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corey and kiara johnson atl kula
Published Tuesday Oct 05, 2021 by Bree Lewis

Community Close-up: Corey and Kiara Johnson of atl kula

Expert Advice
Mindbody Community

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.

Tell us about yourself. What led you to where you are now?

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...
What inspired you to open your business? What motivates you day-to-day?  

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.

What does wellness mean to you? Has it evolved over the past couple of years?

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.

bree lewis headshot
Written by
Bree Lewis
Marketing Content Associate
About the author
Born and raised in a small mountain town just south of Yosemite National Park, Bree is an avid lover of health, wellness, and connecting to the outside world around us. As a Cal Poly English major alumn, she has a knack for books, writing, and all things words. In her free time, she enjoys being outside, drinking craft beers, and keeping life jazzy!
what is wellness
Published Wednesday Oct 06, 2021 by Denise Prichard

What is Wellness?

Expert Advice

To say the last year and a half was tough would be an understatement. In fact, it will probably go down as one of the most difficult times for our modern generation. In one of the many social polls we conducted during the pandemic, some of you described this time as a sheer “dumpster fire” or “like stepping on a Lego.” And to be honest, I couldn’t agree more.

Luckily, we’ve been able to get back to some form of normalcy in our lives and wellness routines over the last several months. As vaccines became available to the public, wellness businesses welcomed fitness fanatics, haircut seekers, and massage lovers back to in-person wellness experiences. And thank goodness for that—my roots and horrible posture from working from my bed were both getting wildly out of control. This girl needed a good massage and cupping session stat.

If there’s one thing we learned from the pandemic, it’s that our wellness routines are as personal as they are important. During shelter-at-home, those routines looked a bit different. For many, it meant taking a new approach to the “typical” wellness services we count on—I’m looking at you DIY haircuts, at-home waxing sessions (ouch!), and virtual swerking classes.

Now that we can leave our humble abodes to take advantage of in-person experiences again, the word “wellness” has seemingly taken on a new meaning.

Recently, we conducted another one of our famous social polls to see what wellness means to you, our Mindbody community, now that we're slowly but surely getting back to our regularly scheduled programming. We also tapped some of our most influential Mindbody business owners about the ever-evolving wellness landscape.

Here’s what you all had to say.

Wellness is more important to you than ever

According to our annual Mindbody Wellness Index, 60% of Americans say they’re more focused on their health and wellness since COVID. Consumers are now realizing they need to take greater care of themselves to optimize and preserve their health. When we asked you on Instagram how important wellness is, a whopping 98% said it was more important than ever. When it comes to how you’re practicing wellness, though, the answers were all over the board. Many of you pointed to journaling, practicing breathwork, and daily workout routines (cycling and yoga topped the list) as being the activities that help you keep your chill throughout the week.

I’m also happy to report that over 50% said you tend to feel more blessed than stressed on a daily basis—which is more than likely a big improvement. Let’s be honest, a year ago I would’ve bet a billion dollars that 99.9% of us knew no other feeling than anxiety—am I right? But even with the stress in our lives dwindling, many of you are still experiencing burnout at the end of a long work week (guilty!). But instead of succumbing to a bottle of wine for relief (please, that was so 2020), you’re unwinding by going to your favorite workout classes—with hot yoga, barre, and Pilates as your faves.

What wellness means to the pros

Let’s be honest, we should credit the business owners in this space for helping us reignite our spark when it comes to our wellness routines, right? Thanks to them, we’ve been inspired to prioritize the activities that help us feel our best. In turn, we thought it’d be interesting to learn what wellness means to them—and how that definition has changed over the past eighteen months.

Here’s what they had to say.

“Wellness is living in balance—mind, body, spirit. Highs and lows. It all ebbs and flows and we can navigate it a bit better when we take time to move, breath and remember who we are, and how we are connected to this big, beautiful world.” - Jess Pierno, Founder, Owner, and Chief Inspiration Officer of Yoga Heights

“Wellness is a true balancing of the mental, physical, and spiritual. It has definitely evolved over the years for me—from something that I just thought was about exercising and eating a healthy diet—to also incorporating balancing and healing internally and spiritually.” - Stefanie Patterson, Owner, Indianapolis Salt Cave and Halotherapy Center

“My sense of wellness has evolved from staying healthy and motivated, mind/body/spirit... to being more gentle with myself, less demanding. Accepting my limitations, taking time for resting, and gaining real clarity about what's important. I care less about what people think of me—difficult as a performer and as a business owner with so many demands on me—and more about getting quiet and tapping into the divine source inside of me that helps me discern my next move. In this way, I know my motives are as pure as possible and I'm not getting distracted—not that I don't make mistakes! Those are necessary, that's how we learn!” - Johanna Krynytzky, Owner, Hip Expressions Belly Dance Studio

“My studio name reminds us that we are constantly evolving. The past 18 months have certainly shown us that! Wellness to me means doing your best on any given day to make sure that you are taking care of yourself as best you can. It leads to resilience. Diet, exercise, sleep, a sense of community, and some form of faith. It all matters. Setbacks happen all the time, and every day is a chance to start again. We strive to be 'cheerleaders' for our clients when we sense that things are coming out of balance in their lives. So many have been with us for 18 years and are friends—they are our community and we all watch out for each other.” - Mo Wolfe, Owner and Founder, Evolution Pilates

Putting wellness into action

I think we can all agree that there isn’t one true definition of wellness anymore. To some of us, it means getting that hot yoga sesh in daily, and to others, it means carving out time to treat ourselves to a massage or manicure. As long as you’re actively pursuing wellness—whatever that means to you—you're on the right track.

Our MO has always been about connecting the world to wellness—a term that's seen a lot of change lately. Whether you’re fully embracing the in-person experience or still delighted by the convenience of practicing at-home wellness, the Mindbody app makes it easy for you to book experiences that help you feel like YOU again.

denise prichard
Written by
Denise Prichard
Senior Marketing Content Specialist
About the author
Denise Prichard is a certified yoga instructor (RYT-200) and an experienced content marketing professional with a penchant for writing compelling copy within the health, wellness and beauty industries. When she isn't writing or editing, you can find her teaching yoga classes, at a spin class or hanging out with her rescue pups.