Going with the flow

(First published in the January 3, 2019 issue of City Pages) 

401 Flow Yoga opens in the former Community Soul Yoga studio


(From left) Sonja Gasper, Stephanie Fandrey and Ashlie Zeidler launched 401 Flow Yoga as a successor to Community Soul Yoga, where all three were yoga instructors.

There’s a story behind every business. For 401 Flow Yoga, you could say the owners started writing a new chapter while keeping the plot line of its predecessor, Community Soul Yoga.

The new studio, still located in the Washington Square building in downtown Wausau, has reopened under a new name, directly after Community Soul Yoga owner Kirsten Holmson decided it was time to “retire” so that she could focus on her family before her son and daughter (both in high school) leave the nest. The transition turns the page in the studio’s story, says Ashlie Zeidler, co-owner of 401 Flow with Sonja Gasper and Stephanie Fandrey. The new trio of owners will teach classes and share in running the business.

In terms of the yoga experience, not a lot will change, they say.

“We really wanted to keep the whole ‘everyone is welcome here’ vibe the same,” says Fandrey. “Our main goal is to make sure that people who come in feel seen, and they have a place to feel safe and feel like they matter to us.”

Gasper reiterates that while the name on the studio wall may be different, they’ve kept the flavor of the space. “The door closes, the door opens, we have the same schedule, the same classes, the same faces, and the same community.”

Community Soul Yoga had been around for almost eight years and was one of Wausau’s pioneering studios when Holmson opened it. This fall, Holmson approached the trio with her plans to retire from teaching, which would mean the studio would close. Gasper was the only one with experience running a business (she owns a market farm), but all three knew they had to take over to continue the studio’s legacy without missing a beat. “Our why behind this, was ‘This can’t not happen’,” says Gasper. “We needed to keep this open, we can’t just let it go. This space means so much to us.”

All three owners have been teaching for several years at Community Soul. “We all got our 200-hour yoga certification together with Kirsten, that is how we all met,” says Zeidler. They each will still keep their day jobs as well as teaching classes at the studio. “It’s a big step, it really is. We hope to continue to extend the love and support that was modeled for us by this community,” says Zeidler.

The three, along with Holmson’s husband, Eric Holmson, will teach a variety of classes during the week. “It looks a lot the same, with the same schedule and class styles,” says Zeidler. “We kept the same pricing, and we are trying to keep a lot of the structure.”

The schedule includes a Power Flow class; a Long, Slow Deep recovery Yin-based class which is perfect for athletes looking for a good stretch; a Foundations class; Slow Flow, which is slower paced and great for people still learning the poses; and a Happy Hour class on the weekends, which incorporates arm balances and is more playful and less structured.

401 Flow Yoga will host a grand opening celebration on Jan. 11 with two classes that day, 9-10 am and 4:30-5:30 pm, followed by a reception after each class. 401 Flow Yoga is located at 300 N. Third St., Suite 401. For more information see 401flowyoga.com. Classes can be booked on the website or on the MINDBODY app.