry to learn. They are willing to try new ideas and postures.

One of my favorite parts about teaching yogis at Inner Fire Yoga is seeing the emotional experience take place throughout practice. I LOVE people who show emotion in their practice. People who aren’t afraid to laugh out of joy in Sculpt or use an audibly textured breath to release emotions during a flow of Sun A. I love when I’m teaching in a room and I can feel the intention oozing out everyone. This is what brings me back to my mat and back into class to teach.

Darlene Vander Hoop  | October 2018

Darlene Vander Hoop | October 2018

Hi Every Body!

I want you all to know that after all this time, I still look forward to seeing you each day and getting on the mat. If I knew in 1970, when I took my first class at the UW Dance Department, that this would be a lifeline throughout my life, I could not even imagine it. Life happens as we are busy making other plans….

I see you and know you, (especially your body); although I may not know your name(it’s a Boomer thing.) it continues to be my joy and pride to meet you in the hot room each and every day.

Teaching yoga classes and workshops and teacher trainings across the globe for over 40 years is one of the greatest joys of my life. It wasn’t until Inner Fire Yoga, where I had the auspicious opportunity to teach yoga full time and live my dream.This single studio has allowed me to raise my son alone and have free time for him while maintaining good health, and continued inspiration as a single mother to stay the course.

After teaching/taking over 15,000 classes over these many years at Inner Fire Yoga, and many other places, I realize how amazing this personal growth and disciplined journey has been. At Inner Fire Yoga I’ve been able to expand my knowledge of so many yoga forms and philosophies through our unique and amazing teachers in-house and world-class guest teachers who visit the yoga room and give their gifts; including Max Strom, Theresa Murphy, Wade Morrissett, Rolf Gates, Esak Garcia, Bryan Kest, senior Anna Forrest teachers, and many more. I am so grateful to be at the center of so much yoga and growth.

I am deeply honored and humbled by this gift and my continued ability to give it back to you.

Oh, and I’ve also done many other things in life. I worked as an advertising executive in LA for a magazine publisher (LA WOMAN), a TV producer and talk show host, a publisher, writer and journalist, a fashion editor, a model and actress, a social worker in Paterson NJ, a professional modern dancer in San Francisco, a world traveler. In New Mexico I was a nationally syndicated columnist on finding love through newspaper tele-personals (a precursor to Match.com and facebook). Currently I’ve been organizing my lifelong writings and trying to put them into some shape, in order to publish a memoir. I’ve lived in the courts of kings, and in humble abodes. I’ve been deeply in love a few times.

My entire beloved family passed away in 14 months in 2011. Life is amazing and full spectrum. I get up every day with gratitude. My only child is 26; a sensitive, brilliant, and heartfelt human who amazes me each and every day.

Recently I am deeply interested in mindfulness and Yin Yoga, and expanding more and more as a human and teacher.

I am off to the 10-year celebration of BhaktiFest in Joshua Tree National Monument, on to LA,( as you read this,) and, of course, there will be some Hollywood glitter and fun involved.

Namaste my dear dear fellow human beings.
Breathe, Feel, Flow and … Keep it REAL..

As Always,

Mary Kay Roseneck  | September 2018

Mary Kay Roseneck | September 2018

What are some things Inner Fire Yoga may not know about you?
I was an Art and Design major in college. I love doing anything creative! I’ve spent lots of time decorating all the beautiful homes I have lived in. I also adore baking and tweaking recipes to make them my own, sending off a platters of cookies to friends. I used to be an avid runner. I have run over 10 marathons and many halves, but yoga is better for me now!  

I practice Hot Yoga when I travel. I have done it in so many cities and it is just amazing; the same, but different! I’ve practiced in NYC, Brooklyn, Miami, Washington, D.C., Boston, New Smyrna Beach, Port Orange, Paris, Chicago, Milwaukee, Charleston, Ormond Beach: next on my  list are Key West and Cancun!

Tell us about some jobs you had before teaching at Inner Fire Yoga?
Babysitter, Print shop, Memorial Union, Commercial Artist, 26 Years with US Cellular Corporate and Government Sales, NOW First Weber Realtors. LOVE IT!!!

What is your favorite place to visit or vacation?
My home in Florida, on the Atlantic side, beautiful beaches, NYC to see my oldest daughter and Washington, D.C. to see youngest daughter at college. I love D.C., so pretty and historic. I love St. Augustine Florida, may be my next home! Oldest city in the United States.

Favorite movie or tv show and why?
The Great British Baking Show, love it!  We watched all the episodes and then watched them all over again...can’t get enough of it. I tried some of the recipes and they were challenging. Mary Berry yeah!

Favorite concert?
Madame Butterfly and Les Mis, does that count?

Favorite things to do when you are not at Inner Fire Yoga?
Spend time with my daughters, we have fun no matter what, but shopping is always good.  I love to hike, my husband and I just went to Mirror Lake State Park, so gorgeous! Anything active!

Erica Gullickson  | August 2018

Erica Gullickson | August 2018

1. What are some things Inner Fire Yoga may not know about you?

I started doing yoga when I returned from my first adventure to South America. I had been carrying a backpack and living a fairly nomadic lifestyle for about a year and my back HURT. I knew I needed to do something about it, so I joined yoga. I fell in love with it and my back felt more strong and flexible than ever. I noticed my posture improving and people began to comment on how healthy I looked. I continued to practice yoga diligently for about a year alongside cardio and strength training workouts, but then I was itching to return to South America. I decided to go on a backpacking trip for 1.5 months by myself. This backpacking adventure brought me to Torres del Paine. During my hike there, I carried my full backpack (which weighed about 45 pounds) the entire time during the day and did yoga every morning and every night. To my surprise, my back NEVER hurt during my entire backpacking journey!! I love this practice for the physical and mental health it has brought into my life.

2. Tell us about some jobs you had before working at Inner Fire Yoga?

I have had many jobs ranging from working at McDonald’s to working as an Outreach Coordinator in pre-college programs. Each job I have had has taught me something new, and I always end up meeting amazing people along the way. One of my favorite jobs was teaching English in Chile, which then led me to teaching Spanish long-term as a sub at a high school for about a year. I have always enjoyed working with children and cannot get enough of their uplifting energy, inquisitive nature, and unique perspective of the world.

3. What is your favorite place to visit or vacation?

A place that will always be in my heart is Chile. I have spent about 1.5 years living in Chile and traveling to a few other countries in South America, so I have been fortunate enough to meet and stay connected with many people who live there. I consider them my second family. Viva Chile!!

4. Favorite movie or tv show and why?

Currently, I have been watching Drunk History. I enjoy it because it’s funny, but I also have been learning a lot of history that we were not taught in school.

5. Favorite concert?

Last year when I was working at Inner Fire Yoga, the members of Beats Antique came in to do yoga before their show. I did not recognize them, but was chatting with them asking what brought them to town. They told me they were doing a show at the Majestic and they were the members of Beats Antique. My face must have lit up when they said it because they ended up putting my name plus one on the entry list for the show that night. The show was incredible and the artists were so friendly!

6. Favorite things to do when you are not at Inner Fire Yoga?

I love to spend time outside and to be active. This summer, I am playing Ultimate Frisbee and have been having a lot of fun with it! I think it’s important for adults to focus on play outside of work, so this has been a nice way to channel my inner child and play outside during the summer. I also love to cook (and eat of course!) and very much enjoy getting fresh ingredients from the farmer’s markets around Madison and cooking a new dish.

Hannah Moran  | July 2018

Hannah Moran | July 2018

What are some things Inner Fire Yoga may not know about you?
I was born in Madison, but I lived in the UP of Michigan from 2001 until 2016, when I moved back to Madison. My junior year at Northern Michigan University, I produced a 120-minute documentary film. My favorite snack is cheese and crackers -- I'm actually drooling just thinking about it. My next dog is probably going to be a St. Bernard, because they're big and drooly and dopey and I love all of them. I've been told I have a knack for accents and funny voices. I'm a Virgo, so I prefer plans and order to chaos and spontaneity. The following things are on my bucket list: start/join a band, write a novel, live in a foreign country, grow my own vegetables, and run a small business.

Tell us about some jobs you had before working at Inner Fire Yoga?
I worked at a public radio station for 3 years, where I operated the sound board, announced news and weather, hosted jazz music shows, and produced podcasts. When I moved back to Madison, I was an Office Administrator for a software company, then I was a Social Media Coordinator for a cosmetology school. Now I am a Development Projects Coordinator for The Nature Conservancy, and of course you can always find me behind the front desk at Inner Fire on Sunday evenings.

What is your favorite place to visit or vacation?
Cape Cod, Massachusetts. My dad grew up just outside of Boston, so he used to vacation on the Cape as a kid, and now he carries on the tradition with us! I've probably gone over a dozen times in my life (including once while I was in the womb, I'm told) and it never gets old. The freshest clams you could possibly imagine, lazy beach days, late night games of Cards Against Humanity, the proud LGBTQ+ community in Provincetown, the humbling experience of whale watching, and spending quality time with family and friends -- my little paradise!

Favorite movie or tv show and why?
I love pretty much any Marvel movie. The classic battle of good vs. evil really just tugs at my heartstrings. I love the playful banter between characters, too. My personal favorite is Thor and the Hulk in Ragnarok -- so goofy. The complex universe is really fun to watch, what with all the different kinds of mystical creatures and their special abilities. I also love the clever nods to classic comic book stories, which I normally don't catch -- luckily my fiance is a comic book dude and he explains them to me.

Favorite concert?
One of the best concerts I've ever seen was Mumford and Sons at Okeechobee Music Festival in 2016. They're an incredibly tight band, and so passionate and honest every time they play. I wasn't a real fan until I heard them live. They really take you on a ride, and the fans are pretty wonderful so the crowd always has amazing vibes. I saw them a second time at Austin City Limits later that year -- just as good as the first time!

Favorite things to do when you are not at Inner Fire Yoga?
I like to hang out with my wonderful fiance, David, and my two perfect dogs, Quinzee and Jitterbug. I love good food, good beer, and great friends, so I can also be found frequently at restaurants, breweries, and the Union Terrace enjoying the company of the people that I love. Other hobbies include making music, experimental cooking, journaling, and dancing in the moonlight.

Winnie Chan  | May 2018

Winnie Chan | May 2018

Tell us about why you began practicing at Inner Fire Yoga:

I started doing yoga in 2013, when I was having a rough time in my life. I broke up with the love of my life, who I thought I would marry. I had no job, no car, and no money. For a couple years, my friend Tracy tried to get me to come and practice yoga.

When I was at the lowest point in my life and I felt like I had nowhere to go, somehow faith brought me to Inner Fire Yoga. I started doing yoga for trade and soon after that I became a receptionist. Practicing yoga gives me peace and helps me slow down and enjoy life. I have to say I don't know what I would do without yoga. Everyone who comes here has their own story. Especially, now, Inner Fire Yoga studio is like my other family. I have built so many relationships with everyone here. I feel like I could never leave!

Tell us about some jobs you had before working at Inner Fire Yoga:

Something you might not know about me is that I am a jack of all trades. I was a bank teller after college, and then I worked at AAA for 6 years as a travel consultant. After my undergraduate degree I went back to school to become a cosmetologist. Meanwhile, I was a bartender, hair stylist, and barista. I was working five jobs at one point. It was crazy, but good and kept me happy and out of trouble.

What is you favorite place to visit or vacation?

One of my favorite places to travel is San Diego, or anywhere with water.  As a Leo, I'm a fire sign and water really calms me down. I have been to Hong Kong, Jamaica, Punta Cana, Tokyo, and all different parts of U.S.

What is your favorite concert?

I am a cheapskate, and I don't go to a lot of concerts. I do enjoy attending The Kissers, an Irish band, every year.  But if someone wants to take me to a concert, I won't say no.  

What are some things Inner Fire Yoga may not know about you?

I act very American, but deep inside of me I am very Chinese. I grew up in Hong Kong until I was 14 years old. I try go back to visit every 4 or 5 years. I speak fluent Cantonese. Things I like to do are hanging out with friends and coworkers. I love taking short weekend trips and go paddle boarding. I also love to hike, dance, and go boating in the summer. I also love cooking!



Sarah Jefferds  | April 2018

Sarah Jefferds | April 2018

Sarah has been working at Inner Fire Yoga since 2012. She’s our Thursday night receptionist at West, makes all of our Honorary Yogi bracelets, sends out our charity donations, runs payroll and much more. She has also taken nearly 800 Hot 90 classes since 2011!!!

What are some things Inner Fire Yoga may not know about you?
I am a total animal lover! Our family includes 5 dogs (3 Australian Shepherds and 2 Whippets), a cat (who thinks she's a dog!), an African Gray Parrot, and assorted tropical fish. My daughter is a senior in college in Montana and my son is a senior in high school, so my husband Craig and I will be "empty nesters" soon. It might be a good time to get some more pets to fill the void! :)

Tell us about some jobs you had before working at Inner Fire Yoga?
Besides greeting clients at the front desk every Thursday evening at Inner Fire, I process the payroll for the West and Campus Studios. In addition, I work full-time as a Client Relations Coordinator at Sauk Point Veterinary Clinic. My previous jobs have included being a preschool teacher, owning a small business, and working as a dietitian with diabetes patients.

Favorite place to visit or vacation?
Anywhere outdoors (preferably near mountains and water!) where I can totally unplug with my family.

Favorite movie or tv show and why?
I don't watch much tv, but I currently LOVE the show, This is Us. I can't get through an episode without crying.

Favorite concert?
I really enjoyed seeing the Indigo Girls in concert last year. It was an intimate setting and they really connected with the audience.

Favorite things to do when you are not at Inner Fire Yoga? Hiking, camping, baking, cuddling with my dogs, and relaxing with friends with a glass of wine.