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.
"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.
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.
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.
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.
The instructors at All Life is Yoga teach Purna Yoga, a discipline that encompasses not just movement, but an entire lifestyle. This holistic approach combines classes with meditation, philosophy, and even diet?there are cleanse programs that coincide with the teachings in the studio. The discipline aims to address every aspect of well-being in its efforts to help adherents live more joyful lives.
Instructor Rutu Chaudhari, began her yoga studies in 1999 and has a 2000 hour certification with additional training in therapeutics and meditation. She administers yoga therapy to clients with injuries or ailments, ranging from hip replacements to fibromyalgia. Rutu?director of the College of Purna Yoga in Atlanta?has taught at the Southeast Yoga Conference for the past three years. She has also assisted yoga master Aadil Palkhivala with workshops and teacher training.