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Posted by Vishal Punj on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 - 18:34
 
Starting today we are launching a referral program.
 
Help us spread the word!
 
Send someone our way and we'll thank you.
 
All they have to do is sign up for our $79 Aatma Introductory month and you get your choice of either a $20 credit on your membership or a $20 Amazon gift card.  It's up to you!  Just make sure they mention your name when they sign up.
 
*Referral program eligible for past, present, and future members.  Must have purchased a monthly membership or class pack to qualify.
By Vishal Punj

Vishal Punj is the owner of Aatma Fitness Studios, a full service boutique health and fitness club in the Center Of The Universe, Seattle.

Posted by Vishal Punj on Friday, January 13, 2017 - 16:03

 

The beginning of the year is a time when many of us think about what we want to accomplish in the months ahead.  We asked the Aatma team what intentions they have for 2017.  Here's what some of them had to say.

 

 

My New Years resolution is to be vegetarian, no meat of any kind. My other resolution is to eat less animal products :)  - Vivian

 

 

 

 

My resolution this year is to spend more time on self-care.  This includes getting more sleep and learning how to decompress better.  Although I was never a big drinker, I’ve  also decided to give up alcohol entirely. - Vishal

 

 

 

 

 I would say my New Years resolution is to pursue all aspects of my life wholeheartedly. Pursue my jobs, my relationships, my health (physical, emotional, spiritual), to the fullest extent. I know it won't be possible to give 100% all of the time, but I want to strive not to half do anything. - Jaclyn

 

 

 

 

My goal is to spend more time reading. - Alyssa

 

 

 

 

 My current goals are to make a home in my new space, eat clean, exercise daily and be outside more, even in the icy cold. - Amy

 

 

 

 

My goals this year include eating more vegetable proteins and less meat, trying to live a more minimal lifestyle, and building enough strength to do a chin up without band assistance! - Neetu

 

 

 

 

 My New Years resolution is to gain diligence in my training for Sin Moo Hapkido. After attaining my black belt at the end of 2016 I took a quick hiatus to take care of myself,    but in 2017 I plan to hit the ground running, kicking, and punching. - Rafi

 

 

 

 

I had a surgery last August and lost about 20 pounds! So I would like to get back more muscle.  Also I would love to see my parents in Japan this year since I haven't seen     them for a while. May 2017 bring you health and happiness! - Ayumi

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Vishal Punj

Vishal Punj is the owner of Aatma Fitness Studios, a full service boutique health and fitness club in the Center Of The Universe, Seattle.

Posted by Vishal Punj on Monday, December 19, 2016 - 16:25

Tell us about your background in dance.

I have 6 years of Jazz-dance company/stage experience in Fukui, Kyoto, Japan.  My mother was a big influence on me becoming a theatrical dancer and dance fitness instructor since she had dreamt for me to join Takarazuka musical school in Kansai, Japan. We used to go see musical and stage-plays a lot together.

I also have more than 15 years of teaching experience both in Japan and here in the US.  I’ve taught Les Mills Bodyjam, Bodystep, High-low, Jazz, Hip-Hop, and Zumba.

Most folks think of Zumba as based only on Latin beats, whereas yours is a little different.  Tell us more about that. 

I have many variations and always try to introduce different types of World Beats and dance formats. This allows the class to explore the joy of dance and music. When it comes to Zumba, I became certified not only with the basic official Zumba Zin program called Basic 1 Latin formats but also Basic 2 dance formats such as samba, belly dancing, flamenco, tango and more.

What sorts of other things do you enjoy doing besides dancing?

I love going to see Broadway musicals and stage-plays here in Seattle and also in Japan. I will fly to Japan up to 4 times a year just to see my favorite idol's stage-plays in Tokyo and Osaka. Otherwise I enjoy just spending ordinary time and life with my family and friends. 

By Vishal Punj

Vishal Punj is the owner of Aatma Fitness Studios, a full service boutique health and fitness club in the Center Of The Universe, Seattle.

Posted by Vishal Punj on Tuesday, November 22, 2016 - 11:37

A special thank you to all who came out to our super fun Fitbit event this past Saturday, Nov 19!  Fitbit ambassadors Kaisa Keranen and Kevin Ng provided the perfect combination of sweat and zen in an hour long workout while managing to keep a smile on everyone’s face.  Oh and did we mention the fabulous vendors and giveaways?  Fitness and fashion apparel leader Lorna Jane provided the style, ZICO coconut water kept us all hydrated, KIND snacks kept us feeling satiated, and Brew Dr. Kombucha kept our taste buds buzzing.  Much like Fitbit’s mission to keep us all moving, our mission here at Aatma is to expose our members to as many different types of classes and workouts to keep you inspired.  Stay fit and keep moving!

By Vishal Punj

Vishal Punj is the owner of Aatma Fitness Studios, a full service boutique health and fitness club in the Center Of The Universe, Seattle.

Posted by Vishal Punj on Tuesday, November 1, 2016 - 13:50
We're excited to announce that Fitbit is partnering up with Aatma Fitness Studios to hold an exciting event on Saturday November 19th at 9:30am.
 
Fitbit Local Ambassadors Kaisa Keranen and Kevin Ng will be putting on a fun all-levels workout.  Get your sweat on with a fat-burning bodyweight workout and then stretch it out with a rejuvenating yoga flow.  There will also be a raffle to win a free Fitbit tracker!
 
Event details and registration can be found here.  Register now.  It's free!
 
Also please note that some of our regular classes will be cancelled that day to accommodate the event. Please check the schedule to see if your class is being affected.
By Vishal Punj

Vishal Punj is the owner of Aatma Fitness Studios, a full service boutique health and fitness club in the Center Of The Universe, Seattle.

Posted by Vishal Punj on Monday, October 3, 2016 - 11:10

When and why did you start practicing yoga?

I started practicing yoga on and off with my mom when I was 6 and came back to it a little over 5 years ago. At the time, I held a job that was very stressful and although I had always exercised by running and lifting weights, the idea of slowing down was presented to me by one of my colleagues (I was a little intense) and it turns out it was life changing. 

You teach Hatha yoga with us.  How is Hatha different from Vinyasa?

Hatha is a practice which cultivates a balance between mind, breath and body. Although Vinyasa can be a form of Hatha, Vinyasa is typically connecting breath and movement as more of a flow. 

You made the move from New York to Seattle.  What inspired that decision?

I decided to leave my corporate job and the NY lifestyle to explore my yoga practice and service.

As someone who used to work in fashion, what is your favorite yoga outfit?

Honestly, I wonder if anyone would know that I worked in fashion by looking at me now :). I prefer to practice in loose roomy clothing and to wear all black (a nod to my NY roots), but in an effort to step out I sometimes try to add color to my clothes with my pants and my earrings.

You work with Yoga behind Bars.  Tell us a little about that experience.

Yoga Behind Bars is a nonprofit in Washington state dedicated to bringing yoga and meditation instruction to prisons, jails and detention centers. Their programs promote rehabilitation, help to build safer communities and contribute to reform of the prison system. I have never felt so lucky as to be asked to volunteer and then hired to work at YBB. I work in their office as a Development Coordinator and teach at a juvenile detention hall in Tacoma; to create and hold space in an environment where there is no space is pretty powerful; it proves that anything is possible. I highly recommend it.

By Vishal Punj

Vishal Punj is the owner of Aatma Fitness Studios, a full service boutique health and fitness club in the Center Of The Universe, Seattle.

Posted by Vishal Punj on Monday, September 26, 2016 - 11:57

Tell us about how you got into boxing.


 I used to be a salsa/hip hop dance instructor. Six years ago, one of my dance students told me her uncle had opened a boxing gym and wanted me to check it out.  Walking in I remember feeling excited and a bit intimidated by the ring and bags.  After meeting the owner, he ran me through my first boxing training. At the time I was drinking and smoking cigarettes every day. So by the end of my training session I was sweating what felt like battery acid and spitting up black stuff. But as bad as that sounds, I had never felt better in my life.  I was hooked, and so I decided to cut back on my drinking and quit smoking, cold turkey, right then and there.  I knew from that point that I wanted to be a boxer.

What is your advice to folks who may find the thought of taking a boxing class intimidating?

Don't allow your fears to get in the way of learning something you may be interested in. If you're intimidated by the thought of a boxing class, go and observe one you'd be interested in taking. Take time to speak with the trainer or coach, voice your concerns and see how they respond.  Basically get as much information as you can.  Then make an informed decision.

Your class involves a lot of conditioning.  Why is that necessary for boxing?

Boxing is a sport that can wear on an unconditioned body quickly and even cause injury to those who are not practiced enough.  This is why it is imperative that every boxer undergoes as much conditioning as safely possible.  When a boxing student starts incorporating sparring into their workout routine, they usually notice in the first round how tiring it can be to box for only 3 minutes (1 round).  Getting worn out or gassed during a sparring round is one of the worst feelings you can experience.  Your guard starts to drop as you lose more and more energy and before you know it, you're taking punches where you weren't a few moments ago.  So now you're tired and defenseless and still have half the round left to get through.  To help prevent unwanted situations like this one from occurring, good conditioning is key.

You also served in the navy for 4 years.  We’d like to thank you for your service.  How has that experience shaped you?

 The Navy was one of the hardest but also most rewarding jobs I've ever had. Physically and mentally, it challenged me to push past my hang ups of what I perceived my personal limitations were. As a result I learned that these limits are only in my mind, and my mind can be used to push myself beyond what I originally thought possible. I've applied this lesson to everything I've done since my days in the Navy and have achieved greater things than I thought I would ever accomplish in my life.

We also hear you like to cook.  Give us one of your favorite healthy recipes.


Shrimp Tacos w/ Cilantro Lime Sour Cream


1 tablespoon olive oil


1 teaspoon chipotle or blended chili powder


1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 pound medium shrimp (about 20), peeled and deveined


 8 corn tortillas

8 sprigs cilantro for garnish

2 limes, cut into wedges

Sauce:

1/4 cup sour cream

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1/4 teaspoon cumin

Juice and zest from one lime

Salt to taste

 

For sauce:

Add all ingredients to a bowl and stir to combine.

 

For tacos:

Heat a stovetop or outdoor grill to medium-high. Mix the olive oil, chipotle or chili powder, and salt in a large bowl. Add the shrimp and toss to coat. Grill the shrimp until translucent, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes on each side. 
Grill tortillas, until slightly charred and pliable, about 20 seconds per side. (Alternatively, wrap in a damp paper towel and heat in a microwave.) Spoon sauce on the tortilla, then top with about 2 or 3 shrimp and a sprig of cilantro. Serve 2 tacos per person, with a lime wedge on the side.

By Vishal Punj

Vishal Punj is the owner of Aatma Fitness Studios, a full service boutique health and fitness club in the Center Of The Universe, Seattle.

Posted by Vishal Punj on Monday, September 12, 2016 - 18:31

Tell us about the structure of your Total Body Conditioning Class.  What can folks expect?

My Total Body Conditioning Class is done using high intensity intervals. Folks can expect a lot of different ways to raise their heart rates, such as running, jumping and other explosive plyometric movements, as well as lightweight to body-weight functional movements. I spend a lot of time focusing on form and making sure people are targeting correct muscle groups while moving.  I’m making sure people are moving in a way that is most efficient as well as comfortable and healthy for their respective bodies.

What’s one of your favorite movements that you like to use in class?

One movement you will see a lot of in my class is the squat. We will do the squat in many different forms, whether it be standing in place or doing squat jumps. The squat is a critical movement for building fundamental strength and it is very rarely executed properly. My class provides many variations of the squat in order to achieve a greater understanding of the posterior chain as well as allow people of varying flexibility and strength to engage the muscles intended in the squat.

What’s a movement that you commonly see people doing improperly?

A movement that I see done improperly all of the time is the push-up. A common mistake is to brace the entire upper body, creating tension in the neck and shoulders. This creates too much demand on the muscles that make up the rotator cuff in the shoulder. The shoulder was not designed to push things from that angle, however the chest was. In my class we focus on things like keeping the shoulders relaxed during push-ups, which allows the chest to engage and remain as the primary mover during the push-up.

You studied sign language for 3 years.  What made you want to do that and do you get a chance to use it at all?

During the course of middle school I developed a less than favorable relationship with my Spanish teacher so when I got to high school I thought to myself, "Lets do somethin' different". So I signed myself up for American Sign Language. I found the language very intuitive and much easier to pick up than other spoken languages. I think it gives one a much better perspective on what communication really is and teaches you to think about situations or problems from different angles. There was a small deaf community at the gym I used to work at. That was the last time I was signing somewhat regularly. However, I do still have thoughts of becoming an interpreter on occasion. Maybe if this fitness stuff doesn't work out ha!

By Vishal Punj

Vishal Punj is the owner of Aatma Fitness Studios, a full service boutique health and fitness club in the Center Of The Universe, Seattle.

Posted by Vishal Punj on Thursday, September 8, 2016 - 13:00

As I finished our Ride class here at Aatma Fitness Studios last Saturday and shortly thereafter received an email detailing the results of the workout, I began to wonder how exactly we became so metric obsessed.  I am a firm believer that from a big picture perspective it’s all been for the best and knowing where we stand will only help us to improve and get better.  However, one can’t help but wonder about the rise of these metrics, especially in fitness. 

Of course tracking one’s activity is nothing new but the technology that does all of the tracking for you is new.  Receiving immediate feedback on factors such as calories burnt or consumed, steps taken, distance cycled, heart rate and sleep quality can serve as a very effective motivational tool to change our behavior and lifestyle.  After all, the numbers never lie!  Metrics and tracking become even more important with those who have more serious heath issues such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity.        

Members often ask me about my opinions on some of these gadgets and apps.  Being a late adopter with respect to technology (I was probably one of the last guys on the planet to get a smart phone), I found myself a bit skeptical of the emergence of technology in the fitness space.  My main concern was an over emphasis on tracking fitness activities at the expense of maintaining full body awareness and the enjoyment of the experience.  My wife on the other hand has always been very comfortable with technology and early on became an advocate of the Fitbit.  I have to admit that after witnessing her and other members’ use of the Fitbit and other gadgets here in Aatma, I have begun to see that a healthy symbiosis can exist between both inner and outer monitoring of fitness activities. Plus, I’m all for anything that motivates folks to work harder on their fitness! 

Speaking of technology, here’s where I get to plug Aatma’s use of technology in the club.  Our MINDBODY app syncs with your Fitbit, allowing you to view your activity for past classes taken.  Our Ride class uses a system called Spivi which makes use of sensors located on the bikes to communicate your activity to the system and allow you to view metrics such as cadence, distance traveled, energy produced, power and even calories burned, all while looking at an avatar of yourself in real time as you bike through the hills of Turkey, the Colorado River or whichever program the class is in the mood for!  It’s super cool but ake a class and find out for yourself! 

By Vishal Punj

Vishal Punj is the owner of Aatma Fitness Studios, a full service boutique health and fitness club in the Center Of The Universe, Seattle.

Posted by Vishal Punj on Monday, August 22, 2016 - 10:51

When did you start teaching Barre and what drew you to it? 

I started teaching Barre after my husband and I moved to Seattle two years ago. I taught Zumba fitness in Arizona and wanted to continue with group exercise after we moved. Dance has always been a big part of my life and I find Barre is a great way to keep up with my dance and choreography. 

Can you describe what Barre is and it’s benefits? 

Barre fitness is a combination of dance, pilates, yoga and strength techniques. One reason I love Barre so much is it is so diverse and a totally body workout! There are so many modifications in Barre it is great for any body. I would encourage anyone who hasn't given it a shot yet to come in and try a class!

You have a Bachelors of Science in Healthy Lifestyle Coaching.  How do you apply that to your classes?  

As a health coach I come alongside clients to reach their health goals. It is about making small changes to create lasting change. Before each class I like to ask the group what they are looking to work on that day to reach some of their fitness goals. It is fun hearing what the class wants and incorporating it into the workout.

What do you like to do when you aren't teaching group fitness?

My husband and I recently moved to Belltown. We love finding new fun restaurants and getting inspiration on things to cook at home! At least once a week we like to have a "farmers market dinner" where we go to a local market without a plan and make a dinner from things we find!

By Vishal Punj

Vishal Punj is the owner of Aatma Fitness Studios, a full service boutique health and fitness club in the Center Of The Universe, Seattle.

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