The highlight of my visit to Macomb, IL, was finding a wonderful yoga/fitness studio, Free Range Yoga, situated on the town square. This studio is the creation of Dawn Piper, and I was alerted to its existence by my former gymnastics coach, Roger Gedney. Dawn’s husband Tim is on the faculty of Western Illinois University and teaches Kinesiology. Tim also has taken over much of the support role for the community weight room that Roger created in the basement of the Salvation Army 30 years ago. Both Tim and Dawn are committed to improving the well-being of the community as a whole, and both are very knowledgeable about how to do so.
Dawn, pictured above, is not your typical yoga teacher. Most teachers stick to the catalog of standard asanas, but the rare few take a more eclectic approach bringing in exercises and activities drawn from other areas such as Pilates, Physical Therapy, and classical exercise methodology. Dawn is one of those instructors, and I knew that I would be in for an rare experience when I was instructed to grab two dumbells, a small elastic band, a larger elastic band, and a plastic playground ball, all of which were incorporated into the class. I came away from the class invigorated and in possession of some new exercises that I found to be extremely effective at improving stability and balance and which I plan to incorporate into my own practice.
The main studio is situated in a former old-fashioned drug store, and is a very clean and beautifully appointed. One of the things I liked the best was the fact that Dawn managed to incorporate the original lunch counter into the decor of the studio.
But wait, there’s more! Dawn’s perspective is much wider than that of the usual yoga studio, and she has acquired a separate space two doors down that is used for general fitness training and is equipped with weights and machines for that purpose.
If you ever find yourself in Macomb, please be sure to visit Free Range. You will meet some very fine people and have an excellent and eclectic experience.