Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Willard Studio owner Lisa Willard plans to add Saturday classes beginning at 10 a.m. this summer so that more working men and women can join.
“It’s never too late to start taking yoga,” said Willard, adding that she has students ranging from teens to those in their 60s. “Sometimes I lose the class in poses and we all just laugh it off. Laughter is the best medicine.”
Ooltewah resident Toni Frost, 39, said she tried another class, but realized the people make the class and came back to Willard.
“We come and have a fabulous workout, but we’ve made fabulous friends,” said 53-year-old Rita Cartwright, who stops by Willard Studio to work out on her way from Charleston, Tenn., to work in Chattanooga. “It’s nice to find a group that’s a lot of fun. We have fun in the mornings.”
Studio manager Susan Johnson said clients hang out after class to sip on cucumber-lime water and eat complimentary apples, crackers, carrots, celery and hummus.
Despite the fun-loving atmosphere in class, Willard said yoga’s stretching poses offer a seriously beneficial workout. She said yoga can help arthritis and fibromyalgia because it’s like WD40 for one’s joints.
“I have arthritis that can’t be fixed, but the yoga class helps my back,” said Johnson. “The first month I thought ‘I can’t do this,’ but now it’s great.”
Cartwright said yoga has strengthened her core more than walking or lifting weights in the past.
“I lost an inch at Willard in five weeks,” said East Brainerd’s Connie King, 65. “My husband noticed and said, ‘You are toner.’”
Willard said she teaches on an individualized level in a class setting.
“I’ve always felt my calling was to help people, and God put this studio in my lap,” said Willard, who has been teaching yoga for 16 years. “I had a guy that could not stand all the way up and he loved to play golf,” she added, referring to Ooltewah’s Al Hargis, who owns American Air. “Within a short time he was back on the golf course because of core work through yoga.”
Willard said she would like to emphasize that the class is Christian based and no chanting takes place.
A massage therapist shares her studio space and Johnson said some yoga students sign up for a massage in the studio after working out.
“We are getting a parking lot in the back,” said Willard. “We will pave the whole backyard and create a better entryway.”