Here’s how a 22-year-old Milwaukee woman is working to make yoga accessible to everybody and every body – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Posted: February 26, 2020 at 8:43 am

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Ashlee Tuck, 22, of Milwaukee founded Ashlee's Crazy Yoga.(Photo: Hannah Kirby/ Now News Group)

At 22, Ashlee Tuck has her own yoga studio and a mission for her life: To show that yoga is for everybody and every body,regardless or skin color, age or ability.

"Yoga is depicted, I don't want to sound racist, but as a white woman doing yoga," said Tuck, a Milwaukee resident. "You don't get to see everyone doing yoga."

To change that, Tuckopened a yoga studio, Ashlee's Crazy Yoga, with her husband, Kary, a nutritionist, earlier this month in South Milwaukee, and works with New Beginnings are Possible,a Christian youth center, in Milwaukee.

"Ashlee's Crazy Yoga is all about reaching yoga to the masses, so yoga, wellness and everything is accessible," she said.

"There was so many traumas in the lives of so many of our children, we asked Ashlee to partner with us to provide yoga," saidJohn Greene, executive director of New Beginnings are Possible.

New Beginnings provides after-school and summer programming to more than 80 children in northwest Milwaukee.

"We're trying to make sure our children are really well cared for, very safe, are competitive in the classroom now, and that later on, they will helpour families pull out of poverty and get career-sustaining jobs, and be strong contributors in the community," Greene said.

Tuck teaches yoga bootcampsto about 35 students at the center twice a week, and Kary helps educate them on nutrition.

"The kids are learning about the body parts, muscles and all of that being worked," said Tuck, who is in her second year with the center. "Then, we do a yoga cool down and kids start to learn about mindfulness and finding stillness."

"It's hard to stay triggered, stay stressed and have high cortisol levels if you have the body relaxation," Greene said."Helping our children cope better is what we're getting after."

Since beginning at New Beginnings, Tuck said she has really seen an improvement in how the children self-regulate andco-regulate.

"As a young African American woman, she's a great role model to our teenagers," Greene said. "The opportunity for them to see someone who embraces a lifestyle that promotes health and wellness is extremely important."

In the future, the center plans to offeryoga for parents when they pick their kids up, so they can "get centered and be the best parents they can be in the evenings," Greene said.

At 19, Ashlee Tuck started working toward her 200-hour yogateacher certification through YogaFit, which she would finish over the next two years.(Photo: Hannah Kirby/ Now News Group)

When Tuck needed one more fitness credit to graduate from Homestead High School in Mequon, she signed up for a core strength class, which included a section on yoga.

"I just loved how it could keep you flexible and the longevity of it," Tuck said.

After graduating in 2015, Tuck started working at Home Depot while figuringout what she wanted to do with her life and ultimately decided it was yoga.

"You can take yoga to the grave, and that's what I plan to do," she said.

At 19, Tuck started working towardher 200-hour yogateacher certification through YogaFit, which she would finish over the next two years while continuing to work at Home Depot.

During work breaks, she would sit in the store's garden area and write down affirmations: "I will be able to teach yoga full time.I will be able to open my own studio."

"It was constantly flipping through that notebook everyday, every shift," she said. "I used to think about it and visualize it."

In order to complete her yoga certification, Tuck was required to do eight hours of community service, and taught yoga classesto staff at a retirement communityin Mequon.

In fall of 2016, she landed her first paid gig, teaching classes at the Wisconsin Athletic Club.

She also continued volunteering, but this time, it was chair yoga at Golden Pearl Adult Day Services, which serves "adults with disabilities and the frail elderly," in Richfield.

"I just really made a connection to the folks that were there," Tuck said.

A couple months later, it turned into a job, where she'd teach hour-long classes twice a week until 2018.

In 2017, Tuck began holding free yoga classes out of an art gallery space connected to her apartment building, while still working at the gym and also teaching yoga in corporate settings.

She was able to leave Home Depot in March of 2018.

The following year, she left the WAC, then started working at Body by Design in Waukesha, where she continues to teach.

Tuck also puts onworkshops throughout the Milwaukee area, such as, "Yoga at the Beach" and "Wine and Yoga," as well as classes for charity, including "Yoga for Autism" and "Yoga for the Homeless."

"My passion is to give back," Tuck said.

Ashlee's Crazy Yoga is located at 1633 Rawson Ave., South Milwaukee.(Photo: Hannah Kirby/ Now News Group)

"Ashlee's Crazy Yogais a space of acceptance, to be welcomed, and to show emotions," Tucksaid.

The name Ashlee's Crazy Yoga comes from the idea that "you're crazy enough to try yoga," she said.

"People are afraid of yoga," she said. "They think it's a flexibility competition, but it's about becoming a better person. Every time you come through our doors, we want you to be a better person."

Ashlee's Crazy Yoga, located at 1633 Rawson Ave., South Milwaukee, puts on three drop-in yoga classes a week.

The classes are "MindfulMondays," a combination of slow flow yin and sound therapy withsinging bowls and tuning forks, at 4 p.m. Mondays, "Happy Hips," which involves hip-openers and lunges,at 6 p.m. Wednesdays, and "Slowflow Saturday," a yin-style class, at 6 p.m. Saturdays.

Each class costs $8, and a week pass is $20.

Tuck offers private yoga classes for people who have specific goals, or needs, such as chair yoga for seniors.

While yogisare welcome to bring their own equipment, the studio also has mats and blocks participants can use.

In addition to being a yoga teacher, Tuck is a reiki master teacher.

During the studio's reikisessions, aclient lays on a massage tableand Tuck lightly touches, or hovers over, their body, moving throughchakra energy points and using essential oils.

"Most people after reiki sessions feel refreshed and sometimes, people are emotional, which is heavy energy coming up," she said.

In addition to being a yoga teacher, Tuck is a Reiki master teacher.During the studio's reikisessions, aclient lays on a massage tableand Tuck lightly touches, or hovers over, their body, moving throughchakra energy points and using essential oils.(Photo: Hannah Kirby/ Now News Group)

Tuck, who is working towardher yoga therapist certification, is also offering somatictherapy sessions, which combinetalk therapy and body engagement.

"Some studios are "boutique-y," Tuck said. "They want to teach just straight up yoga. You're going to come for the physical practice. But yoga, you have to remember, is mind, body and soul. You have to do the physical practice, but you can't forget about holding that mental or emotional space for yourself."

Private yoga classes are $40 for an hour, reiki sessions are $60 for an hour (the first session costs $50), therapy sessions are $100 for an hour, and the studio also offers a private guided meditation practice for a half hour for $40.

Tuck's husband, Kary, who got his nutritionist certification through ACTION, offers personal nutritionist services at the studio.

"We go over your caloric intake, the breakdown, how to split upcertain proteins, carbs and fats throughout your day," he said. "A lot of people think changing their diet or losing weight is so hard and complex ... It's as simple as just eating the right thing at the right time."

Husband and wife Kary and Ashlee Tuck opened Ashlee's Crazy Yoga studio in South Milwaukee in early February 2020.(Photo: Hannah Kirby/ Now News Group)

The first 30-minute session is $20. For $50 a month, Kary meets with clients twice a month, works with them to create individualized meal and/or workout plans, and gives them 24/7 access to contact him for guidance or questions.

"It's what every kid would dream of, I just want to grow up and be like Superman and help everyone and be there when they need help," he said. "And to actually wake up, and these people come here and feel safe here. You are their hero in a way. It's the best thing to help people."

For more information on Ashlee's Crazy Yoga or to sign up for sessions,

The studio held its first class on Feb. 10. The grand opening is from 1 to 3 p.m. Feb. 29, with a free yoga class at 2 p.m., essential oils sampling, and a raffle.

"I really want to get to know this community and start something great here," Ashlee Tucksaid.

In the future, shehopes topartner with nearby schools for after-school yoga, and to launch a lunchtime yoga class for local businesspeople.

"I just love helping people," she said.

Contact Hannah Kirby at Follow her on Twitter at @HannahHopeKirby.

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Here's how a 22-year-old Milwaukee woman is working to make yoga accessible to everybody and every body - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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February 26th, 2020 at 8:43 am

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