Fly, find your zen and get fit at SKY Yoga and Fitness – located in downtown Eau Claire.
The studio, which opened in November of last year, offers a wide array of classes and workshops – ranging from the more traditional yoga classes like Barre, Yin, and Flow to unique aerial and bungee classes – that aim to rejuvenate and strengthen its participants. Class and workshop descriptions, as well as a full class schedule, can be found on the studio's website.
Choosing My Class
I've always loved yoga and enjoy popping in for a class or two when my schedule and budget allow for it. Yoga classes offer a change of pace from a typical gym session. To decide which class to take, I did some browsing on Sky Yoga and Fitness' easy-to-navigate website. I read the class descriptions, took a peek at the schedule and soon decided on a Wednesday evening heated Barre class.
The cute, welcoming, and bigger-than-expected studio is tucked away on South Barstow Street. Upon entering the studio, I was immediately greeted with a massive smile from a woman who ended up being determined to be the instructor for my class—as well as the founder of Sky Yoga-- Shantel. I felt welcome from the get-go, even though it was a new environment for me. With it being my first time at this particular studio, I was given a quick tour of each of the three rooms.
Towards the back right of the studio, there's a space available for participants to place their belongings in cubbies and fill their water bottles. Next to this space is the non-heated yoga room, then there's the front desk, the heated yoga room, and lastly, the aerial and bungee room. Each of the rooms is spacious and well-lit with natural light streaming in from multiple windows. Colors of lavender, white, and grey add to the soothing environment with twinkling string lights lining the ceilings.
It ended up just being Shantel and me in this particular class, a nice little one-on-one, which was incredibly intimidating at first. However, Shantel quickly made me feel comfortable and ready to take on the class. She was very conversational, but professional. She clearly knew what she was doing.
Going into this class, I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I'd never taken a Barre class before but was somewhat confident because of my prior yoga – both heated and unheated – experience. Shantel gave me a briefing on what to expect, told me the focus of this Barre class was arms, abs, and legs. She then turned on some upbeat pop music. I soon realized it was going to be harder than anticipated, and that I was about to sweat. A lot.
Stretching & Breathing
To start, we did some yoga stretching and focused on breathing. I was just getting relaxed when it was time for the ab sequences. These were great core movements, and Shantel was very encouraging. I was always thankful when she began counting down from five, signaling the end of the sequence.
Next came some booty work. We used a Styrofoam block for these exercises. Man, did I feel the burn with these! Shantel and I joked around and talked during these sequences. The environment remained casual and relaxed, but also uplifting, even as the backs of my legs were on fire.
After this, we moved to barre work. We did a variety of squats, pulses, and calf raises with a blue ball kept between our legs. It was at this point that I really started sweating. I was dripping and tired, but motivated. I could already tell I was going to be sore the next day. Shantel said the burn meant I was getting stronger, which motivated me to push through.
Once we were done with legs, we moved to arms. I used three-pound weights, while Shantel used five pounds. We did around four arm sequences, and by this point, I was absolutely drenched. My legs felt like Jell-O.
Yoga & Stretching
After the arms, we did some cool-down yoga poses and stretching.
Shantel ended with a message about gratefulness, using the quote "When you look at a field of dandelions, you can either see hundreds of weeds or thousands of wishes."
And then the class was over. Namaste. I left feeling incredible. I got my workout in for the day, but also a beautiful reflection. I was proud of what I'd accomplished and was thankful for the simultaneously vigorous and relaxing session.
I'd love to go back for similar classes or try the aerial or bungee classes. Or all of the above.