Sue Hopkins doesn't teach yoga for fitness—after adapting the art to combat her back pain and completing several training programs to become a Professional Yoga Therapist, she champions its wellness benefits. Alongside the devoted instructors at Etowah Valley Yoga & Yoga, Etc., she strives to demonstrate how regular practice can adapt to and counteract various health concerns from joint pain to anxiety. In the interest of personalization, the staff keeps their classes small. The teachers at the original Etowah Valley Yoga venue might lead the prolonged holds of Yin yoga, the inversions of Level II yoga, or the whisper-soft self-hugs of gentle yoga. At Yoga, Etc., teachers focus on safety and accessibility for clients of all backgrounds. Seated tai chi and chair-yoga classes provide ample support for soothing poses, while "Don't Fall" seminars cover tips for enhanced balance and everyday movement. As the head of a registered yoga school, Sue also enables her students to earn their 200- or 500-hour teaching certifications.
Rev. Othene has earned Yoga Alliance's highest credential for a registered yoga teacher: the E-RYT 500 designation. Othene shares her knowledge at her yoga studio, The Center for Yoga, which has serviced Woodstock and it surrounding yogis for over 17 years. As the center's owner and senior teacher, Othene brings 33 years of personal practice experience to her classes as well as certifications in the traditions of hatha yoga and Vinyasa flow. Her teaching style caters to both beginner and advanced students, whether they are exploring workshops, inquiring about teaching training programs, or joining her on an international yoga trip.
Othene's center also holds the distinction of being a certified Yoga Training School (RYS). Each week, she and her staff host yoga classes for both kids and adults. She and her team also schedule a variety of events, such as astrology workshops, meditation, mediation for recovery, women's only meetings, and book clubs.
Perhaps his degree in physics from Georgia Tech or his longtime stint as a partner in an engineering firm prepped Jeff Sousa to understand the improbable poses that yoga demands. Before starting Ember Yoga, he knew that he wanted to take possession of his own physical health, and so he left his engineering days behind and became a full-time yoga teacher. He opened Ember Yoga as a venue for others to discover their own passion for yoga.
Now, 16 other passionate yoga teachers—including former basketball players and professional cyclists—aid Jeff in teaching 16 unique yoga classes. Along with the hot-yoga courses, including Vinyasa, the team leads diverse groups through sessions intended for children, and practitioners intent on mediation. This panoply of offerings recently won the Woodstock-Towne Lake Patch Readers' Choice Award for Best Gym. The 4,400-square-foot studio features four distinct areas, including a hardwood hot-yoga studio, locker rooms with onsite showers, and a boutique full of yoga equipment and apparel.
The Posture Project is a yoga and wellness center that fuses mindful yoga practice with bodywork, helping clients to exercise their minds, bodies, and spirits in a safe, welcoming space. Believing that yoga is a perfect way to release stress and connect to your inner self, the experienced instructors offer Hatha yoga classes to long-time yogis and beginners alike, encouraging students to breathe and consciously relax during their practice. After class, clients can head for the dry infrared sauna to soak up radiant energy, or have a massage session with a licensed massage therapist in a private room. The minimally-decorated center uses natural light to create a calming effect for its students and any birds meditating on the window ledge. And for clients who can’t make it into the studio, The Posture Project posts yoga videos online so they can continue their regular practice anywhere.
Since opening Nutrition World in 1979, founder Ed Jones has fostered healthy mastication with an expansive inventory of natural, organic, and gluten-free foodstuffs. As shoppers peruse the aisles, nutrition-savvy store clerks stand by to answer inquiries and suggest healthy alternatives to junk food such as chips or notoriously indulgent Cracker Jack prizes. Shelves sport boxes of DeBoles gluten-free pasta ($3.89), and refrigerators eschew lactose with cartons of sunflower, coconut, hemp, and almond milk ($2.99+). Shoppers can scarf down the protein of an OhYeah! chocolate-caramel bar ($2.49) or work on their Popeye impressions by downing Amy's spinach pizza ($7.99).
As a Bikram yoga instructor and studio owner, Naedra Fox's job is to make a 105-degree room with 40% humidity a welcoming space. To do this, she and her fellow teachers made a pilgrimage to Los Angeles to attend the once-yearly instructor certification course taught by Bikram Choudhury. The intensive nine-week apprenticeship focuses on more than merely mastering the 26 poses. Certified Bikram instructors learn how to make their classes a beginner-friendly, nonjudgmental space that still pushes students to expand their limits. Additionally, Naedra strives for an inclusive, family atmosphere. Newcomers nervous about the notoriously sweaty, 90-minute Bikram sessions are free to stretch postures only as far as is comfortable for them.