Wisconsin State Journal: Amanda N. Wegner May 2006
Perhaps it’s time to dig deep into the creative vault and try something new.
“A yoga party is a really nice way to celebrate,” says Angela Gargano, owner of Fitchburg’s Bliss Flow Yoga. “There aren’t a lot of alternatives to the bar scene and people get really tired of the traditional party. A yoga party truly offers something different.”
Andrea Russell, an instructor at Bliss Flow and other sites, adds, “Yoga parties nurture your well-being.”
A new Madtown mantra
Started on the East and West coasts where yoga reigns, these parties are just starting to blossom in Madison.
“There is a fringe awareness of yoga parties,” says Jules Stenzel Wolf, owner of Yoga Wolf. “Word has just started to get out in Madison.”
While bridal showers and bachelorette parties are no-brainer candidates, yoga parties can celebrate anything.
“People can always find a reason to have a party,” says Stenzel Wolf, who has hosted and instructed yoga parties for birthdays, anniversaries and, most recently, a group that won a skating competition.
Christine Bellport, co-anchor of NBC 15’s The Morning Show had a Friday the 13th yoga party. She loves to throw parties, so on Friday, Jan. 13, she invited 25 of her friends to Bliss Flow Yoga to celebrate the new year and good health.
“It was a great way to introduce my friends to yoga,” says Bellport, who moved to Madison two years ago. “It was a way for (my friends) to experience yoga in a safe environment and not make them nervous.”
It also gave her friends – many of whom didn’t know one another – a way to connect. “It gave people something to talk about. There was an instant bond,” says Bellport.
For all, by all
A yoga party isn’t all about mantras, mudras and asanas, and it isn’t a carbon copy of a traditional class. It is about celebrating with those around you in a healthful, enlightening and joyful environment.
“Yoga can have a real sense of fun,” says Stenzel Wolf. “But I can also tailor a class to meet your needs. I can do something new, playful, fun, meditative or even recuperative.”
No previous yoga experience is necessary to be part of a yoga party, says Russell. A good instructor will assess the experience and abilities of the group and make it fun for all – Mom and Grandma included.
More than Down Dog
At a yoga party, don’t expect to just do a couple of Downward-Facing Dogs, some Cobras, a Warrior, and maybe a Triangle. It’s the bells and whistles that help make the party memorable.
Gargano, whose family owns Peppino’s Restaurant, plays up the “party” aspect. She offers post-practice appetizers such as mini quiches with fresh asparagus and chicken empanadas with green olives; menus can be customized to suit the crowd or party theme. Or, customers can add a manicure, pedicure, massage or chocolate-tasting.
Stenzel Wolf, who worked with heart-health guru Dr. Dean Ornish and owned a catering business in California before moving to Madison, offers menu design and chair massage and also will sell mats and yoga straps so the hostess can give them away as favors. Russell also offers snacks and chair massages.
Bellport highly recommends yoga parties and says her Friday the 13th fete was the best party she’s thrown since moving to Madison.
“I’m always searching for new party ideas…but I’d rather give something lasting like yoga.”