“Yoga Trish” is a name well known to many people in Lake Country. Owner of Soleil Lune Yoga Center, Trish Washburn has been teaching yoga in Oconomowoc for 15 years.

“When most people say ‘yoga’ they think of a yoga class, but yoga is a lifestyle,” Washburn explains. “The philosophy of yoga is … true peace, true contentment, and true joy,” she says.

First exposure 

Washburn’s interest in yoga dates back to college, even though she didn’t pursue it then.

“It took a very dark time in my life to push me into actually following through, and it changed all avenues of my life,” she explains.

Her first class was in 1998 at a studio in Hartland. “I didn’t actually care for the class, but I loved the way I felt when I was done,” she recalls. “It gave me a more realistic outlook on life, much more grounded take on what was happening, and I was able to connect deeper into my faith,” she adds.

Career evolution 

Washburn’s evolution to yogini was not a straight line.

She studied marketing and advertising in college and spent some time working in the corporate world. Her brother died in 1992 from a car accident, and Washburn moved to Texas in 1994 to heal.

A job opportunity led her from the Lone Star State to Florida, where she became a professional water skier at SeaWorld in Orlando and taught water skiing at Disney World. Raised in Elmhurst, Illinois, Washburn had grown up water skiing on Whitewater Lake, where her parents have a summer home.

A year later, Washburn returned to the Midwest, and a friend of a friend needed a roommate. She settled in Oconomowoc and took a job at a software company in Hartland. By 1998, she was dabbling in yoga. In 2002, Washburn and Robin Philips opened Soleil Lune. A year later, Washburn bought out her partner and went full-time as a yoga instructor.

More than exercise 

Washburn specializes in vinyasa yoga. Not a series of postures, vinyasa yoga is “basically connecting movement and breath, and your process is put forth in a special way, with intention. It might be introspective or an anatomical alignment,” she explains.

The classroom experience is more than exercise. “Yoga is a mind, body, and spirit connection,” Washburn says. “Yoga’s sole purpose is to prepare the mind and body to meditate with God, but yoga does not belong to any one religion,” she adds.

While some classes focus on gentle stretching, others are physically demanding and leave participants “a sweaty mess,” Washburn says.

One common element in any yoga class is being present in the moment, a vanishing art in a fast-paced, technology-driven world. “Yoga offers tools for you to uncover what’s always been there — your soul,” says Washburn.

Private practice 

Washburn practices yoga daily and teaches 7 to 12 classes per week. She is amazed at how the studio has evolved over the years, incorporating aromatherapy, yoga retreats, and even stand-up paddle boarding.

“Paddleboard yoga is such a phenomenal experience. Not only are you connecting your yoga with other people who have the same interests, now you’re taking it out onto the water and nature,” says Washburn.

Last September, Soleil Lune also opened a yoga school that trains new teachers and offers continuing education. The center also offers yoga certification for teachers to accommodate the deaf and hard of hearing. “We believe yoga is for everyone,” says Washburn.

She adds, “Yoga’s something we can do from the time we can walk until the time we leave this Earth — and in any capacity — because yoga will always meet you where you’re at, which is brilliant.”

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