When Beth Swanson needed an instructor to lead the area's first cat yoga class at the Humane Society of Douglas County, she called Holly Bounting. Neither knew quite how it would turn out, but Bounting, the owner of Embody Yoga, was up for the challenge.
"I said 'You know, I've never heard of it before,'" Bounting said, but she was intrigued. After looking over the space, she crafted the class. Cat yoga has expanded to three Wednesdays a month, thanks to the lure of cats and Bounting's can-do approach.
"She has been a delight, very easy to work with and very client focused" said Swanson, fundraising and events coordinator for the humane society. "I've been able to attend a class or two and found that she is a caring and compassionate instructor."
Bounting has been tailoring classes and sharing new techniques with her clients for years.
"I want results," she said. "When people come into my class and they have an issue, I want them to leave feeling better."
She offers a mix of yoga styles, a fresh perspective and a positive attitude at Embody Yoga. Clients of all ages and skill levels are encouraged to increase their flexibility while decreasing their stress levels.
"Breath free, breathe true, breathe well," is her business motto.
Sometimes, clients get homework.
"I want to show them the best tool that I know how to share with them to take care of that when I'm not around, so that they can do it off their mat and at home as well," Bounting said.
When her former yoga studio closed down, Gay Hooper shopped around for a new one. Embody was fifth on her list, and it's now her studio of choice.
"It's been wonderful," Hooper said. "It's a mind, body, spirit, the whole package."
Bounting provides a focus on body awareness, restorative yoga and self-healing that's new to Hooper, a former instructor who's been doing yoga since she was a teen.
"When you've done something for so many years, it can get stale, so it's good to get a fresh perspective," Hooper said. "It renews what you've been doing. And because she goes slowly, it's a great place for beginners as well."
Kathryn Borg of Duluth started classes at Embody Yoga in January, hoping for some help with grief and sadness. Bounting's warmth, kindness and knowledge have been a comfort.
"I often enter Holly's green studio in distress and later leave feeling relaxed, calm and with a sense of well-being," Borg said.
Bounting had been offering smaller private yoga sessions at Bergquist Chiropractic, but found she needed to expand. She opened the Embody Yoga studio last July in Suite 416 of the Board and Trade building, 1507 Tower Ave. The windows of the room, painted green and white, provide sunlight and a view of downtown Superior. Visitors are encouraged to write down things they are grateful for and future plans, then slip them into a basket and intentions bottle.
Like its next door neighbor Zoma Therapeutic Massage, Embody Yoga is dedicated to giving clients healthy solutions.
"Massage and yoga, it's not just this fad thing," said Josh Vig, owner of Zoma Therapeutic Massage. "There's a lot more to it. If people would just start utilizing yoga and massage, and alternatives to health care, there's a lot of benefits there without a lot of side effects."
Embody Yoga offers classes on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. For more information and class schedules, visit www.zoma.massagetherapy.com/embody-yoga or the Embody Yoga facebook page.