(Photos submitted by Off the Mat Yoga)
By Matthieu Vollmer
MARSHFIELD — Last year Off the Mat Yoga opened a progressive new studio in the Thomas House building on South Central Avenue, where class attendees can release their life stresses.
“We help attendees learn to big release and teach them something they can take home to use to release from the day outside of the studio. It’s nice to get out of your mind,” said Stacy Wolf, owner. Wolf owns and operates the business with Luanne Sojka. Wolf also teaches yoga and cycling classes at the local YMCA.
“They are really good at making you feel comfortable at whatever level you are at,” said Ashley Vruwink of Auburndale. Vruwink has been visiting Off the Mat Yoga since it opened in May 2014 and has tried the yoga body boot camp, power class, and a variety of other mixed level classes.
According to Sojka, the business name is a reflection of how everyone falls off course at one time or another but has the courage to get up and try again.
“We wanted a home, a place to bring everyone together,” said Sojka.
“A safe place to practice and not feel judged,” added Wolf. “It’s the yoga experience.” The new studio has capacity for 30 individuals per class and 20 for boot camp.
Wolf and Sojka have enjoyed their space that is spiritual, safe, and peaceful.
The typical one-hour class includes 40 minutes of building health and strength; a peak pose to help the practitioner feel powerful; a come down phase to work the spine, hips, core, and back; and a final relaxation. Savasana is a Sanskrit word for “corpse posture” or “corpse seat” in which the yogi — slang for someone who does yoga — lies flat on a mat without movement and simply breathes for final relaxation.
“They are both amazing instructors, and they offer a huge variety for both beginners and advanced yogis. Luanne always challenges me, and they offer new classes so you can try different kinds of yoga,” said Vruwink when asked what she likes about the studio.
Wolf and Sojka are both credentialed through the Yoga Alliance, having completed 200 hours of training. The Yoga Alliance is an association representing yoga enthusiasts from around the globe. Wolf has volunteered to teach yoga at The Hannah Center and has been practicing for six years and teaching for three. Sojka has been practicing for seven years and teaching for five.
According to the teachers, one common misconception that people have is that they need to be flexible to do yoga. Wolf and Sojka disagree. They said yoga is different for everyone and that the only requirement is that a participant can breathe. Someone could attend a class and the lay on his or her back the entire time. Attendees have fallen asleep during final relaxation.
When asked what she likes most about yoga, Sojka said, “Seeing it on someone’s body or face, the empowerment that was such a release for them, it’s an amazing feeling.”
Wolf also commented, “The sense of family and commitment that you get in the class, we become a little family.”
They recommend purchasing one class and trying it. New students receive 30 days of unlimited classes for $30. Off the Mat plans to have morning classes on the Thomas House patio, weather dependent. Rates vary for athletic teams or private/employer groups.
“We have all the equipment that people need. You don’t need to buy or bring anything,” said Sojka.
“Come with an open mind ready to sweat and breathe,” added Wolf.
Vruwink made a few recommendations for beginners, “Try a beginner class first because you might feel more comfortable with similar students. A class will teach you the right way to do it, and then you can personalize it for yourself. It is definitely different than trying it at home yourself.”
Off the Mat Yoga is located at 103 S. Central Ave. in the Thomas House building. For more information call 715-572-0699 or 715-207-5960, visit otmyoga.com, or find the studio on Facebook.