Getting What You Pay For
Upon first investigation, Exhale MindBody Spa immediately turned me off with its prices. $24 for a yoga class? Not in this lifetime. With Atlanta averages around $15 a class, paying even $20 makes me cringe.
I was, however, curious about what made a class worth $24. Was it the quality of the studios? Are the teachers just that much better? Do students see results faster? Do they show you how to meditate perfectly the first time?
All of my questions were answered when I was invited to Exhale’s “Tweet and Tone,” an event that gave me and some other lucky bloggers the opportunity to view the facilities, talk to the teachers, and take one of their Core Fusion classes.
Exhale opened its doors in July 2010 to much anticipation. The Exhale chain is known for selecting prime location in trendy areas and Atlanta was a willing and eager recipient of the chain’s 17th venue. Housed at the Loewe’s Hotel, the 20,000 square foot wellness center is the largest in the chain and contains nearly twenty rooms for massage, detoxification, acupuncture, and any other conceivable spa service. It also has a 7,000 square foot full gym, stocked with all top-of-the-line equipment.
It would be easy to say that Exhale is a spa or a gym, but they’d like for you to call it a wellness center–a place where you go to nourish your mind and body with healing programs, feel-good services, and fitness facilities.
The hostess who led us on the tour of the building showed us through the spa area, the gym, the nail service area, the women’s bathroom, and the studio rooms. The halls that led to the spa were serene and calmly-lit, secretly winding back into a truly urban oasis. There’s no possible way that you could ever hear the city traffic outside of these walls. While most of the rooms were occupied and not viewable, just by judging from the sitting area–that I felt looked too serene and calm for me to ruin with the flash of a picture–I could tell that not a single detail of quality was left out.
The gym had every piece of equipment you could need for a workout and enough of everything so that you would never have to wait, including treadmills, ellipiticals, stationary bikes, free weights, weight machines etc. It also had a separate room for spin classes right off of the main gym. The equipment is more advanced than I have ever seen in my gym days, for example, how would you like for your treadmill to remember the last series of songs on your iPod you used for your daily run?
The nail salon was in a league far its own. I’ll just say that it’s not your mom’s strip mall nail place. No crazy massage chairs, but real people who massage you. No questionable goop going on your hands–but real lotions with enticing and natural scents.
And the bathroom–what is there to say? It is alone more beautiful and spacious than any spa I’ve ever seen, worth more than all of my worldly possessions and primed for me to move in.
Feel The Burn
Following our tour, we were treated to one of Exhale’s signature CoreFusion classes.
Now, I’m a pretty fit gal. I’ve been doing yoga seriously, nearly four times a week for two years. I was a ballet dancer prior to starting ygoa. And this class was a challenge. A big challenge. An “I-kept-stopping-in-the-middle-of-exercises because-I-felt-fire-burning-my-booty” challenge.
CoreFusion combines yoga, Pilates, ballet and the Lott Berke method and focuses on small movements that tone and tighten in ways you’re probably not used to. It uses free weights, blocks, straps, a ballet barre and a lot of your own gusto to build muscle, burn fat and tone up. My particular class, taught by the very fit, very encouraging, (very patient with bloggers who hadn’t taken the class before!) Brianna was a non-stop foray into a workout that I, no doubt about it, that if I had paid for it, I would have gotten my money’s worth for.
My muscles had never shaken so furiously, my butt had never been so engaged, my body had never been challenged so intricately as when it had during my CoreFusion class.
Although this wasn’t a yoga class, these are the studios that they take place in, the teacher who instructs them, and an inkling of the results to be achieved in them. I can safely say that I learned a lot about my body (that it could always use a little more toning) and my mind (that it’s not as strong as I thought it was in it’s ability to keep me going). I would, without a doubt, come back and see what the yoga classes have to offer. CoreFusion isn’t exactly my “forever” workout, but if Exhale can deliver a yoga class as challenging and exciting, with a teacher as encouraging as mine, in a space fit for a queen I would actually pay the $24 for it. Believe it.
Have you had any experience with Exhale Spa? What were your thoughts?