Within 24 hours of announcing my intention to teaching Pilates full time--without actually knowing where those extra hours would come from--I received an email from Kristen Mercado asking me if I’d like to teach at a new concept called Solstice she was opening in Decatur. Not only was Kristen one of the few people ever to get me to do yoga consistently (we taught together at Urban Body Studios; the other would be Meryl Arnett, fellow teacher at Solstice), but I loved the idea--a studio devoted to mothers. Pre- and post-natal classes, workshops and classes for kids, and times convenient for mothers with babies or kids in school. Plus, the studio is located across the street from Kimball House, my favorite bar.
I was sold.
I was even more sold when I met Kristen’s business partner, Kristen Cayes Moore (KM2), who turned to Pilates after she broke her tailbone delivering her son. We instantly bonded over the transformative power of Pilates, and now that they’ve opened, I teach two classes a week. I have even threatened to steal my niece for the Mommy and Me yoga classes.
Check out all that’s going on at Solstice here, including Mother’s Day Meditation & Mehndi this Saturday at 2 p.m., plus my interview below.
How did you two meet?
KM: We met when our kids were in the same two year old preschool class at Inman Park Cooperative Preschool. We were both on the auction committee.
Where did the inspiration for Solstice come from?
KM: It came from this conversation we had over and over on the school playground about there not being a studio that fit our needs as moms. My mother always says, "necessity is the mother of invention." There was a void in the city for what we wanted, and we had a hunch that other women wanted it, too. It was a pie in the sky dream that became more and more realistic over the years.
How did you come up with the name?
KM: Kristen (Moore) came up with the name and we both loved it instantly because there is so much interpretive meaning there.
How do you balance being an owner/instructor/working parent with your own health and wellness?
KM: We literally talk about this daily- we are a work in progress! By no means do we have it all figured out. We are in the trenches with every other woman/mom/daughter/sister/wife who is juggling a lot of responsibilities. The one thing we agreed to from the start was that we would each have a day off during the week and the studio would be closed on Sundays. We lean on our families a lot for help with our kids and make our physical and mental health a priority. But it is HARD!
What do you do to relax? Is that even possible?
KM: I love to travel or get outdoors when I can. I like to hike with my husband and kids or my new thing is to take walks around Decatur in between classes. If I have a few minutes in the middle of the day, I'll do a restorative yoga pose. I just find little opportunities and take them.
What's your favorite part about Atlanta?
KM: I love Atlanta. My favorite things are the landscape and the airport. You can get a direct flight to just about anywhere. I love that I can drive a few hours and be at the beach, a lake, or the mountains.
KM2: I grew up in Atlanta and never thought I would live here as an adult. While it has taken awhile for the city to come into its own, it is on its way. By far my favorite thing is the Beltline. I love walking it or biking it, looking at all the different types of people that it brings together.
What are you favorite family-friendly spots in the city?
KM: Radial Café is my family's go-to restaurant (kids eat free on weekdays and the menu is nutritious but tasty). Mulberry Fields is a hidden gem in Candler Park. It's a community garden with chickens and goats and a giant tree swing. When we go there we feel like we've been transported to the country.
Share how Pilates (Kristen Moore) and yoga (Kristen Mercado) have positively impacted your life.
KM: Yoga completely and totally changed my life. Years ago, I was a really stressed out, wired, and anxious sales rep; I lived in fear of deadlines, quotas, and potential commission checks. I was a nail biter. I was always searching for something more but in all the wrong places- all along it was inside of me. Yoga helped me feel that fulfillment and love inside myself and empowered me to live every moment, to savor each relationship and experience in my life- the good and the bad. I know now that I'm happiest when I'm helping others.
KM2: Without sounding extreme, Pilates saved my life. After my tailbone broke while delivering my son, I found Pilates as part of my rehabilitation. I believe without Pilates, I would have had to endure major reconstructive surgery. It has made me stronger than I ever thought possible.