MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Standing on a windy, frozen lake doesn’t sound appealing to most — but that’s just what several Minnesotans do in order to relax.
The orange glow on the horizon brings a sliver of serenity to a tundra-turned yoga studio. “Just get into that cozy mindset. Imagine that you’re on a beach somewhere,” says yoga instructor Jamie Bartlett. “Find that breath. Find that warmth.”
Bartlett and much of her close-knit class live around the now-frozen Crooked Lake in Minnesota’s Anoka County. She teaches classes in the summer on the lake with everyone on paddleboards. With it being a mild winter so far, she wondered if the outdoor exercise could continue. “We were just hanging out on a Sunday afternoon and I’m like, ‘Let’s do ice yoga!’” Bartlett said.
It’s an idea some might consider to crazy. “Well, we are [crazy],” admits participant Jamie Wilson. “But that’s Minnesota, so we’re just out here trying to have a good time.”
Even with gloves on, fingertips felt nearly frozen as each minute passed. The wind hitting the women’s faces could easily pull them out of their tranquil state. But rather than worry about how their bodies were feeling, they focused on their minds. “It’s all about how you’re thinking, the positivity, the thoughts that you have and just really staying focused and intentional with everything that you’re doing,” says Wilson.
All were wearing full winter gear most suitable for ice fishing, which can make moving between poses feel clunky. “You may feel a little tighter. You might not be able to bend as far,” says Bartlett.
During the class, music on a portable speaker suddenly turned off. Bartlett’s phone, which was playing the music and had a full battery, had died from the cold.
The challenges in these conditions are undeniable, but the communal connection to each other and nature — even in the face of frigid cold — is all the warmth they need. “Just enjoy the winter and get out and just spread some love and joy and positivity,” says Bartlett.