Yoga in Wisconsin Rapids: Wellness Barn to open new downtown studio – Wisconsin Rapids Tribune

WISCONSIN RAPIDS – A yoga studio will open its doors in a new location next month, allowing students to flow through practice near the flow of the Wisconsin River.
The Wellness Barn Studio will focus on Vinyasa – or flow yoga – when it opens April 2 at 120 E. Grand Ave., at the former home of Schmidt’s Jewelry & Gifts’ near the Grand Avenue bridge. Tarah Mancl, owner of The Wellness Barn, wanted the studio to honor the history of the building as well as the history of the previous owners.
As students come to the main entrance behind the building, they will be greeted at a front desk that once held a jewelry display under the same roof. Murals painted by local artists will grace the walls, and locally-made yoga merchandise will be available. 
The Wellness Barn closed the doors of its previous location on Lincoln Street as the lease ran out for the building in 2020. It remained physically closed through the pandemic, but offered online classes for students to continue practicing yoga. While virtual yoga classes offered a way to continue yoga, Mancl said they lack the human and relationship side of the practice. Connection and exchange of energy are important parts of practicing yoga, and Mancl is mirroring those concepts through her studio.
Mancl felt a deep connection with the buildings in the area near the river, especially their history within the city. While Mancl opened her Lincoln Street studio 11 years ago, she always had a vision of an old, historical building for her studio. She had looked at neighboring buildings over the last few years, but the timing hadn’t been right until she called the building owners when the Schmidt’s Jewelry space became available.
The space is progressing toward Mancl’s vision, as she wanted to honor the history of the building in a modern way. Crews were able to restore the original 1898 wood flooring as well as the original light fixtures, but the space is also modernized with an open layout. The old, cubed glass windows have been replaced with new solid glass, bringing more light into the studio.
Just as exchange of energy between people is important in yoga, Mancl has a vision for similar collaboration with her studio’s neighbors. Mancl wants to partner with neighboring downtown businesses and has had conversations with owners of 2 Doors Down Brewing Co. and I Heart Art Studios to collaborate on events where people can experience an introduction to yoga in connection to another activity or interest like art or locally-brewed beer.
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For some people, easing into the practice of yoga takes time – it certainly did for Mancl. She said she first tried yoga in college when she had an eye-opening experience with anxiety. It halted her world, and she realized she needed a new perspective on health, she said. She went to a yoga class and hated it; her mind and body were so disconnected at the time that the practice was challenging. But instead of running from the challenge, as she was used to doing, she looked at it differently.
“I thought this challenge is giving me a message,” she said.
It took about a month of working through and practicing yoga for her to gain more clarity, focus and attention, she said. And it stuck with her. When she moved to Wisconsin Rapids about 20 years ago, she wanted to continue yoga. She began practicing at home, then worked with a mentor before taking additional training to become a certified instructor.
Mancl said she needed that introspection and her experience and journey with yoga in order to become a more effective teacher. She feels empathy and connection to other people, but it’s backed by the knowledge, education and experience to help others learn. Practicing yoga is a different experience for her as a teacher, but she hasn’t forgotten what it’s like on the other side of the mat.
While yoga can be physically challenging, a big factor is the mind. Mancl said the mind has limitations of what a person can or cannot do, and overcoming that mindset to achieve progress is important. She has noticed people looking to focus more on the mind and emotional aspects of health instead of just physical, and part of that has surfaced through the pandemic.
“People come with a lot of heavy things,” Mancl said. “Yoga is about that light and refreshment.”
The Wellness Barn will host an Opening New Doors event from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 2. People also can celebrate the studio’s 11th birthday on March 24 with 11% off the price of class passes.
Classes will be scheduled and available a month in advance, and The Wellness Barn will also offer events, workshops and retreat. For more information, visit thewellnessbarnstudio.com or find The Wellness Barn Studio LLC on Facebook.
Contact Caitlin at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @CaitlinShuda.

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