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.
Atlanta Dance's seasoned instructors lead all fitness levels through country western, swing, Latin, and ballroom dance styles in a flexible schedule of group classes. Students embark on an expedition to the pinnacle of grace during a four-week series of 50-minute sessions where experienced guides steer twinkle-toes through winding skill sets, building upon the previous session's moves and secret handshakes. Feet flow within a supportive environment, fostering steadfast rapports among pupils as they conquer salsa's six sultry maneuvers or pay homage to all-American ballroom routines in the foxtrot's intricate choreography. Superfluous curves flee from Zumba's Latin-inspired beats, which chisel abs as hard as diamonds and legs able to roundhouse-kick through a parking meter with heart-pumping swivels and energizing undulations.
The Yoga Room's founder, Lynn Louise Wonders, draws upon 15 years of experience as an instructor of meditation, yoga, tai chi, and chi kung, as well as the skills of five instructors, to guide patrons to improved fitness and repose. A teeming class calendar caters to yogis of all stripes and most plaids. Neophytes can choose from a selection of introductory classes, which will convert woeful recumbent chimp posture into regal warrior poise, while intermediate classes incorporate various elements of Iyengar, Anusara, and Ashtanga disciplines. A selection of specialty classes caters to fragile relaxation seekers, expectant mothers, children, and pretzel impersonators. Vinyasa virtuosos can also delight in discovering the distinct calming motions of tai chi and chi kung at the skilled hands of The Yoga Room's seasoned relaxation wizards.