When she decided that regular workouts were not working for her, Tracey Gardner of New Albany created her own exercise method. Inspired by her students, Gardner teaches her form of power yoga at the New Albany Ballet Company and corporately at Abercrombie (for the company's employees). We recently talked with the 36-year-old mother of two about her yoga style - and what she says it can do for Central Ohioans.
Working out wasn't your favorite thing when you were younger. What made you decide to get in shape?
I wanted to quit smoking. I was a partier, and I wanted a healthier lifestyle.
You made a big lifestyle change. How did that affect you?
I started getting endorphins from working out, and I started seeing my body change a little bit. I am a competitive person, and it was fun to see what I could do next.
What got you interested in yoga?
I took one class in 1997, and I liked it. It was slower, and I liked the teaching method. This was my first group exercise class that clicked with me. I started exploring different options.
For those who do not know what it is, how would you describe the yoga you teach?
Over the last 10 years, I have done every type of yoga you could think of. I have been studying and researching what the different muscles do. I have put all of this together and compiled everything to create Tracey Gardner Yoga, which is very core involved. My classes are not stretching; they are based on strength, endurance and stamina.
What makes it different than other workout methods?
It is all about the music. I play everything from Nine Inch Nails to Radiohead. I want music to pump you up and keep you going. Also, the heat is really important. People hate it at first.We turn the heat on to about 90 degrees. It allows you to deepen and lengthen the muscles. The heat lets you go into places in your body that are normally tight.
What is a typical class like?
We warm up every single muscle. I gradually build and do a lot of holding. I focus on balance, strength. The endurance building is one of the most important things. I do not have relaxation-that sets me apart.
Who is the best candidate for one of your classes?
Everybody. I could have a few-hundred-pound-woman and an Iron Man athlete in the same exact class. Everything is done at your own pace. The client base is insane. It becomes addicting for them.
What kind of results do people see after taking classes with you?
I always tell people never to weigh themselves. But people have lost five waist sizes, and are shrinking inch-wise drastically.
Your studio space is in New Albany. How far do people travel to take your classes?
From Dublin, Powell, Pickerington, Upper Arlington, Downtown Columbus and more. I have people coming from everywhere!
What's the best way for people to get more information or sign up for classes?
I am very interactive. I have a blog (www.poweryogatracey.com) and a website ((www.traceygardneryoga.com). You can follow me on twitter: www.twitter.com/tgardneryoga and via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Classes fill up quick, so e-mail me first!