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.
Equipment: Real Ryder and Lemond Bikes, Lululemon yoga accessories, Everlast box
Students should bring: A bottle for water. We have purified water and towel service.
Registration required: Yes
Good for beginners: Yes
Average class length: 30?60 minutes
Number of Staff: 11?25 people
Class location: Mix of indoor and outdoor classes
Guests allowed: Yes
Parking: Parking lot
Pro Tip: Bring a friend. Having a workout buddy motivates both of you and makes it more fun.
Exercise is challenging, and people frequently give up on their fitness routines. How do you keep clients motivated?
Our trainers keep it fun by changing things up all the time. Whether it's cycling, yoga, or group fitness, each day is different. And we focus on balance in working out?cardio, strength, and flexibility are all part of our program at Thrive.
What's the most radical physical transformation you've seen a client make?
We have a client in his early 60s who has absolutely transformed his body by consistent exercise and training and good nutrition. He credits his personal trainer, but really he's done all the hard work. And it shows.
Sweating to the oldies is acceptable, but sweating to the blues less so. Do you find that certain styles and genres of music generate more intense workouts?
Music motivates movement; there's no question. We have a great mix of instructors who play a wide variety of music, including original mixes from one of our DJ instructors. You'll find rock and roll, jazz, reggae and lots of electronic dance tracks here. And we have a disco ball in the cycle studio.
Is there anything else you want to add that we didn't cover?
Thrive is all about functional fitness?that is, keeping people healthy as they move through all phases of their life. Our clients range in age from rom the twenties to the seventies. Even though their fitness needs differ, their goals are basically the same: to stay healthy and fit. It's our challenge to help them. We think we do a great job; at least, they tell us that we do.
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.