In the midst of what can be the hustle and bustle of Court Street in downtown Athens is a tranquil area designed to relax the mind and body.
Inhale Yoga Studio made its debut in Marietta in 2004, but appeared at 8 N. Court St. on March 3, with proprietor Michelle Stobart working to spread the practice of yoga.
“It’s a way of life. It’s a complete lifestyle,” said Stobart, who credits
yoga for balancing her own life. “Some people come to yoga because
it’s trendy, some people come because you can get relaxation. Here at the studio, what we try to do is give a holistic approach from the foundation. We go from everything with the breath practice to the physical practices to the meditation practices. We try to incorporate that into every class that we do.”
The studio can hold 20-22 students and provides all the props one may need, including blankets, pillows, body weights, straps and mats.
A space that used to be a cell-phone business has been transformed from what Stobart called “dark and grey” to a redesigned and renovated haven with an outdoor feel.
Stobart said the space is designed to make visitors feel as though they’re outdoors.
“As you walk down the stairs, you’re walking deeper into this forest of exploration,” said Stobart.
From the cork floors to the green walls with painted plants, painted blue skies with floating clouds and the live greenhouse and ground garden, the feeling of being inside a structure quickly dissipates.
“Generally, people notice increased flexibility and a greater ability to breathe deeper. If they’re coming regularly, they start to notice that they can’t quite place it yet but they can’t not come. They suddenly become addicted and it becomes a life-balancing force,” said Stobart of the benefits of yoga.
“The more they practice, the more often that they’re trying to live their practice outside the studio, the more balance they’ll have,” she said, “and then from there, the benefits just begin to unfold because they get to look deeper at those things inside of them.”
Stobart is not alone in her teachings, as seven instructors are expected to be on staff in the fall. Stobart also invites guest teachers, including her own mentor, Clayton Horton, who stopped by to teach a class on Saturday.
Horton is the director of Greenpath Yoga in San Francisco and certified Stobart to teach the craft. Stobart has taken Horton’s teachings and implemented those and a variety of others to reach as many people as possible.
“There’s a little something for everyone,” Stobart said.
The studio also plans to implement a yoga therapy class in the fall targeting injury recovery.
Stobart is always taking in new people interested in the practice of yoga, and she offered advice to beginners.
“If they honestly give two weeks of solid commitment, they will have it figured out whether or not this is a practice for them,” she said. “We have two weeks of unlimited classes for $25 for people who are new to the studio, so they have two full weeks to study with all of the teachers, or as many of them as they can get to on the schedule, to see what styles really work, to see what teachers really connect with them, to see what they really can connect to and take out into their lives.”
Inhale Yoga Studio offers more than a dozen classes with each focusing on a different aspect of yoga. More information on the classes and rates can be found at inhaleyoga.org.