Terre Gorham 0000-00-00 00:00:00
MIDTOWN YOGA The yoga, the whole yoga, and nothing but the yoga takes place inside this former cotton classing room on Cotton Row. Downtown’s first dedicated yoga studio offers nine classes for all skill levels, easily blending instruction for the novice, the experienced, and everyone in between — all in the same class. “Our teachers are so experienced and so committed to yoga as a profession that they can teach all levels in the same class,” says owner Sarla Nichols, whose original yoga studio lays its mats at the east end of Peabody on Cooper. “This way, clients have more options because they can come whenever we have class. But we do offer classes just for beginners for those who are more comfortable with that.” Comfort is key when you’re on a mat on the floor making your body align and your mind be quiet. “It helps people get in touch with their individual body needs,” says Grace Harwood, manager of the Downtown studio. “Also, just moving the energy, the breath — it’s about enjoying that little nap you’re giving your mind.” Opened in October 2009, the 1,200-square-foot space sold itself the first time Nichols walked through the glass-framed white door. “I had already told the developers, Josh Haralson and Bert Robinson, that I didn’t want to lease their space, that I didn’t want to open another studio,” she says. But curiosity — and a rental offer almost too good to be true — sent her “just to look” one September day. Three weeks and a handshake later — Om! — Midtown Yoga Downtown unrolled its mats. “It’s the perfect yoga space,” says Nichols, looking around at the wide-open space framed by hardwood floors, soaring walls, and raftered ceilings. “Yoga has such a spiritual aspect to it. One of the benefits is learning how to find your inner stillness. When you feel good inside like that, you feel one with yourself.” So what’s not to love? “Our challenge is fighting the voices inside most everyone’s head,” says Nichols. “The voices that say you don’t deserve to take — or have — time for yourself, that you’re a bad mother if you take one hour for your health. People don’t understand that if you take care of yourself, you’re actually more successful in life, personally and professionally. We’ve got to get them to understand that you’re not wasting time, you’re expanding time.” “And we modify our classes for everyone,” Harwood adds. “We have one student with nerve damage in her feet, so she does the class from a chair. But every individual has limitations of some sort. We all do. We talk with each student about their limitations so we can modify accordingly. It reminds me of a quote by Leonard Cohen: ‘There is a crack in everything; that’s how the light gets in.’ That’s part of the yoga journey. We’re all limited, so hey! Let’s have fun with that!” ENVISION MEMPHIS At Envision Memphis, the venue alone is enough to set hearts racing. Appropriately enough, during a recent visit, the elevator to the lofty health facility was temporarily out of commission for upgrades. Thirtysix stair steps later, the 5,000-square-foot activity area unfolded against a backdrop of urban industrial from the top floor of the historic 1928 Cadre building on Monroe. Kelly Wight, former Air Force captain, pilot, and senior manager for one of the top 10 fastest growing defense companies in Washington, D. C., decided she wanted to make a difference in life in a different way: holistic health. “The foundation of everything we do is based on my Envision E. D.G.E. program,” she says, referring to the Envision Development & Goals Experience program she developed while pursuing her master’s degree in psychology. “It’s focused on your approach to life — your outlook, perspective, nutrition, exercise, and other lifestyle habits. We fine-tune how they can maximize everything they do in a healthy, holistic way that encompasses all parts of a person’s life.” The gym side of Wight’s facility sprawls on forever, housing a surprisingly large assortment of exercise equipment — some familiar, others puzzling. The free weights area is a jungle gym of options that include two truck tires and boxing gloves for the bad day. The workout machine area includes flat-screen Tvs and a rowing machine that comes complete with a watery “swoosh” as rowers slice through imaginary waters. The Pilates area, with its floormats and cream-colored dividers, is a piece of peace. Welcome to Wight’s playground. And all along the 20-foot-tall walls: art. “Art inside the gym touches on the E.D.G.E. program, too,” says Wight. “By not having mirrors, you get a 20 to 30 percent better workout. Statistically, classical music relieves stress. Art, the same thing.” Included is a series of inspirational, industrial pieces with gentle, thought-provoking messages, such as “Life needs more green lights,” and “We tend to seek happiness when happiness is actually a choice.” “You hire a personal trainer for your physical needs, but if you ask a person what’s more important to them, their mind or their body, almost everyone says it’s their mind,” says Wight. “Well, who’s holding you accountable for your lifestyle habits?” Which leads us to the “mind side” of the facility and a 4,000-squarefoot living room tastefully appointed with comfortable serenity. Game nights, reading nooks, a kitchen, and massage rooms provide endless opportunities for Envision Memphis guests to socialize, exercise their minds, find calm in calamity, and — perhaps — update their individual “flight plans,” which chart their course to well-defined goals. “We develop programs for the whole person,” says Wight. “The rule is, you always have to leave here feeling better than you did when you came in.” She walks to the inoperable elevator. Even after its upgrades are complete, Wight is considering hanging a sign that reads: If you’re an Envision Memphis client, please take the stairs. Envision Memphis, 149 Monroe, 521-8117, envisionmemphis. Com
Published by Downtowner Magazine. View All Articles.
This page can be found at http://bluetoad.com/article/Taking+Shape/330627/32611/article.html.