Every Wednesday, we do a "round-up" post of some of our favorite things in Southwest Michigan. Our Wednesday posts will feature things to do, see, eat, and more in Michigan's Great Southwest!

Michigan’s Great Southwest has a vibrant community, built in many ways. Here’s a round up of some our favorite group exercises classes in the area, building that community through healthy living. We asked YogaLife, Renaissance Athletic Club, and the Benton Harbor-St. Joseph YMCA for their suggestions. 


“Aromatherapy Vinyasa”- YogaLife
Mondays & Fridays 11:30am-12:30pm

“Best Butt Ever”- Renaissance Athletic Club
Tuesdays 8:30-9:00am/Thursdays 6:30-7:00am

“Rhythm Blast”- Benton Harbor-St Joseph YMCA
Thursdays 9:00am

We asked the instructors of these classes to tell us a little more. 

Brooke, from YogaLife, Lanie from Renaissance Athletic Club, and Sara from the Y shared their class descriptions with us, and told us why they share these awesome experiences with students in Southwest Michigan.

 “Aromatherapy Vinyasa”- YogaLife

Vinyasa translates as “placing with intention”. This class is a dynamic sequence of postures which all connect to each other using your breath. We begin slow and build on the sequence depending on your individual level. This class includes the use of essential oils into the flow which only adds to the benefits you experience. All-levels are welcome!

Brooke Vladic, Aromatherapy Vinyasa instructor, says:

“Teaching Yoga is my biggest passion in life and I'm always eager to learn more about essential oils since I've only been using them for the past year. This class allows me to share Yoga that is appropriate for all-levels of students plus I continue to learn more and more about the benefits of essential oils from researching their uses and benefits for my class.”

“Best Butt Ever”- Renaissance Athletic Club  

In this 30 minute class you will be taken through a series of serious glute burning exercises. Start with a muscle activation warm up, move into strengthening exercises, and finish with power movements- you’ll tone, shape, and lift your booty and leave feeling a deep burn!

Lanie Schrubba, the class instructor, says:

“I participate with the class so I am able to push the class to keep up with me instead of just giving cues and reminders. It’s also proven to burn up to 400 calories in just 30 minutes, so it’s an extremely effective workout!”

“Rhythm Blast”- YMCA

A full hour of cardio drumming (drumming with real drumsticks on a stability ball!) combined with intervals of more heart pumping exercises.

Sara Rayon, “Rhythm Blast” instructor, says:

“The best part of teaching this class is seeing the smiles and the fun on every single face in the room! Everyone can do this!!”

These instructors are passionate about what they teach, and the community it creates. Sara, Lanie and Brooke all shared what they love about teaching this class, as well as their own background.  

“Rhythm Blast”- YMCA

Sara Rayon is a fitness instructor and personal trainer at the YMCA. Sara says she teaches the YMCA “…because I love interacting with the participants.  I love the atmosphere that the YMCA has created for people to come together socially and at the same time, work on their fitness goals.” She has been teaching fitness classes since 1995 including Step Aerobics, Bosu, Group Strength, Core Classes, Kickboxing, and Cardio Drumming.  Her certifications include YMCA Group Exercise Instructor, Drums Alive Instructor, and ACE Personal Trainer.

“Best Butt Ever”- Renaissance Athletic Club

Lanie Schrubba, a Certified Personal Trainer through the American College of Sports Medicine with a Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science from Western Michigan University. She teaches at Renaissance Athletic Club because of “… the atmosphere that the members of this club create. Everyone is on the same team here and they constantly support and motivate each other. The RAC is an extremely fun working environment!”

  “Aromatherapy Vinyasa”-Yoga Life

Brooke Vladic, the owner and founder of Yoga Life, teaches Aromatherapy Vinyasa. She teaches at Yoga Life “…because it is a beautiful space where like-minded individuals come together to better themselves each day. Our community is continuously growing and supporting each other here and it is such great thing that I am grateful to be a part of.” Brooke has completed her 200-hour all-level power teacher training, a 100-hour hands-on training, her 500-hour advanced teacher training, and holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Nutrition. She decided St. Joseph needed somewhere people can come together and practice in a beautiful space dedicated to the Yoga tradition and a holistic approach to health and wellness; a place where community can grow and nurture its students by supporting and encouraging each other. YogaLife was founded in 2015.

Of course, we want to hear about students who have been successful! Here’s what some of Lanie and Brooke’s students said, and what Sara says about hers! 

 “Best Butt Ever”- Renaissance Athletic Club

“I was so eager to take the Best Butt Ever class as it’s a goal area to tone. The class is a fun format and it’s an awesome workout in 30 minutes. I could feel that it made a difference after the first class—I was sore for days! The music is fun and upbeat and the time goes by quickly. Lanie is a great instructor who pushes us and makes the class a blast!”-Dana R.

 “Aromatherapy Vinyasa”-Yoga Life

“My life has changed since I started taking classes at Yoga Life! My body feels great after every class. It's definitely challenging, because I've suffered from knee and low back pain for years, but at the end of classes when we lie in savasana (corpse pose) my body and mind thank me for taking the time to practice Yoga.  All of the classes here are different and I feel the instructors meet my needs day-to-day as I change and improve. My pain has subsided since I started Yoga, my mind is clearer, and I feel not only more flexible, but stronger as well.  I've experience a reduction in stress from every-day things, too. I feel great.” –Joseph, 43

 “Rhythm Blast”- YMCA

“Every student in this class is successful.  There are unfit, overweight, elderly, very fit, and athletic people that participate in the same class--every shape and size can exercise and have fun TOGETHER! The ones that have never exercised can do this and are getting a workout, the ones that are very fit can do this and are getting a work out, side by side with one another.  They keep coming back because it's do-able, it's fun, and they're getting fit, and that is success!!”- Sara, Rhythm Blast Instructor

Click on the logos below for a full class schedule at each location. Look for Part 2 of "Getting Fit in SW Michigan" on April 6th!