By Holly Burnett
For those who have never tried yoga, there is certainly a preconception, or a stereotype if you will, that those who do yoga are thin, limber and look good in form-fitting yoga pants. But after talking with Refresh Yoga Center’s co-founders Alison Koeppel and Ethan McAfee, my entire perception changed. Quite frankly, I may even sign up for a class!
Opened in October 2013, the center is located at 110 King Street, ironically above The Creamery ice cream shop, and the classroom space is stunning and airy, and there is a convenient changing room and a lounge area with a sofa where, according to Koeppel, also an instructor, “Students have an opportunity to make personal connections” that would not be possible in the classroom setting.
Koeppel and McAfee first met and became involved in yoga when they were college housemates, and Koeppel talked McAfee into attending a class. He actually enjoyed it, so becoming professional partners in this venture was a no brainier. Koeppel also made it a point to visit the other local yoga studios to determine what features would be important to have at her studio. Hence, the lounge sofa as well as a relaxed classroom philosophy of encouragement, rather than a lecture from the instructor, which, as Koeppel points out, is the exact opposite of why individuals sign up for a class – to de-stress rather than to be stressed out for arriving 10 minutes late or skipping a session.
Refresh Yoga Center is the studio for people who want the mental and physical benefits of yoga with a schedule that will fit into their lives. As a result, the center offers four sessions a day – at 9:30 AM, 12:00 Noon, 6:00 PM and 7:30 PM and seven different class levels that appeal to a wide variety of students – from teens to seniors. Of particular note, the center offers a Budokon class – a fusion of yoga, mixed martial arts, meditation and animal locomotion, taught by Joe Senior, the only certified Budokon instructor in Northern Virginia.
So whether you want to take a class every day or just once a week, Refresh Yoga Center is Alexandria’s ideal yoga destination. You can even drop-in! Visit their website at refreshyogacenter.com for the complete list of classes and reasonable fees. Who knows, I may see you there, wearing the least form-fitting yoga pants I can find.