Meet the Members

Jason Hajdik
Yogi of the Month

1. What drew you to the mat?

Almost two years ago, I was in the midst of one of our Wonderful Wisconsin Winters™.  I was having my usual lower back pain from inactivity due to not being able to do cycling in the cold months, and enduring major anxiety from a variety of factors from losing my job at the time to our political landscape. I wondered into Monona Yoga, had my first class which was Vinyasa with the wonderful Haley, and I have never looked back. Yoga will be a part of the rest of my life.


2. How does it feel to be a part of the Monona Yoga community?


It feels wonderful to be surrounded by a variety of exceptional teachers and yogis, all of which have become great friends of mine. Every class feels intimate and unique.


3. Outside of the yoga studio, what do you like to do?


I enjoy hiking and cycling, hanging out with my daughter, and am pretty heavily into the craft beer world and own two craft beer bars in Madison (the BarleyPops, bring your dogs and come say hi!)  


4. What are your favorite yoga poses, your least favorite?


My favorite poses are those that put several pieces together (such as balance, strength, and flexibility), so poses like Half Moon or Fallen Star. My least favorite pose is the seated wide-legged forward fold because my dumb hips just weren’t designed to move that way very comfortably. 


5. What do you do to help stay motivated to come back to the mat?


Personally, I am motivated by the relaxation and stress-relief my yoga practice brings me, as well as the feeling of growing what I can do with my body. So it doesn’t take much external motivation, because who doesn’t want to feel better on a daily basis? Outside of the occasional rest day, a day without practicing feels like something is missing!

Valerie Hesslink
Teacher of the Month

1. How long have you been practicing? 

I first tried yoga with DVDs almost 20 years ago. But I have had a regular yoga practice now for 11 years


What brought you to the mat?

I thought it would be good to feel less stressed in my life and heard yoga could help with that.


2. What is yoga/what does yoga mean to you? 

My favorite quote that sums up right now what yoga means to me is:

"Yoga is not an elusive higher realm that only very clever people can aspire to. It Is the opening of the heart so that we have the capacity to feel tenderness, joy and sorrow without shutting down. " Donna Farhi.


3. What impact has yoga has on your life? How have you been changed, evolved, &/or transformed?

I have made deeper connections first in my own body, and also with connections to others in my life and the world around me. 


4. What is your favorite style of yoga to teach? What is your favorite style of yoga to practice?

Yin yoga is my jam in practice and in teaching.  


5. What has been your biggest challenge on the mat? What has been your biggest milestone?

Even today,  it can be a challenge adapting poses to fit my body. I have a tendency to want it to look a certain way, but I always come back to listening inside instead. 

My biggest milestone was achieving Malasana after 3 years of practice. 

Monona Yoga Center | 320 W Broadway, Ste C | Monona, WI 53716

608.572.4831 |

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