Sacred Garden Yoga founder Cindy Olah discovered a love for nature growing up in Peru. She’s fused that passion with yoga instruction by leading retreats in the mountains of North Georgia, North Carolina, and back home in Peru. Whether outdoors or within her pastel-green workout studio, Cindy and fellow instructors lead non-competitive sessions that foster lifelong friendships. Their group, private, and prenatal sessions emphasize proper body alignment and breath work. Students can also discover healing with reiki and reflexology treatments and workshops on subjects such as meditation and painless band-aid removal.
In addition to a full range of cardio machines and free weights, WellStar Health Place's expansive fitness center hosts a welcoming staff of degreed exercise specialists, health-care professionals, and licensed dietitians. As well as custom-tailoring personal-training sessions, the exercise specialists lead group classes for all ages, including yoga, cardio, and Zumba classes. A mere hop, skip, and Olympic-record lunge away from the indoor, heated swimming pool, licensed massage therapists indulge tired tendons with a combination of Swedish, deep-tissue, and trigger-point techniques. A nursery staff tends to children aged 6 weeks to 11 years while adults work out, and afterward, the friendly fruitsmiths at Planet Smoothie's in-house location dish out refreshing, high-protein beverages to replenish waning moisture levels.
Shannon Gosk has a license to dance. In her Zumba, Zumba Gold, and Zumbatomic sessions, she guides her fitness students towards better bodies in a fun atmosphere. Her high-energy cardio classes use dance moves to shape the body, shimmying guests through intermittent rhythms that act as interval training. Unlike fitness classes that urge movement by releasing packs of hungry ferrets, Shannon’s classes often blend gyrating, pelvic circling, and hip shaking maneuvers to create a total-body workout. To keep abreast of prevailing fitness knowledge, she attends various Zumba conventions, and even got the change to meet Beto Perez, the founder of Zumba.
Like the concept of yin and yang, Be Yoga is composed of two contrasting halves. The front room stays at 75 degrees, and the back room reaches a toasty 95 degrees, which helps bodies release toxins and sink deeply into stretches. In these two rooms, certified instructors lead yoga classes in styles ranging from yin yoga, which keeps poses relaxed and on the ground, to Baptiste power yoga, which blends breathing exercises with energetic, flowing movements.
The Be Yoga yogis also train aspiring teachers, who must prove their mettle in a 200-hour course and rescue a princess to receive certification by Yoga Alliance. Reaching out beyond the studio, Be Yoga aids Strong Woman—a volunteer-based program that supports women and children in need—with yoga classes, meals, and donations.
Step It Up Fitness’s immersive signature boot-camp program engages patrons in nutrition counseling and motivating group training that SmyrnaVinings.com lauded as the area's best boot camp in 2010. Four days a week, campers gather before dawn for 70 minutes of rotating agility drills, strength exercises, and calisthenics fueled by a trainer's ardent cheers.
After trainers test each participant's athletic mettle, they assign them to a team of similarly able bodies or similarly bodied androids. Group accountability and sweaty camaraderie knit these crews together to help their members build confidence as well as lithe, powerful physiques. An accompanying nutrition program extends camp support through mealtime, doling out personalized plans rooted in the food pyramid. Athletes log meals and resultant adventures in Slumberland in a journal to share with their instructors, who use the data to make recommendations for increasing energy and meeting fitness goals. In addition to its boot-camp classes, Step It Up Fitness hosts weeklong speed and agility classes for youths that are led by a staff of experienced certified instructors.
At Marietta Center for Yoga and Well Being, yoga classes represent a fraction of the therapeutic practices offered. Wanda DeVaughn augments private yoga sessions with special techniques, such as chakra focus, which includes meditation to rebalance internal energy, and koshas, which brings awareness to students' five levels of being. Alternatively, Tina Rae teaches the importance of eating well through holistic chef services and nutritional counseling.