Wake Forest Innovation Quarter has teamed up with yoga studios and a branch of the YMCA to offer indoor and outdoor fitness classes as a part of a larger effort to build a sense of community within the research park.
“We want to make it as easy as possible to get people outside in a unique urban environment where the community is not only doing something good for themselves but having fun doing it,” said Lindsey Yarborough, the Innovation Quarter’s Senior Manager of Community Relations.
About two years ago, the YMCA opened a branch in the Innovation Quarter’s 525@Vine Building. Members of the YMCA can enjoy the Innovation Quarter YMCA facilities and various classes offered. According to the Innovation Quarter YMCA’s website, members have access to “full fitness facility, programs for everyone in your family, outdoor walking track, outdoor sport courts, new playground, new soccer field, no contacts, multiple volunteer, opportunities.”
YMCA also offers classes to nonmembers through its partnership with the Innovation Quarter. This previous April, they provided a new, free fitness program called “Class on the Grass” in Bailey Park for whoever wanted to join.
“The classes outside are special because it is not necessarily current [YMCA] members that come,” said Key. “It could be anyone that works downtown. We try to serve everyone.”
Around 12 to 18 people attend each of the classes, but the number varies depending on the weather. “In late June until August the outdoor space was too hot for class,” said Yarborough. “Classes resumed in September and the last class will end tomorrow, October 21.”
Paz Studios, a yoga, pilates and barre studio located on North Trade Street, teamed up with Townies WS, a Winston-Salem blog, to offer a free outdoor yoga class called “Downward Dog Days of Yoga.” The class is on the lower lawn of Bailey Park and is led by Paz instructor Elliot Watlington with assistance from lululemon athletica Greensboro. It incorporates all levels of yoga for everyone that wants to participate.
“Downward Dog Days of Yoga” started in late August and is regularly scheduled once a month until the weather gets too cold. It attracts around 200 to 250 people each month.
Another business within the Innovation Quarter that hosts exercise classes is Flywheel. Located in the 525@Vine Building, Flywheel is a 24/7 co-working innovation space and has recently partnered with The Breathing Room, a yoga, arts and wellness studio, to offer yoga classes. Taught by Courtney Branch, one of The Breathing Room’s employees, a beginning-to-intermediate yoga class is held in Flywheel’s office in one of its spaces for members and nonmembers of Flywheel.
The class is every Friday from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. Around three to four people attend regularly, but the number fluctuates. Current clients of The Breathing Room can use their packages for sessions in Flywheel, and people can pay on a class-by-class basis for 15 dollars per session.
“The class gives back to the community by bringing people to one spot and giving them something to talk about, while also making them exercise,” Branch said.