By Alexandra McCray

Spa Yoga with Elizabeth Rowan at the luxurious Mandarin Oriental hotel is the ultimate way to relax both your mind and body for the start of the weekend. The class is called Spa Yoga because afterwards you have access to the Mandarin Oriental’s fabulous spa facilities to continue your relaxation even more.

Alexandra McCray and Elizabeth Rowan

Alexandra McCray and Elizabeth Rowan

Since this class is essentially drop-in, the number of classmates practicing with you can vary greatly. My class included myself and just two other ladies. It was a pleasant change from the crowded yoga classes I had attended in the past. Mats are provided, but you are also free to bring your own. Our small class meant Elizabeth could spend more time answering our questions, give each of us specific attention for our varying levels of expertise, and make sure we were all getting into positions correctly. In this one-hour class you will not get lost with yoga jargon, feel insecure about your lack of yoga experience or perform moves incorrectly simply because you are trying to keep up with the class pace.

The moves, and flows, throughout this class help warm up your body, and give your muscles a good stretch. It’s amazing the amount of tension we keep locked away in our shoulders, hips, and faces without even realizing it! Throughout class Elizabeth would often come around and apply warm pressure to help us get a little deeper in our stretches and release that last bit of tension. After class I felt relaxed, refreshed and ready to head into my weekend.

You can catch Elizabeth Rowan regularly teaching classes at Form Yoga, or spend a week with her at one of her upcoming yoga retreats. This year she will be leading them in Santorini and Bali.

Details: 376 Peachtree Rd, Atlanta, GA 30326,


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By Miguel Velazquez

(Starting from top left, then clockwise)  Caroline Duncan, Sam Joseph, Cristina Villafañe, Kenneth Yeung, Will Jones

(Starting from top left, then clockwise)
Caroline Duncan, Sam Joseph, Cristina Villafañe, Kenneth Yeung, Will Jones

This was the first time my wife, Cristina Villafañe, and I have ever tried a Martial Arts class. Even though we had no idea what to expect, we had a blast learning Jiu-Jitsu for the first time! Once we were barefoot and suited up in our Gi (a Jiu-Jitsu Garment) Sam Joseph, Buckhead Jiu-Jitsu owner and head instructor, gave us a full contact training session.

During our class, Sam showed us three moves designed to help you defend yourself, and take control of an attack when an attacker is on top you. Since we were Jiu-Jitsu newbies, getting the moves right was a little difficult.

However, Sam was very attentive and patient to answer all of our questions. He really makes you feel like you are having a one-on-one class with him, even though you are in a class full of other students.

By the end of the 45-minute class, and with lots of practice, we were showing those moves who was boss. It was exciting to get in a workout while simultaneously learning how to keep ourselves safer. It is definitely an experience I recommend everyone try at least once.

Buckhead Jiu-Jitsu 2

(Left to Right) Sam Joseph, Cristina Villafañe, Miguel Velázquez

When you go, make sure to check-in to their Facebook page, every time you do it helps charities such as “Sweat Angels” and “Soles for Souls.”

Details: 2144 Hills Ave NW, Atlanta, GA 30318,



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By Alexandra McCray

After taking my first barre class, I have become hooked on this popular way to work out. The Barre Classic class at Pink Barre Buckhead only reinforced my new found attraction to the world of pulsing and tucking.

When I arrived, all I had to do was sign-in for the class I had registered for online. Our instructor, Allise Raad, gave me a quick tour of the studio, provided equipment, (stretch bands, light weights, mats, balls, etc.) and supplied me with a pair of grippy socks (which are required for inside the studio) since I forgot to bring my own.

Pink Barre

Alexandra McCray and Allise Raad

We began class with a few full body movements on our mats to get our heart rate up, and our blood flowing. Using light weights (ranging from 2-4 pounds) we then performed bicep, tricep and shoulder focused moves, while still keeping our lower body engaged. These moves burned — and I mean really burned! What makes so many bar moves burn so intensely is the repetition of tiny, tiny movements and periods of holding. These moves activate those smaller muscles that usually aren’t engaged when you are performing traditional workouts and your larger muscle groups naturally take over.

The rest of our workout was mainly performed on the bar, and focused on a variety of leg muscles. Allise did a great job checking everyone’s form and encouraging us to go just a little deeper. One of my favorite moves involved us bringing our heels together while keeping our toes apart, sinking down into a semi-seated position and then pulsing. This move got right into the glutes. #BuildABooty am I right?  I also loved that Allise encouraged us to stretch and shake out our muscles between really strenuous moves.

If you are venturing into the world of barre like I am, or are a seasoned veteran, this is a great class to add to your workout mix.

Details: 3655 Roswell Road, Suite 222 Atlanta, GA 30342,

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By Jennifer Prins

I have taken yoga classes before, but have never taken one specifically designed for “athletes.” The Yoga for Athletes class at Infinity Yoga Brookhaven was made up of fellow weekend warriors who love to run, cycle, compete in triathlons, play tennis and more.

Infinity Yoga

Jennifer Prins and Jesse Hughes

The stretches zoned in on the areas I abuse on a regular basis, such as my hip flexors, hamstrings and calves (which are always so very tight). We also made sure to hit the shoulder, neck and back areas. Infinity provided all the accessories we needed (blocks, foam rollers and stretch bands). They also offer yoga mats you can rent, or you are welcome to bring your own.

In addition to the yoga poses and stretches, we performed a few balance exercises and did some work with foam rollers. Before this class I had no idea there was a specific way to work with foam rollers to maximize their benefits. The roller portion of the class was a little painful – but in a good way – kind of like during a massage where the therapist hits that area that is in knots! Afterward I was so much more relaxed mentally and physically.

Our instructor, Jesse Hughes, acted as a great guide through the movements, and did a great job explaining why the balance and rollers would help us with our running, cycling, etc.

Before class I was a little stressed from the workday and tight from workouts, so it felt great to stretch the areas that needed it so badly.

As anyone who runs, lifts weights, cycles, etc. on a regular routine knows, we tend to work the same muscles every time and as we age we begin to notice the wear and tear on the body. I highly recommend this fantastic recovery class for us all.

Details: 1376 Dresden Drive Atlanta, GA 30319, 

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Create your best self in 2016 with the help of House of Payne Personal Training. Whether you are looking to enter your first bikini/ bodybuilding competition or just want to finally get in shape, House of Payne Personal Training provides you with the tools you need to succeed.

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One Bucket at a Time

Most financial advice books only outline steps and guidelines for reigning in spending and creating wealth, but Terrell Dinkins, a financial representative from Peachtree Planning Corporation, lays it all out in her new book “One Bucket at a Time.” Dinkins pulls back the curtain on her own financial journey to educate readers. She shares not only her first-hand struggles, but financial struggles she has seen others face as well. Aimed at women, “One Bucket at a Time” hopes to bridge the financial education gap between men and women with practical advice and tips.

Details: $15.99,

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By David Leonard

(Left to right) David Leonard, Danielle Thorsen, Lindsay Merrill, and Ashley Goot

(Left to right) David Leonard, Danielle Thorsen, Lindsay Merrill, and Ashley Goot

The latest Pure Barre studio is nestled in downtown Decatur, and offers plenty of parking. I arrived about 10-15 minutes before my scheduled class, which gave me ample time to fill out my paperwork and waivers before we dove into the workout. Pure Barre provides all the equipment you need (ball, hand weights, mats, etc). The staff also did an amazing job taking a newbie like me through the ropes.

Ballet bars line the walls, and they are where you will do the majority of your workout. They really are a great tool to help keep your balance, and allow you to work other parts of your body you might not normally engage during your regular workouts. Our instructor, Lindsay Merrill, constantly checked every students’ form throughout our 55-minute class.The high-energy music worked as great motivation to help you push pass the burn of the pulsating movements.

As the only man in the class, the ladies definitely outnumbered me, but by no means is this a girls club. Men are always welcome to experience the world of barre. They are having an open house this upcoming weekend, so now is the ideal time to give a class at Pure Barre Decatur a try. This brand new studio space is very clean and well taken care of. I wouldn’t mind getting my hands on some of the music they played so that I can find the energy to clean my house!  When I want some definition/tone with my body I’ll be sure to go back to them.  Until then I’m very appreciative of their small business and happy I went!

Details: 411 Church St, Decatur, GA 30030,

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North Fulton Hospital Trauma Center recently became Georgia’s only American College of Surgeons verified program. North Fulton Hospital now joins the ranks of the select group of 435 hospitals around the country that have passed the rigorous criteria to achieve this certification.

Dr. Mike Majmundar

Join Northside Plastic Surgery and the Chamber of Commerce on January 7 at 12 p.m. for a ribbon cutting ceremony and grand opening celebration of Dr. Mike Majmundar’s new Alpharetta location. Dr. Mike Majmundar hopes to provide his patients with a unique cosmetic experience at his new office.


Barre3 is celebrating the opening week of their new Druid Hills location by offering free classes from January 4 – 10. Barre3 Atlanta  Druid Hills will make achieving whole-health easy and accessible to all, especially those with busy lifestyles. A variety of classes at varying hours will be offered and the company’s signature childcare services will also be available during many classes throughout the weeks.


Dr. McNeely_Marietta Plastic Surgery

Dr. Michael J. McNeel at the Marietta Plastic Surgery Group is now offering the IDEAL IMPLANT. Newly approved by the FDA, IDEAL IMPLANTs are made of a revolutionary saline technology that mimics the feel of natural breasts without the use of silicone gel or other materials. This means that implant recipients do not have to worry about silent implant ruptures, which require an MRI to detect.

Cardlytics Wellness at PCM

Tech company Cardlytics, isn’t just the latest business to call Ponce City Market home, they are the one of latest companies to make wellness easy and accessible for their employees. Using its office space and convenient Beltline location Cardlytics is offering a variety of fitness classes that are easy to squeeze in before work or during a lunch break, maternal and postnatal exercise classes, a food co-op, wellness counselors, fitness incentives and community fairs to provide health information.

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By Ansley Bourn

Before my 6 a.m. kickboxing class at Windy Hill Athletic Club I was a total zombie, but I was quickly awakened by the hour of intense cardio movements.

Everything you need for the class is provided, including boxing gloves. I would suggest bringing your own towel to wipe up your sweat though! Of course, you’ll want to have some water on hand to keep you hydrated. If you do forget, a water fountain is located right outside the exercise room.

Kickboxing at Windy Hill Athletic Club

Instructor Craig Hragyil (in grey) and Ansley Bourn (far right) with classmates.

This was my first ever kickboxing class and I loved it! We started the class with a warm-up of jumping jacks, punches and push-ups. We then moved on to jabs, cross-punches and kicks. My absolute favorite part was the circuit training. The circuit involved us moving from bag to bag, doing different exercises and doing burpees when instructed by the change of music. Our instructor, Craig Hragyil, then hooked a wire across the room and had us ducking under the wire from our “opponents” swing, while throwing jabs and hooks.

Craig made sure each participant was performing moves correctly, and took time to correct us on our form. I really appreciated the extra time he spent with me!

During the exercise my heart rate was definitely up, but the class was super fun! I loved punching the bag as hard as I could, which kind of surprised me! Once class was over I was refreshingly exhausted.

To see a full list of classes offered by Windy Hill Athletic club head to their website.

Details: 135 Interstate N Pkwy, Atlanta, GA 30339,

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By Ansley Bourn and Jennifer Prins

Ansley Bourn, Lawanda Brokenborough, and Jennifer Prins.

(Left to right) Ansley Bourn, Lawanda Brokenborough, and Jennifer Prins.

A new workout has bounced its way into Atlanta, and we couldn’t wait to try it. What make Kangoo Club Atlanta’s classes unique are their signature Kangoo Jumps rebound shoes, which provide a low-impact cardio workout.

Once we arrived for our Kangoo Power Class we immediately began to get adjusted to the spherical shoes. Susie, a fellow classmate and Kangoo Jumps veteran, offered the tip to always wear long socks to help protect your shins from the shoes. The extra pair she lent Jennifer turned out to be a lifesaver.

Our class instructor, LaWanda Brokenborough, walked us through the correct way to stand in these new-fangled shoes. They take a second to get used to. It’s important to get your balance adjusted, since you will be using it throughout the entire class to work your core and lower body.  Before we started the choreography LaWanda made sure to show us how to run, bounce and use the shoes to our advantage.  The music, instructor, class participants and exercise all created the ideal atmosphere for a true high-energy workout. You will march, run, hop, squat, dance a little, and even use the weight of the shoes throughout the hour.

Be ready to move constantly with this class! This fun workout had us both working up a sweat. LaWanda did a great job with choreographing the dances and including beginner, intermediate and advanced moves. We’d never done anything like this before, and will definitely be going back again!

Kangoo Power Class - Jan 2 (2)

Kangoo Jumps shoe work on the mat.

Head to Kangoo Club Atlanta’s website to find a full schedule of classes at rotating locations, reserve shoes ahead of time, find information to help you figure out your correct shoe size, and learn how to purchase a pair of Kangoo Jumps for yourself to take on the road! We’ve heard people are now running the Peachtree Road Race in them!



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