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Hot Yoga, Hot Trend Arrives in Brookfield

Bikram Yoga Milwaukee comes to Brookfield, and has a following as intense as its 105-degree studio on Blue Mound Road.

Like Paris Hilton would say, 'That's hot.' About 105 degrees hot.

For followers of Bikram yoga, they'd say it works.

"It's a workout like no other," said Lora Olenchek of Wauwatosa. "I'm a triathlete and the stretching and breathing in that heat has made me far more flexible, and ready to race as most of the competitions occur in midsummer."

Bikram yoga features a series of 26 postures and two breathing exercises, done in slow, controlled movements under intense heat. Founded in the late 1970s in America by yogi Bikram Choudhury, it has finally reached the Midwest, and now Brookfield.  

Bron Gacki's studio, his second in the area, is on Blue Mound Road just east of Woelfel Road and is set at 105 degrees for the duration of the 90-minute class.

He admits the concept of "workout" has to be stretched here, much like the muscles of his clients.

"This sure ain't 'eight-minute abs' here," he laughed. "However as challenging as the class is, it's all beginning postures which give the average American body the ability to move gracefully into old age."

Gacki said that most people are at first intimidated by the heat, but points out that the temperature actually serves to make muscles easier to stretch and the extended length of the sessions make sure movements aren't rushed.

"It is safer because your body's already warmed up. There are no quick movements and that's why it takes 90 minutes to go from head to toe. In addition we're working different organs, so the benefits are endless," he said.

Gacki opened a studio in downtown Milwaukee in 2009 after becoming an instructor in 2007, seven years after first stepping into a Bikram studio. His family, including both of his parents, brother and sister all teach Bikram. He said the new studio in Brookfield came at the request of students.

"I would get students coming in from outside the Milwaukee area who eventally couldn't come as often because they lived 'out west,' and they told me they would be able to attend more often if I had a studio out this way," he explained.

Nancy Serwin of Wauwatosa was one such student.

"I attended the classes on the east side for about a year, but I'm thrilled to have this option," she said. "I've actually been doing yoga for years, but I feel more flexible, more alive. I've seen a relief in my joints through the compression and release of the movements, it's really refreshing."

Make no mistake, however — this is hard work, and the combined exercise and heat will make you sweat. Yet the promise of burning calories while also sweating out toxins has created a loyal following on the mats.

"People who come a few times a week will benefit, but those who come five or six times just feel golden. And there's a group energy that people feel when they're working together in a class that can't be replicated at home," Gacki said.

Bikram Yoga Brookfield info:

Location: 17800 W. Bluemound Road, between Calhoun and Woelfel Road

Contact/Phone: www.yogamke.com 262-439-9020

Hours/Class times: Currently Monday-Friday 9 a.m., 4 & 6 p.m. (more will be added as demand requires); Saturday 8 & 10 a.m.

Other details: 20 packs of classes can be purchased for $230 (reg. $260), or autopay memberships offering unlimited yoga can be purchased for $49 for the first month, and $99 afterward.

Yoga Love January 18, 2013 at 04:37 PM
Hot Yoga especially Bikram Yoga is getting popularity day by day. People who want to lose weight and strong enough to tolerate the extreme heat, they can try Bikram Yoga. Nayeema Akter www.anamayaresort.com
John Wriley January 20, 2013 at 05:30 PM
I love hot yoga. I pratice in Ithaca NY at www.bikramithaca.com Its amazing. I will be visiting and can't wait to try this studio as well.

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