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Highland Yoga Believes Good Things Happen To Those That Sweat

By Pamela Sosnowski

If it hadn't been for one stressed out attorney, Atlanta may not be enjoying the benefits of hot yoga. Former attorney Elsie Irwin tried yoga as a way to decompress after long workdays and loved it so much she decided to make it a new career. She and her husband John are the founders and owners of Highland Yoga, a yoga studio with three Atlanta neighborhood locations: Virginia Highlands, Buckhead, and Grant Park.

"She wasn't able to find a yoga home in Atlanta and dreamed of creating a sacred space where people could unplug from their day and have an hour to just breathe," explained Caron Christison, the studio's social media and marketing manager and one of its instructors. "In 2015, she and her husband decided to open our first studio and share her vision with the community, and the rest is history. Elsie's own transformative journey still serves as the inspiration for our unique style and continuously guides the vision for the studio."

At Highland Yoga, all studio rooms are heated to a consistent 93 degrees, which is not as hot as traditional Bikram yoga but still warm enough to release toxins from the body and help lubricate muscles. This sweet spot temperature is one of the perks students appreciate; others include complimentary towel service and mat rentals. The studio rooms at all three locations are illuminated with natural sunlight, bathed in earth tones, and most importantly, are led by welcoming, caring instructors.

"Each of our studios are designed to welcome students from the moment they step through our doors," stated Christison. "We like to think of our studios as urban retreats with organic, thoughtful touches. Though our classes are physically intense, we aim to create a safe space for exploration of the body and mind suitable for students at all skill levels."

All three locations focus on heated power Vinyasa yoga, which uses breath control and mindfulness in conjunction with a sequence of poses. The class is suitable for all levels and lasts for one hour. It's believed the classes can clear one's mind and develop a deep sense of peace and purpose along with the physical benefits of yoga such as lengthening muscles, developing strength, and improving flexibility.

In addition to its regular class schedule, Highland Yoga hosts yoga events where participants can learn new skills and techniques. Christison herself teaches arm-balancing poses such as the crow pose, flying pigeon, and more, while another instructor will be teaching inversion poses on another evening. The studio's staff is also excited about hosting a yoga retreat to Belize in March 2018. The five-day excursion features two daily yoga classes, gourmet food, water activities, cooking classes, and more.

Several affordable membership packages are available, including a new student special for only $30 for the first month. But according to Christison, the best reason to join the studio is the chance to connect with other like-minded individuals and form new friendships.

"Our tribe is an incredible group of yogis that inspire everything that we do," she said. "If someone is looking for a home away from home where they can release their day, sweat, challenge themselves, and connect on a deeper level, there's no place like Highland Yoga."

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