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Things To Do: Not your everyday yoga in mid-Michigan

Jenny Wagemann practicing yoga with a hula hoop
Posted at 4:16 PM, May 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-11 22:35:51-04

LANSING, Mich. — With restrictions loosening, yoga studios are starting to reopen for in-person classes.

But nothing says getting back to normal has to be normal. Mid-Michigan offers several different types of yoga, including hot yoga, aerial yoga and even yoga with a hula hoop.

YogaRound is yoga with a very special prop: a hula hoop.

Jenny Wagemann is the creator and founder.

"It helps us with balance, helps us with alignment, and keeps us in our plane of movement. It gives us something to actually touch our bodies for those adjustments especially during this time where physical adjustments aren't totally smiled upon at the moment," Wagemann said. "You can use something that's in your hand giving you the control of giving you the physical adjustments to deepen your yoga practice."

So you aren't really hula hooping while doing yoga.

Jenny Wagemann practicing Yoga with a Hula Hoop

Wagemann started practicing yoga when she was in high school and fell in love with hula hooping when she was in college.

"Hula hooping was my form of dance and yoga was my form of getting in touch with my soul," Wagemann said. "They are both referred to as meditative movement. So I knew that there was a connection there. However, it wasn't until I took my yoga teacher training at People's Yoga in REO Town Lansing here that I really started to connect the dots and learning more about yoga and how these two are intertwined."

She says people across the globe do hula hoop yoga in their own special way and she feels fantastic being able to share her YogaRound practice.

Her classes are good for beginners as well as those who have been practicing yoga for many years in order to spice things up.

"This is definitely an activity you can do with family, friends, coworkers," Wagemann said. "This is a family-friendly activity however double digits for the kid's age would be preferred if you're coming to a regularly scheduled class."

Jenny Wagemann teaching FOX 47's Tianna Jenkins how to do yoga with a hula hoop

Because the pandemic is still a thing, Wagemann has socially distanced classes outside, offers disinfected hula hoops, and requires marks for inside classes. And if you prefer to stay in your own home you can also check out her online classes.

In downtown Lansing, you can sweat it out while practicing yoga at Firefly Hot Yoga Barre. The yoga studio offers hot yoga and aerial yoga among other things.

Owner Abbey Weston has been doing yoga for about 16 years. She says everyone has a different formula when it comes to hot yoga but the main ingredient is heat.

Firefly Hot Yoga Barre before coronavirus pandemic

"We have different classes here, and it's heated. We encourage you to take it at your own pace. We have flowing classes. We have restorative, gentle classes. It's really just yoga with heat," Weston said.

She says their temperatures are lower than what they used to be because of COVID and the fact that everyone wears a mask.

"It's still 95 degrees," Weston said.

When you think about yoga, hanging in the air doesn't really come to mind. But, with aerial yoga, you can stretch it out without touching the floor using aerial silks that hang from the ceiling.

Aerial Yoga demonstration

"They are really safe and supportive," Weston said. "We still have mats. It's definitely different. You're going to go upside down typically in every class. Some of the classes might be a lower height from the ground and some might be more mid-level to go for full inversions."

She says it is a supportive form of yoga and intimidates some people but it really helps you get into proper alignment. And don't worry the heat is turned down for aerial yoga.

Firefly Hot Yoga Barre

In order to make sure everyone feels safe Weston says they do a temperature check, have air filters, require masks and clean constantly. She says they are down to nine spaces which is a 75% reduction.

"All of us has had a really tough year. But we're here for people," Weston said.

They also have stickers on the floor to help everyone stay 6 feet away from each other.

"Right now we're primarily adults. We are going to hopefully have some children's aerial yoga either classes or hopefully have our kids aerial camp this summer," Weston said. "Everyone can benefit from yoga, self-care some mindfulness just taking time out for themselves."

In Old Town, you will find Hilaire Lockwood guiding bodies, minds and spirits while teaching traditional yoga at Hilltop Yoga.

Lockwood has been on her mat for 31 years, and Hilltop Yoga has been a part of the Lansing community for 18 years. Lockwood says she was trained in Los Angeles, California by one of the best yoga instructors in the world, Maty Ezraty.

"I train my teachers to teach this way very traditionally. Our lineage is very strong," Lockwood said.

Hilaire Lockwood teaching traditional yoga

She says, at Hilltop Yoga, you will get the whole practice.

"Yoga is body, mind, and spirit. There are eight limbs to the practice, not just one not just asana, not just movement. You will get meditation, and you will get breath work and, you saw tonight, we will chant."

She says people who do yoga need it and that was the case for her.

"I lived 16 years with cancer. I've had five neck dissections ear to ear, clavicle to clavicle, and I'm here because of my practice. I'm alive literally because of yoga," Lockwood said.

She says it's not just physical peace but also the mental peace and space that allows you to alleviate stress.

Evening class at Hilltop Yoga

Some of her classes include basic yoga, power yoga, yin yoga, and slow-flow yoga.

Right now they haven't started their children's yoga because they are waiting until they are able to get vaccinated. Lockwood says they are also not taking expecting mothers right now in order to make sure everyone is safe.

Temperatures are checked at the door, masks are worn at all times, mats are constantly cleaned and they have air filters in place.

"Hopefully, come July, capacity restrictions will be lifted, but masks will stay," Lockwood said.

She also offers online classes but has things in place to help everyone feel safe.

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Meet Tianna Jenkins

Tianna Jenkins

12:23 PM, Jan 12, 2021

Senior Multimedia Journalist