Yoga can build muscle strength, provide meditative benefits and offer an alternative source of exercise. But create community? Promote a positive space where instructors interact with students outside the studio walls? That’s something Katie Ormes had never come across, before she became a member of the Dancing Dogs Yoga family.
Katie, a 27-year-old marketing specialist originally from St. Petersburg, Florida, is deeply entrenched in the Atlanta cultural scene — attending Atlanta United’s exciting season games, biking on the Beltline and enjoying all of the cool restaurants opening throughout the city. But through it all, through exercise trends and life events, she has turned to yoga as a constant. “Yoga not only builds you up, but it also helps tackle your weaknesses. Vinyasa power yoga will build up your confidence, give you a kick-butt workout and change your lifestyle to living your life to the fullest, every day,” she says.
And the uplifting physical, emotional and spiritual changes Katie felt were never more palpable than after she discovered Dancing Dogs Yoga. She credits the Westside yoga studio for creating an environment where “anything is possible.” The classes not only challenge physical strength, but also what it means to be strong in heart and mind.
Not only is Dancing Dogs Yoga’s new space both clean and organized, it also emits a warm, friendly vibe — a key component to building a large, connected community. One of the major reasons Katie has stuck with Dancing Dogs is the opportunities she gets to connect with this yoga community — the team offers many events outside the studio walls. She got involved with Dancing Dogs events at Piedmont Park, Colony Square, East Atlanta Village and even wearing stretchy pants for brunching with her yoga pals, instead of working out.
Katie’s journey to self-discovery and personal growth and power has only strengthened since she first laid out her mat at Dancing Dogs. This yoga enthusiast, with overwhelming support and encouragement from her Dancing Dogs Yoga instructors, decided to become a teacher herself. She joined the teacher training program in her pursuit of a long-held goal she constantly put on the backburner.
“Dancing Dogs Yoga’s motto is ‘You’re ready now’ and ‘Be up to something bigger.’ That’s how I feel about obtaining my teacher training certificate with them,” says Katie. “We are going to be provided with tons of material, special on-site guest teachers and instructors teaching us how to lead a yoga class. During this amazing journey, I hope to grow with the already awesome DDY community.”
This new kind of yoga community — connecting service, outreach and practice — is exactly what first attracted Katie to Dancing Dogs. Who knew the whole idea of paying it forward (“it” being “empowerment” and “leadership”) could be found rolled up inside a yoga mat?!
“Yoga has given me confidence and self-awareness on and off the mat,” says Katie. “It has helped me network and meet some of my closest friends. Also, it has shown me that anything is possible with enough practice and dedication.”
Katie loves the obvious things about her vinyasa yoga classes, like Dancing Dog’s cold lavender towels (a treat after those hot, sweaty sessions) and being pushed to her physical limit. But it’s the small details that have created life-changing impacts.
“Yoga, in a weird way, defines who I am. I was going through a rough time in my life [when I stepped into my first yoga class years ago] and instantly connected to the underlying message and grace of each class. Every teacher at Dancing Dogs Yoga is phenomenal and strives to help their students grow and succeed in and outside of class.”
As her mind and body become stronger during her teacher training courses, Katie hopes one day to share this mind-body connection with her own group of yogis — emphasizing togetherness, both internally and as a community.
Dancing Dogs Yoga is located at 659 Auburn Ave. NE, #145, Atlanta, GA 30307. For hours, class schedules and more, visit dancingdogsyogaatlanta.com.
This article is sponsored by Dancing Dogs Yoga. Photography by Catrina Maxwell of CatMax Photography.