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For atl kula founders Corey and Kiara Johnson, prioritizing wellness means getting outside and soaking up the transformative power of nature. They started their Atlanta-based wellness studio to help bridge the gap between the natural and modern world through promoting a natural lifestyle through movement, consuming healthy products, and keeping the spirit of community at the forefront.
Inspired by their own wellness experiences, their studio offers classes that have personally impacted their own lives and require minimal equipment—yoga, Pilates, barre, and Tai Chi. Their MO is to make sure that each person that steps foot through atl kula’s door leaves feeling better than ever before.
We recently chatted with Corey and Kiara to learn more about the mission behind atl kula and what wellness means to them.
Corey: Being born and raised in Atlanta, I've always loved being outside and noticed how I naturally recovered from many of the ailments I came down with as a kid by spending time in the sun, moving around, and playing until I tired myself out. While attending Georgia Tech and even when I started working after school, I’d make it a habit to get outside and reset and learned that taking care of myself had to be a priority in this life that often pulls us in a million directions.
Kiara: He took me to Sweetwater Creek Park one of the first times we ever hung out. I remember loving how peaceful and rejuvenating it was but also how distant it felt compared to how often we were outside as kids. Our outside adventures became little “getaways” for us. He showed me all around Atlanta’s parks and hidden gems and somewhere in-between the dreaming began. It started with understanding how wellness very much includes nature and the all-natural from the sun that shines on our skin to the food we eat, and it continued with planning how we could build something special using nature as inspiration to touch lives near and far for years to come. We are about living naturally and that started as a very personal walk for us.
We are big dreamers, and we knew we wanted to help define what it means to live naturally in a modern world—which inspired us to build atl kula and what motivates us every day. We turned what was once an empty storage space into a nature-inspired studio with a biophilic design, meant to make you feel well just from walking inside. You’ll also be greeted by our koi fish in our indoor pond on your way to class, relaxed by our warm colors and soft aesthetics, and yet energized with pops of plant life throughout the space. We were inspired to offer the practices of yoga, Pilates, barre, and Tai Chi—amazing practices that have transformed our own lives. These practices are ones that you don’t necessarily need a lot of equipment for, but that you could do more with…. naturally! And lastly, our lifestyle products, such as our soap and body butter, inspire us to work towards providing an all-natural self-care regimen for our community—products that are better for the environment, better for our bodies, and beautifully scented for our enjoyment.
While wellness includes good habits such as eating more naturally, exercising, being involved with your local community, and making progress towards your fullest potential—it is also deeper than that for us and atl kula. We don’t believe people necessarily choose to make poor decisions that negatively impact their lives, but instead, we often find that it’s the very infrastructure and systems around them that are designed for them to be unwell (take food deserts for example). That’s why it’s so important for spaces like ours to exist and to be everywhere—ultimately helping to change those very systems where wellness can truly start.
If you're in the Atlanta area, you should definitely check out atl kula’s in-person classes to help you advance your wellness routine. Not in Atlanta? Don’t sweat—you can book virtual classes at their studio or check out their online streaming options, too. Still looking for more atl kula? They also have their SoN2U Wellness Retreat coming up November 12-14—which focuses on meditation, movement, and mental health. You’ll experience a weekend of transformation, sowing into yourself—while growing with a community of individuals seeking to do the same.
February is Black History Month—a celebration of the achievements and contributions of African Americans in society. As the beauty and wellness industry becomes a more welcoming and inclusive space for all, we are taking this opportunity to continue to shine a light on the gap of inclusivity and diversity in our industry, and take action to promote, empower, and honor the Black community that shapes and grows wellness.
While the beauty industry is making improvements—it's important to showcase and support Black businesses and the creatives in this space every day. To honor them, we're shouting out some of our favorite Black-owned beauty and wellness businesses to support.
Beauty Bin is a full-service day spa and dry bar located in Asheville, NC. With a focus on inclusivity for people of all backgrounds, genders, and races, their MO is to match the outer beauty of every client to their inner beauty. From eyelash extensions and hydrafacials to waxing and massage, Beauty Bin is a one-stop-shop for all the spa services.
The KIKA Method® is a gentle assisted stretching process that loosens up tight muscles freeing your body from pain and stress. By practicing this method, clients can experience decreased muscle tension, increased energy, enhanced flexibility, a substantial reduction in stress, improved posture and relaxation, and increased mental clarity. While its headquarters is located in Las Vegas, NV, they have multiple locations sprinkled throughout the US, including Atlanta, New York City, and Dallas—just to name a few.
At Kimberly Coleman Salon, their philosophy begins with promoting healthy tresses, elegant sets, unique accouterments, perfect pampering of hands and feet, and precision cuts. Known for working with models and celebrities, they fully appreciate and celebrate the diversity of their clientele which also includes super moms and warrior dads.
Pressed Roots was developed with the simple concept in mind—that everyone deserves access to easy, and quality hair care. What started as a single pop-up shop in Boston, grew to a multi-city pop-up tour, and is now slated to be the largest national hair salon franchise specializing in the care and styling of highly textured hair, they launched their first flagship location in Dallas, TX.
Jersey City resident, Alyza Brevard-Rodriguez started SW3AT. The company began as a fitness apparel line in 2015 but evolved into a sanctuary catered to health and wellness now known as SW3AT Sauna Studio—the first infrared sauna studio in Jersey City. The healing power of infrared heat therapy is a phenomenal option for holistic health proven to strengthen the immune system and provide relief from joint stiffness and muscle pain. It is also supportive of any fitness program as it aids in weight loss (you can torch up to 900 calories in a 45-minute session) while also detoxifying your body from some of the most harmful toxins.
Kelli Coleman and Anika Jackson opened The TEN Nail Bar in Detroit to address a void in their city. They saw a need for a quality, modern nail bar that could also serve as a fun social space for Detroit’s residents and professionals. They designed the TEN to provide their clients with a #Perfect10 experience—where you can relax, enjoy music, a drink, your friends, a clean and precise manicure, and a much-needed break from all your hectic days.
Located in the beautiful downtown Hyde Park Chicago area, Bettye O Day Spa specializes in first-class treatments. They aim to nurture and relax each of their clients with individualized and innovative therapeutic techniques. From body wraps and massages to facials and hydrotherapy, this day spa promises to be a safe place for healing to occur.
Looking for more businesses to support? ClassPass has also created a list of Black-owned business to check out all year-round. While both of these lists are a great start to get you familiar with many of the Black-owned businesses either in your neighborhood or around the globe, we have only scratched the surface. We'd love to keep these lists growing.If you have any businesses you'd like to see on this list, click here to submit a Black-owned business we should be highlighting as well!