Fitness: Thank Yoga

Jackie Mantey, Columbus Alive

On the left side of Josie Schweitzer's upper chest is a tattoo that says, "Be present." The 28-year-old Salon Lofts hair stylist turned yoga instructor uses it as a reminder to slow down and enjoy whatever moment she's in, when she's in it.

Trust her, she said, she needs to be reminded.

"I'm the type of person who wakes up and instantly says, 'OK, what do I need to do today,'" she said of her natural go-go-go tendencies.

Schweitzer began taking yoga to supplement her running routine (she also has wings tattooed on each ankle).

"I loved how I felt afterward," she said. "Yoga is more than just a workout."

For Schweitzer it was an opportunity to, well, be present. Yoga intrigued her spiritually and physically - her running improved because she was strengthening important muscles through yoga, such as her back and core.

As her study progressed, she became a certified instructor and opened her own studio, Thank Yoga, in June.

Thank Yoga offers foundation and all-levels yoga classes daily. The foundation classes are for new students of yoga or students looking for a yoga routine that focuses on breathing, strengthening and proper technique. The all-levels class is for more advanced students; it flows through a sequence of more challenging poses.

Schweitzer's arm balance workshops are increasingly popular. The hour-and-a-half long classes work on building skills and strength to pull off those advanced poses. The next workshop is Oct. 6.

Schweitzer's routines, which change each class, are influenced by power, Vinyasa and Baron Baptiste yoga styles. The room is always heated to 90 degrees to loosen up students' muscles for a better stretch. Contemporary music, like hip-hop beats, help dictate the breathing rhythm during class.

It costs $15 to drop in for a class at Thank Yoga; a 10-class pass costs $125. Students with valid ID can drop in for $12 and buy a 10-class pass for $100.

Heads up: You won't see Thank Yoga while driving on Fifth Avenue. It is on the backside of the building at 29 E. Fifth Avenue. Turn onto Mt. Pleasant Avenue and into the free - yes! - parking lot on the right to get to the back of the building.

Bring a towel, bottle of water, mat and open mind to class.

"I'm there to say, yes you can do it, but it's not A to D," Schweitzer said. "You have to go through A, B, C to get to D. And that lesson goes into your life."

Thank Yoga

29 E. Fifth Ave., Ste. 100, Short North