Certified yoga instructor Katy Branstetter's fitness career took off when she joined her high school's cheerleading squad. She continued encouraging athletes to b-e-a-g-g-r-e-s-s-i-v-e when she went to college, where she began developing an interest in yoga and Pilates. After discovering barre-based exercises and their ability to chisel toned glutes and abs, she decided to share her knowledge to help others whip into shape, while providing jobs for out-of-work ballet barres. At Neighborhood Barre, she and her team of dedicated instructors create a welcoming, judgment-free atmosphere as they lead students of all abilities through fast-paced, intense workouts that combine dance conditioning, Pilates, and isometrics. They help both men and women carve their bodies into dancer-like sculpted physiques through low-impact isometric movements and stretches, emphasizing proper alignment to protect lower backs and spines.
For more than 40 years-since her first diapered yoga pose at the age of 6 months, in fact—long-time Knoxville life coach Shanti has embraced the essence of yoga. She began her career as a yogini by training at Instituto de Yoga Bolonia, her parents' yoga institute in Nicaragua. Between then and now, she has sought the knowledge and teachings of masters from around the globe, expanding her repertoire to include everything from healing breathing techniques and qigong to biomagnetic therapy, reiki, and metapsychology counseling. Today, her resume reads like a who's who of holistic wellness solutions, which she uses to help better the lives of those around her.
She brings the diversity of her skill set to each class at Yoga with Shanti, whether she's teaching beginners or working on an advanced sequence with students. Known for her gentle approach to both group and private sessions, she provides spiritually calming yet invigorating results for students of all ages. These sessions take place within a spacious studio, whose butter-yellow walls and hardwood floors are flooded by the loving natural light that flows through the windows. Meditative music also lilts throughout, transcending each moment and blending nicely into end-of-session sound healing.
Held at Mind Body Kinetics, a fitness studio that emphasizes holistic health, 45-minute boot-camp classes help students to build strong, flexible muscles. Each session, led by a seasoned instructor, revolves around TRX suspension straps, which use the body as a weight rather than hurling it through a basketball hoop. Ideal for new students and those looking to intensify their workouts, TRX exercises easily tailor to many different fitness levels. The class also incorporates kettlebells, which tone muscles in the arms and shoulders, and BOSU platforms to cultivate balance and core strength more effectively than doing crunches on a Jello jiggler. Camp takes place six times a week, within the sunny yellow walls of the studio, obviating workouts composed of shoveling slush and boxing defenseless snowmen.