Namaste on the beach: Yoga along the Wisconsin River
By Taylor J. Hale
STEVENS POINT – The soothing sound of chirping birds and calming tones of rushing water can add a serene element to any yoga or meditation session. That’s why Ana Merchak, owner of Ana Marie Yoga, developed her tranquil Beach Yoga classes along the Wisconsin River at Mead Park.
“Tranquil places help people disconnect, yet allow them to reconnect with themselves on a deeper level,” explained Merchak in an interview with the Gazette. “Beaches are a ‘happy place’ for a lot of people, so it’s a perfect setting for yoga. The uneven texture of sand underneath your yoga mat, feeling the breeze and seeing ducks playing in the water keeps you in the moment.”
The program started in 2018 as a way for Merchak to aid students in taking their practice outside of the studio. Beach Yoga classes initially started at Iverson Park beach, but Merchak quickly relocated the session to Mead Park due to large crowds.
“I started offering Beach Yoga at Iverson Park last June, but then switched locations midsummer due to that beach being too crowded,” she said. “It was an excellent choice to move, the beach at Mead Park is really quiet and a lovely summer setting for my class.”
The outdoor sessions are now in full effect and are open to participants of all skill levels. Merchak sees the event as a means to harmonize with nature and unwind.
“My classes provide a nice combination of strength, balance and flexibility and are perfect for anyone looking to de-stress and tune inward,” Merchak added.
Merchak has studied yoga for over a decade and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in health promotion & wellness from UW-Stevens Point.
The veteran yogi also has multiple certifications through YogaFit and Yoga Alliance. The Beach Yoga classes allow students of all ability levels to experience the natural landscapes of Wisconsin in a new and peaceful way — connecting them to their environment.
The next class will be offered at Mead Park, 1201 W Whitney Street, Stevens Point, on July 19 at 5 p.m.
Merchak also offers Flow Yoga at the Wellness Spa. For more information, visit www.anamarieyoga.com.