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Soleil Lune Yoga Center Takes the Intimidation Out of Yoga

By Pamela Sosnowski

There's a common misconception among those that don't practice it that yoga is only for young, flexible students that are capable of holding the poses. At Soleil Lune Yoga Center of Oconomowoc, however, owner and instructor Trish Washburn is quick to dispel that myth.

"We embrace a slow, patient, methodical approach to the mastery of asana (yoga)," she said. "We do not believe in an aggressive approach. We feel that growth can not occur through ambition, competition, straining, or pushing oneself or one's students into postures they are not meant to be in and/or are not ready for."

With that philosophy in mind, Soleil Lune Yoga Center has been offering a yoga class for everyone for over 15 years. There are Yoga Basics and Gentle Flow classes, perfect for those just learning the ropes of yoga and those students that prefer a slower pace. Power Flow, which incorporates handstands and other balancing poses, is suitable for those with intermediate yoga experience who are ready for a challenge.

The center also teaches several specialty yoga classes designed for students with specific needs. One of the most unique offerings is Deaf Yoga, which allows hearing impaired participants to easily follow the instructor's teachings using visual cues. Other classes include Paddleboard Yoga, which is taught on water during the summer season. All classes have prenatal options.

All classes and workshops teach students how to engage their mind/body connection. Washburn and her fellow instructors are big on positive thinking and understanding how thoughts help shape an individual's life and physical world.

"We believe that our thoughts predestine our actions and through our yoga practice, we can learn a lot about ourselves and our thought patterns," she said. "We embrace the fact that our mats are our mirrors that reflect who and what we really, truly, authentically are."

Washburn founded the studio in 2002 along with fellow yogi Robin Philips, and took over the operation when Philips relocated out of state. Washburn left her corporate job in 2003 to pursue yoga teaching full-time, stating that her job has never felt like work since she is doing what she loves, which is introducing people to the transformative power of yoga.

Along with the regular classes and workshops, Soleil Lune Yoga Center organizes a yearly retreat to Costa Rica. The week-long excursion at the Bhodi Tree Yoga Resort will incorporate journaling with two daily yoga sessions in addition to surfing, horseback riding, zip lining, hiking, and other physical extracurricular activities of the student's choosing. The natural beauty of the resort's location also helps participants connect with themselves and nature.

Washburn and a fellow instructor lead 200-hour teacher training programs at the center for those interested in pursuing a yoga career. Continuing education courses are regularly offered to help instructors stay updated on the latest techniques and trends.

No matter what type of class or training one takes at Soleil Lune Yoga Center, they'll always find a supportive, friendly environment and one-on-one attention from instructors.

"We are committed to each student's success and beyond," Washburn said. "We do our part to support our student community in any way we can. Our staff is committed to getting to know each student and directly meet their needs."

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