Gingerly, I step out of my car and onto the frozen ground. It’s early on a Saturday morning, and the cold is still a shock to my system. I gather my water bottle and scurry up the wooden ramp and onto the porch of Ironwood Yoga. I take a deep breath before reaching for the door handle, then I pull it open and step inside the reception area. Seated across from me at a tiny wooden desk with a computer is the yoga instructor, one leg pulled up onto her chair, her knee under her chin. She is chatting quietly with a few other folks who’re tucking jackets, sweatshirts and socks into cubbies before entering the heated studio. I quickly check in and rent a mat and mat towel before I shed layers in preparation for the 95-degree heat.
I open the French door to the yoga studio just enough to slip inside. The heat envelops me and I feel like I move a little slower as I select a mat and a space on the floor. Several other participants have rolled out their mats and are taking some introductory stretches. I do the same, folding forward to awaken my hamstrings. This heated vinyasa class is the smallest I’ve yet attended at Ironwood, just eight participants, and several genders are represented.
I’m just settling in to a slow stretch and feel like I could go back to sleep when the instructor strides in and invites us to begin the practice at the top of our mats. Breathe in and haaah. It takes a few inhales, but eventually we synchronize. The class proceeds, at first gently with some sun salutations and picks up pace and difficulty with lunges and balance poses. In the heat, I sweat easily, at first just in a gloss but eventually in droplets that are absorbed by my mat towel. Breathe in and haaah. After a sequence with several chair poses, I pause to drink water and mop my brow. Then I rejoin the breath—Breathe in and haaah—and my body obeys and performs its twentieth chaturanga dandasana without giving out. I sink deeper into a downward-facing dog. My limbs elasticize. The instructor reminds us to stay together in our breath. Breathe in and haaah. We tackle a boat pose that challenges my abdominal muscles. And then it’s over, and I can hardly believe an hour has passed.
Heated vinyasa is a marvelous indoor class, especially on a grey winter day in Northern Door County. For those who prefer a more temperate class, Ironwood in Sister Bay offers non-heated options, like Hatha and Restorative yoga. Class schedules cover the morning and evening hours all days of the week. Ironwood also plays host to one-time workshops, inviting other like-minded wellness leaders from Door County and beyond to share their knowledge of the body, fitness and health. Coming up on Sunday, February 16 is an “An evening of exploration: Lucia Light and Gong Experience.” The experience touts inner peace, clarity and relaxation as outcomes. Check out their schedule for an up-to-date view of all of their offerings.
Distance from the Blacksmith Inn: Driveable in 11 minutes (8.7 miles)
Pre-registration required: It is strongly recommended to preregister online to reserve a space.
Cost: Varies depending on class and rentals; ~$15-20 per class
Keep the heat going! A rinse and then a soak in your whirlpool tub at the Blacksmith Inn on the Shore are just what the doctor ordered after a yoga class. Check here for our availability.