Community Close-up: Corey and Kiara Johnson of atl kula
For atl kula founders Corey and Kiara Johnson, prioritizing wellness means getting outside and soaking up the transformative power of nature. They started their Atlanta-based wellness studio to help bridge the gap between the natural and modern world through promoting a natural lifestyle through movement, consuming healthy products, and keeping the spirit of community at the forefront.
Inspired by their own wellness experiences, their studio offers classes that have personally impacted their own lives and require minimal equipment—yoga, Pilates, barre, and Tai Chi. Their MO is to make sure that each person that steps foot through atl kula’s door leaves feeling better than ever before.
We recently chatted with Corey and Kiara to learn more about the mission behind atl kula and what wellness means to them.
Tell us about yourself. What led you to where you are now?
Corey: Being born and raised in Atlanta, I've always loved being outside and noticed how I naturally recovered from many of the ailments I came down with as a kid by spending time in the sun, moving around, and playing until I tired myself out. While attending Georgia Tech and even when I started working after school, I’d make it a habit to get outside and reset and learned that taking care of myself had to be a priority in this life that often pulls us in a million directions.
Kiara: He took me to Sweetwater Creek Park one of the first times we ever hung out. I remember loving how peaceful and rejuvenating it was but also how distant it felt compared to how often we were outside as kids. Our outside adventures became little “getaways” for us. He showed me all around Atlanta’s parks and hidden gems and somewhere in-between the dreaming began. It started with understanding how wellness very much includes nature and the all-natural from the sun that shines on our skin to the food we eat, and it continued with planning how we could build something special using nature as inspiration to touch lives near and far for years to come. We are about living naturally and that started as a very personal walk for us.
What inspired you to open your business? What motivates you day-to-day?
We are big dreamers, and we knew we wanted to help define what it means to live naturally in a modern world—which inspired us to build atl kula and what motivates us every day. We turned what was once an empty storage space into a nature-inspired studio with a biophilic design, meant to make you feel well just from walking inside. You’ll also be greeted by our koi fish in our indoor pond on your way to class, relaxed by our warm colors and soft aesthetics, and yet energized with pops of plant life throughout the space. We were inspired to offer the practices of yoga, Pilates, barre, and Tai Chi—amazing practices that have transformed our own lives. These practices are ones that you don’t necessarily need a lot of equipment for, but that you could do more with…. naturally! And lastly, our lifestyle products, such as our soap and body butter, inspire us to work towards providing an all-natural self-care regimen for our community—products that are better for the environment, better for our bodies, and beautifully scented for our enjoyment.
What does wellness mean to you? Has it evolved over the past couple of years?
While wellness includes good habits such as eating more naturally, exercising, being involved with your local community, and making progress towards your fullest potential—it is also deeper than that for us and atl kula. We don’t believe people necessarily choose to make poor decisions that negatively impact their lives, but instead, we often find that it’s the very infrastructure and systems around them that are designed for them to be unwell (take food deserts for example). That’s why it’s so important for spaces like ours to exist and to be everywhere—ultimately helping to change those very systems where wellness can truly start.
If you're in the Atlanta area, you should definitely check out atl kula’s in-person classes to help you advance your wellness routine. Not in Atlanta? Don’t sweat—you can book virtual classes at their studio or check out their online streaming options, too. Still looking for more atl kula? They also have their SoN2U Wellness Retreat coming up November 12-14—which focuses on meditation, movement, and mental health. You’ll experience a weekend of transformation, sowing into yourself—while growing with a community of individuals seeking to do the same.