Twenty-eight-year-old Katie Veach is a group instructor, a personal trainer, and the fitness manager at the Kroc Center. Katie made Memphis her home six years ago after finishing college and took a position at the Church Health Center. Loving the city’s feel, she made no plans to leave. She began working at the Kroc Center in 2013 when it first opened and has watched the facility change and grow.

Katie enjoys all kinds of fitness activities and teaches them as well. From yoga to kickboxing to high-intensity workouts, rowing, and jump rope, she loves staying active and helping others stay fit. With over 100 different classes offered at the Kroc Center, there is something that will appeal to everyone.

One of Katie’s favorite classes is H2Yoga, which is yoga on paddleboards in the water. “It’s yoga, but it’s more than that,” Katie says, “It’s a core workout and a way to build balance.” While it looks like traditional yoga, it includes more intervals and core work. Adjustments from the instructor are also difficult because the instructor cannot come up to each student, so it’s a more verbal class. Things are also more challenging on a board. “A side plank on land is already tough, but on a board it’s even tougher,” Katie says.

“H2Yoga is initially intimidating,” Katie admits. “People think they’ll fall off, but I tell them falling isn’t bad. It’s okay and it’s normal. Everyone falls off at some point.” The boards used in Katie’s class are actually very stable and larger than a yoga mat, which is reassuring to students.

Yogis of all stages are encouraged to try the class, and Katie insists, “As long as you can swim, anyone can do it.” Katie has watched people improve their balance, build up strength, and grow more confident maintaining their poses and trying new things. “It’s a lot of fun. It’s different and people laugh and interact more than in a typical yoga class,” she says.

As a fitness manager, Katie has learned it’s important to try new things and stay motivated. Her favorite exercises have changed over the years, as well as her diet. She is working on becoming a vegetarian. She recognizes that as people’s age and changes, their interests do too, and she believes “it’s great to do whatever keeps you happy and moving.” For anyone interested in trying H2Yoga or any of the other classes offered at the Kroc, she says, “We have grace and encourage people to show grace to themselves. Listen to your body and be where you are today.”

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By Susanna Lancaster