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.
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.
"Our brain is designed to realize what we wish, without any minor errors," says Dahn Yoga founder Ilchi Lee. "If you want success, it will create success. If you want happiness or health, it will create them. Anything is possible, as long as negative thoughts and emotions don't interfere." To make this challenging, yet hopeful philosophy accessible to all, Lee combined the Eastern concept of chi energy with his own brain-management system, developing a distinctive program that unlocks inner peace and sweeps up brain clutter caused by the daily stress of always having to find Waldo. Warm-up yoga maneuvers awaken muscles before 30–40 minutes of breathing, stretching, core practice, and meditation—including a signature brain-wave vibration technique that aims to calibrate mental and physical energies. Cooldown exercises ease the body back into quotidian functionality before a 10-minute teatime invites socialization among participants while bolstering pinkie endurance.
Calendar space is a hot commodity at The Open Mind Center. That's because each month founder Charmaine Taylor and her staff fill it with an array of holistic classes, such as several types of ashtanga and hatha yoga classes, an Intro to crystals and minerals class, meditation classes, and a certification course for aspiring shamanic practitioners. Adding to the selection, Taylor and her team schedule wellness therapies such as Chakra Balancing and community-oriented special events such as potlucks and poetry open mics.
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.