SMOKEY POINT — XYZ Studio and Your Image Studio were officially welcomed as neighbors of Mt. Pilchuck Ski & Sport at 5200 172nd St. NE in Arlington on Saturday, Sept. 28, as 35 participants turned out for that morning's free Zumba class in spite of the gray skies and drizzle outside.
"We were right about at capacity for what this room will hold," said Paige McLaren, who serves as XYZ Studios' instructor in the areas of Zumba, yoga and Turbokick, just as her cohort Debi Terrell provides Pilates, TRX and personal training. "I just want to thank everybody who's joined us on this journey. We have so much to offer in one place here, from health to beauty services, and our goal is to make it an inclusive, accepting, encouraging environment, where women especially can come and feel safe and happy. A lot of people are nervous about coming to gyms or starting fitness programs — it takes a lot of guts — but everyone has to start somewhere."
Michelle Torstenson started Zumba with McLaren as her instructor more than six years ago, back when XYZ Studio was operating out of Stanwood.
"It's not an exercise class, so much as it is a feel-good-about-yourself healthy class," Torstenson said. "It's an hour devoted to me, when I can have fun and not feel guilty. It's as easy or as hard as you want it to be. I did Zumba with Paige the whole time I was pregnant, right up until the day before I delivered, and it was the easiest delivery I ever had. I've had three kids, and I have arthritis, but I do this anyway."
"Paige is a guru," said Robyn Kibby, one of Torstenson's friends and McLaren's students. "This is just the place to be, no matter what you're doing, even if you're eating a cookie," she laughed, as she grabbed a post-workout chocolate chip cookie from a plate that XYZ Studio had set out.
While McLaren and Terrell lead their students in working up a sweat, Melissa Rork relaxes them with soothing music, scented candles and a bed at Your Image Studio, which welcomes its clients to rest their eyes as they treat themselves to some beauty care.
"We specialize in eyelash extensions, but we're moving into waxing and microderm abrasion as well," said Rork, an aesthetician who allows her clients to drift off to sleep during treatments that can last upwards of two hours. "I wanted to make this space an inviting, cozy home away from home."
"This is the highest-energy ribbon-cutting I've ever attended," Arlington Mayor Barbara Tolbert said, after taking in the morning's free Zumba. "It's so much fun, I have to come back."
For more information, call XYZ Studio at 425-387-9061 or log onto its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pages/XYZ-Studio-1/107670185986524, or call Your Image Studio at 425-870-3415or log onto its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pages/Your-Image-Studio/271283089697272.