Sound and Movement

While traditional yoga is all about the breath, Vocal Yoga is a new practice that incorporates sound with movement. As people flow through positions, a primal sound is added to the exhale. “As people mature, we tend to make less noise. Vocal Yoga is an hour of letting our vocalizations be more childlike, which releases tension that your body wants and needs to release,” says Laura Bresee, a speech pathologist at Memphis Speech Solutions.

The body’s muscles naturally tense and brace due to physical, emotional, and societal pressure. Vocal yoga is designed to help students unblock the breath and voice from parts of the body where it has been braced by the body’s natural stress response. Practicing deep abdominal breathing and rib cage expansion also helps increase respiratory volume, promotes rib cage flexibility, and reduces rib muscle calcification associated with the natural aging process.

“As a speech pathologist, I face people who have vocal fatigue or pain in their throat. Speaking from your abdominal muscles is a more effective way to deliver your voice,” says Bresee. “Elongating the exhale with sounds helps train the voice to remain strong and rooted in the body’s core during vocal performance. Vocal Yoga is great for singers, public speakers, and anyone who wants to relieve stress and tension in the body.”

Bresee offers Vocal Yoga for Breathing as an introduction as well as Vocal Yoga for Sounding at Sumits Yoga Memphis in the CarreFour Shopping Center at 6645 E Poplar Ave. The January workshops take place on January 11 and 18 from 7:30-8:30 am.     Future dates and times will vary. Visit for a monthly schedule.

Photo by Philip Murphy.

Rejuvenate in Memphis’s Largest Salt Cave

Dry Salt Therapy is a natural and holistic treatment for adults and children known to aid in detoxifying the respiratory system, healing skin conditions, promoting better breathing, sounder sleep, and overall wellness. Salt is naturally anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal, making it ideal to cleanse the body from the inside out.

“Salt has a wide variety of benefits for people with allergies, asthma, sinus infections, stress, anxiety, and more, but you don’t need to suffer from a condition to reap the benefits of salt therapy,” says Karen Moss, owner of Better Bodies Yoga. Salt caves have been opening around the country, and Better Bodies Yoga recently opened the first large salt cave in the area. It took a year to complete and opened in September 2017 adjacent to Better Bodies Yoga on Brookhaven Circle.

There are several options for Salt Therapy at Better Bodies. For those who practice yoga, there are 60- and 75-minute salt yoga classes each day throughout the week in a special yoga room with “halo” or salt therapy. “If you’re coming to achieve balance in a yoga class, the salt is an added benefit,” says Karen.

There is also a Himalayan salt relaxation room with loose salt on the floor and walls comprised of salt panels. In a 30-45-minute session, the salty air provides natural healing benefits in a soothing atmosphere. “Sitting in a salt cave for 1 hour is comparable to being at the beach for 3 days,” says Karen.

There is a Family Hour daily from 3:45-4:30 pm when children are invited to use the relaxation room with their parents. “Children love playing with sand toys in the salt cave and building sand castles in the salt,” says Karen. A Salt Bed is also available. For 30-45 minutes, participants recline in a heated bed of salt.

For experience Memphis’s largest salt cave, visit or call 901.618.2878.

Kick Butt in 2018

Kickboxing is a unique workout that allows people to go at their own pace—perfect for people at any fitness level. Rather than competing against others in the class, each individual competes against him or herself.

Brenda Riels, owner of iLoveKickboxing Southaven, admits she had a hard time sticking to a workout routine before discovering kickboxing. “I tried various workouts but kept hitting plateaus in my fitness and weight loss goals,” says Brenda, who was once more than 220 pounds. “I saw results quickly with kickboxing and realized that it toned my body better than other workouts and allowed me to burn more calories in a shorter amount of time.”

An iLoveKickboxing class lasts an hour, and participants can burn 500-1,000 calories. Class begins with a high-intensity warmup to get the muscles moving. Participants then work on stretching and flexibility before the bag workout begins. There are three-minute high-intensity interval training periods followed by one-minute rest periods of punching the bags for resistance. “Aside from the health benefits, who doesn’t love relieving stress by punching some bags?” says Julia Severino, owner of the Bartlett location.

UFK is another kickboxing option in Memphis. Professional and world champion kickboxers teach an array of classes, including a Body focus class. These workouts are designed to help burn fat and target multiple muscle groups. Medicine balls, kettle-bells, dumbbells, stability balls, and resistance bands are used to improve muscular strength and to help tone those hard to reach areas. By adding simple plyometrics and calisthenics to every workout, participants burn fat while toning.

UFK owner Eric Ingram says, “Kickboxing is great because its fun workout, and you are learning skill, so it’s not monotonous like a treadmill. Seeing people coming together and making friendships is just as cool as the weight loss.”

For more information or to try a class, go to or

Sweat It Out

Pure Barre owner Lindsey Laurenzi is bringing Memphis into 2018 with a luxury infrared sauna studio, The Sweat House.

Different from typical steam saunas, infrared light penetrates and heats 1 to 1.5 inches deep, allowing the core temperature to rise for a better detox sweat. A regular sauna helps rid the body of 2-3% of toxins, while infrared saunas eliminate 20-30%.

The Sweat House Memphis, located in the Poplar Collection Shopping Center, has six infrared sauna pods. It is recommended to wear as little clothing as possible in the individual pods so that toxins are not trapped inside. The sauna heats up for the first half of a 30-minute session, which allows for a good sweat and calorie burn in the second half. The head stays above the pod to breathe in room temperature air.

“I’ve found that I’m less sore after Pure Barre, and my husband noticed it really helped with stress, relief, and recovery from his long runs,” says Lindsey. In addition to eliminating toxins, infrared saunas help with pain relief and can improve circulation and aid in stress reduction. They are also a great recovery tool for athletes as they increase blood flow, eliminate lactic acid, and help rejuvenate the body. Other benefits include relief from chronic pain, weight loss, anti-aging, lower blood pressure, and cellulite reduction. Lindsey suggests using the saunas twice per week to see the full benefits.

The Sweat House is open every day. Appointments can be made online at or by calling 901.249.3036.

New Empower Class at Pure Barre

Pure Barre now offers a cardio-type class for those who want to up their heart rate at the barre. Empower is a multidirectional class using ankle weights and a platform to target different muscle groups. While building strength, the class is at a faster pace and incorporates cardio circuits. Empower is a 45-minute class offered at all three Pure Barre Memphis locations. Visit for a class schedule.

By Christin Yates