2017 Readers’ Choice Selection: Ann Chrapkiewicz, yoga instructor

Ann Renee Chrapkiewicz, 38, is the independent owner of Bikram Yoga Capital Area. While she’s taught the Bikram Yoga method, which is the original hot yoga, for more than 12 years around the state, she’s owned and directed this school for three and a half years. She has about 500 students who she said she knows well enough to be on a first name basis.

“The yoga method we teach and practice demands that we look at our weaknesses very honestly, face our challenges and habits head-on, and transform feelings of inadequacy and comparison,” she said. “I feel that any significant metropolitan area – especially one with a major university – should have access to the Bikram Yoga method and lineage teachers.”

Chrapkiewicz has extensive study and training with several variations of yoga disciplines, speaks regularly about as well as author’s columns. She said she used yoga to heal a fractured vertebrae in her lower spine and eliminate a 10-year eating disorder among other health benefits. She said takes great pride in creating a safe and sustainable beginner’s foundation, before moving on.”

“I require most students to practice 100 classes before moving to a class that is not verbally instructed, and 250 classes before moving to an intermediate set of postures,” she said. “That means no headstands for several years for most people, if at all!  To do more advanced postures safely, a lot of foundational strength, self-discipline, and alignment need to be developed with the guidance of experienced teachers.

Larry Brill, 58, of Okemos, is a pilot that travels the world. His go to is Bikram Yoga because the practice is very rigorously taught and concentrates on learning beginning yoga the correct way before ever moving on to more advanced poses after years of experience or for that matter becoming an instructor. He said Chrapkiewicz is one of the best teachers he’s had.

“My lung function and immunity is better than at any time in my life,” he said. “I am much more flexible than I was in my teens and have been able to progress much further in my strength training routines than I ever though possible. I don’t think this would have happened to this level without Bikram yoga and Ann’s dedicate instruction.”

“I teach just about every day of the week, and on most days I teach more than one class,” she said. “I know every student in every class by name, and I work with them very specifically and individually on their areas of difficulty, injury, and challenge, even though we mostly practice in a group setting.Part of my role is as an observer, as a witness to the profound healing that happens in people’s yoga practice.  Another part of my “job” is to model radical acceptance of the present moment and to guide our responses to it in non-reactive ways.

Chrapkiewicz said she was humbled by her nomination at a Top Fitness Pro. “It is very inspiring to know that my students’ lives have been transformed and improved to an extent that they want to express it publicly,” she said. “My mission and passion in life are to coach, write, think, and educate people about yoga in this tradition, and this feature helps me to do that!  Thank you to everyone who has made this possible.”

Want to know more? E-mail Ann at or visit

About the Readers’ Choice nomination process

Who makes the greatest difference to your health and wellness? Good question. Healthy & Fit Magazine spent the latter part of 2016 asking you, our reader, to describe and nominate the top health and wellness professional in your life – the one who is helping you to live your best life. Nominations ran the gamut. We had nurses, dietitians, doctors, dentists — you name it. Someone was nominated in each category.

This was by every definition a successful search. We had nearly 1,000 nominations come in for our first year. It was impressive. We asked each reader to not only nominate their top fitness professional, but share a personal experience as to why they should be featured. There are a lot of health and wellness professionals in the area held in high esteem by their clients.

We kept the categories open, too, hoping to have many different types of professionals cited.

The following professionals were nominated by their clients. In many cases, they had several nominations. It was hard for the Healthy & Fit Magazine editorial team to pick the best story from the bunch, but we did. And we’re proud of the outcome.

Read more about the winners as the stories are posted:

  1. Aaron Holly, physical therapist
  2. Wendy Stoll, personal trainer
  3. Nate Feldpausch, CrossFit coach
  4. Walter Crockett, personal trainer

Leave a Reply