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New Fredericksburg studios offer exercise smorgasbord

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On her last day at American Family Fitness, a friend sent Pitaiyo founder Alex Kelly–Maartens an encouraging article.

It said that Pilates and yoga studios ranked fourth among the top 10 fastest-growing industries in America, according to market-research firm IBISWorld.

And Kelly–Maartens was about to open her first Pitaiyo studio in downtown Fredericksburg.

“It was almost like a sign,” said the Spotsylvania County woman, who’d taught classes at the American Family Fitness in Southpoint II for more than seven years.

Kelly–Maartens, who has a degree in exercise science from Radford University, created Pitaiyo about six years ago. It combines the best features of Pilates, tai chi and yoga into one action-packed, hour-long session. The name combines letters from all three disciplines, and is an acronym for Put It Together All In Your Orbit.

Her new studio at 1006A Caroline St. is one of two new fitness studios that have opened downtown this month. The other is Dragonfly Yoga Studio at 810 Caroline St., which was founded by a teacher, an attorney and a certified yoga instructor.

A third fitness studio, FLY Fitness Inspiration, opened in September on the second floor at 501 William St., above the Paymon Fine Rug Imports store. Its classes include indoor cycling, yoga and Pilates, as well as such Les Mills programs as BodyPump and Body Flow.

“My hope is that all of us can work together,” said Kelly–Maartens. “I am very boutique oriented. Dragonfly Yoga is yoga heavy. FLY Fitness has lots of Les Mills programs. From a global perspective, we’re all fitness, but when you look at us, we’re all different.”

According to IBISWorld, Pilates and yoga classes are a $7 billion industry that experienced an annual growth of 7.7 percent from 2007 to 2012 due to increasing demand from practitioners.

“Revenue will continue to strengthen, due to rising interest from new markets like baby boomers and men,” its 2012 report on the industry said. “Competition from health clubs that offer yoga and Pilates classes will remain strong, as consumers typically attend their classes out of convenience. Nevertheless, continued demand and rising membership rates will sustain revenue for yoga and Pilates studios.”

Kelly–Maartens’ studio offers a variety of Pitaiyo classes, including ones for couples and seniors, as well as meditation and her Smart.Happy.Strong program for children that combines social and physical development to help build self-confidence.

Many of the programs are held inside the studio, which includes a lounge with a fireplace and free water where people can relax before or after a class. Others will continue to be offered outdoors. These include a class that combines Pitaiyo with stand-up paddling on the Rappahannock River.

The studio also will serve as a place for Kelly–Maartens to create new programs, train instructors and sell workout clothing, accessories and Africology aromatherapy products. Her husband is from South Africa.

Memberships are available at various prices, and classes can be booked online at pitaiyo.com. Members can drop in for a class if space is available.

Kit McFarland, a Fredericksburg teacher and yoga enthusiast, said her vision for a downtown yoga studio was inspired by times she spent “living in communities where yoga centers exist in downtown spaces as a means for encouraging community members to embrace healthy lifestyles.”

She discussed the idea of opening one in Fredericksburg with Steve Watkins, a registered yoga teacher and University of Mary Washington professor emeritus, and Stacey Strentz, a Fredericksburg divorce attorney and yoga practitioner.

Dragonfly, which opened Nov. 1, offers everything from a tough workout to a gentle stretch, as well as Happy Hour Yoga for those looking to unwind on Friday evenings. A hot yoga room is under construction and should open on Dec. 1.

In addition, the partners hope the studio becomes a community resource. This will include providing a meeting spot for groups such as the Insight Meditation Community of Fredericksburg. And McFarland is working to launch a nonprofit arm of Dragonfly that would offer yoga to people with special needs or obstacles to attending classes—such as incarcerated teens, wounded veterans and people with chronic illnesses.

Most classes at Dragonfly are $10, although the fee for teen yoga is $7 and family yoga is $20. To sign up for a class, visit dragonfly

yogafred.com or call the studio at 540/372-9600,

Dragonfly will hold its grand opening from 5 to 8 p.m. Nov. 13. It will include a trunk show of Lululemon, Lucy, Prana and other activewear brands, plus food from Wildtree catering and beverages from Liz Creative Juices. Attendees can meet the studio partners and instructors, as well as win giveaways of water bottles, yoga mats and free classes every half hour.

FLY Fitness Inspiration (flyfitnessinspiration.com) is the brainchild of Catesby Payne, a Fredericksburg native who is certified in group fitness instruction. Her studio is in a 2,000-square-foot space with hardwood floors and ample natural light overlooking Hurkamp Park.

Customers can pay for single classes or bundle together multiple ones.

Cathy Jett: 540/374-5407

cjett@freelancestar.com

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