Providing Health & Wellness: Interview with Co-Founder of Align Brooklyn, Dr. Brown
At South Slope Pediatrics, being deeply involved in our local culture and community and connecting with like-minded businesses is at the core of our philosophy. One such local business that we’ve been so lucky to establish a relationship with is Align, a boutique wellness studio just a few blocks down the street from us. In fact, our team just enjoyed an amazing yoga class there this past month! Let’s learn more about how Align came to be and about the co-founder and owner of this practice, Dr. Brown.
SSP: Congratulations on the almost 5 year anniversary of Align! Although quite an accomplishment in itself, I understand that you and your wife Pamela have been involved in fitness and training for many years. How did your path lead you to opening up Align, right here in Park Slope?
Thanks! I can’t believe it’s been nearly 5 years! I’ve actually been a doctor of chiropractic for 29 years and have always been an athlete. I had considered for quite a while exactly what I wanted my practice to look like and how I could best serve our South Slope community. One day I was walking home from a yoga class - we’ve lived on 18th Street since 2005 - and saw the “for rent” sign in the window. Pam and I had ideas for other spaces over the years and had a business plan ready to go, and so I called the number off the sign and the rest is history.
SSP: What made you personally so invested in health and wellness? Can you tell us a little about your background?
My dad was an MD, one of the earliest physiatrists, and was always interested in natural healing. In our home we always were encouraged to play sports, be fit, and eat healthily. When I was in high school, I was on the football team. I had injured myself at a Tuesday scrimmage and didn’t think I’d be able to play in Saturday’s big game. My dad took me to a chiropractor, and I was just hooked. I was back on the field with the team by Thursday and played in the game that Saturday. I knew then and there that I was going to be a chiropractor. For me it was incredibly effective and the perfect combination of science and natural healing. I am still fascinated by anything to do with the body and movement, and continue to learn, so I am happy with my choice.
SSP: What would you say is your mission statement at Align, and what is it that you specifically set out to do for those who join your classes?
Our mission is simple: to use natural, but science-based techniques to promote the wellness of our community including chiropractic, exercise and functional nutrition. Our classes are built around a chiropractic vision for wellness, which emphasizes a highly personalized dynamic balance that is ever-changing toward enabling the innate ability of the body to heal and keep itself healthy. The components of this dynamic balance include alignment, balance, strength training, cardiovascular conditioning, core stability, flexibility and recovery. In addition to the classes we have become known for we offer functional nutrition, chiropractic and myofascial therapy. We hope to be “one stop shopping” for the South Slope’s health and wellness needs.
SSP: Can you tell us about your current class offering? Are there certain areas of focus/expertise that we should know about?
Our class offerings are in three categories: yoga, functional fitness and contemporary Pilates. All of our classes emphasize mindful movement and a personalized approach to alignment. Our yoga offerings include athletic Vinyasa-style Yoga Flow classes, Hatha based Yoga Ground classes, and Iyengar based classes that incorporate our yoga suspension wall - Yoga Fly and Yoga Heal. Our functional fitness classes emphasize strength building, cardio and mobility. These classes include Align 1:10, Align Ignite and Align Roll, and they incorporate some of my favorite tools - kettlebells, TRX, foam rollers and BOSUs. And our Pilates based classes include Align Core, Align Fusion and Align Define. These are fun, upbeat classes that emphasize core stability. The primary focus of the studio is on alignment and balance. We believe that diversity of movement is best for all bodies and that a positive, welcoming, and warm space where everybody is truly welcome is the best environment for wellness. The emotional piece of wellness shouldn’t be overlooked, and that includes feeling good about oneself for showing up and taking care of one’s health and wellbeing in an environment of compassion and acceptance.
SSP: You have quite the resume! In addition to being a certified yoga and fitness instructor, you are also a licensed chiropractor, certified clinical nutritionist and certified chiropractic sports physician! Do you offer any of these other services at Align as well?
Actually, I became certified as an exercise physiologist, yoga instructor and clinical nutritionist, after becoming a chiropractor. I love studying the body and so I also took an additional two years of classes to become a Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician. I don’t want my patients coming repeatedly for the same condition. I always want to get rid of my patients in a sense. Sort of put myself out of business. In order to assure this I have to be able to teach them what they need to do on their own. This almost always entails some combination of yoga, core work, rehab, and body-mind centering.
SSP: I think for most of us moms and dads of young ones, our health and wellness often take a backseat to our children’s needs. Can you please tell our readers why it’s essential to make this more of a priority, and how Align can help them reach their goals?
It’s sort of like what they say on a plane, that you are of little use to others until you put the mask on yourself first. We want to raise a generation of well-balanced kids who are fully engaged with the world. For me, I saw my parents engaging in healthy activities like proper rest, exercise and eating habits and that encouraged me take this life-style on for myself and to make wellness my life. Whatever your wellness goals or needs, we are here to support you! Yes, you do have to make the time, but we have a variety of memberships and packages to suit a variety of needs and budgets. If you can make a commitment to coming 7 or more times a month, our Unlimited Wellness Membership is the best value. It even includes regular wellness evaluations with me to make sure that folks are keeping up with their goals and can have any specific questions answered.
We also try to create a class schedule that is conducive for busy Brooklynites. For example, we call Sundays “Self Care Sunday” at Align Brooklyn. Our Sunday schedule includes two sets of classes that are easy to take back to back: Align Ignite at 11am and Align Roll at 12 noon, and Yoga Flow at 3pm and Yoga Melt (restorative practice) at 4:30pm. These are Yin/Yang combos that cover a variety of physical and mental needs. We also offer 6:30am fitness classes every weekday, as well as 7:30pm and 8:00pm yoga classes on weekday evenings. I also offer free wellness workshops to the community on topics like posture, foam rolling and nutrition. Folks can find out about these on the workshop section of our website at www.alignbrooklyn.com.
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