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story.lead_photo.caption Photo submitted Andrea Blair is passionate about helping others. She recently left behind a corporate job to pursue her love for helping people with yoga and fitness. She and her husband Tony have opened SWMO Yoga & Fitness Center in Neosho. They also plan to continue holding classes in Anderson.

Andrea Blair is trading in her corporate office for a yoga mat. The fitness and yoga guru, known to many in McDonald County, has decided to pursue her true calling to help others.

She's left behind a career in human resources to launch SWMO Yoga & Fitness Center. Along with that, Blair is embarking on a journey to become a licensed massage therapist.

"After 20 some years in the corporate world, I knew it was no longer my road," she said.

"I took a leap of faith. It's in God. I want to help people feel better. I truly love what I'm doing."

Blair and her husband Tony are actively involved in the community. They began fitness classes six years ago in Anderson. Their battle cry? Get moving. You're not too young or too old. Try some type of class and see what you think.

Those messages still hold true today. The new fitness center, based in Neosho, offers a variety of classes from gentle yoga to a more intense regime.

Gentle flow yoga -- to chair yoga for those with a knee or hip replacement -- can help people of all physical abilities. Someone who is confined to a wheelchair can even do the chair yoga, Blair said.

The fitness center, next to Griffith Motors in Neosho, features three instructors: a woman originally from Thailand, one from Goodman and one from Japan.

Intense yoga with weight sculpting, Tony's boot camp fitness, Refit Revolution and Hot Yoga classes are just some of the offerings.

Classes are held Monday through Friday at various times, with a half-day offering on Saturday. The Blairs also continue to offer classes in Anderson as well.

"This is where we started over six years ago," Andrea said. "We want to continue and help where we live and grow every day."

The Neosho center draws both McDonald and Newton county neighbors. Students, teachers and male clients are finding the center helpful, Andrea said. The response has been great, with some people taking classes every day. The fitness center recently offered a plan that featured 30 days of unlimited classes for $30. With that plan, some clients experimented with different classes to see what best fits their needs, she explained.

One lady, in particular, has attended almost every day since July 1. As a teacher getting ready for school, she went to her closet to see what clothes might work. To her surprise, she was able to fit into clothes that she hadn't been able to wear in two years.

"It felt like a new wardrobe to her," Andrea said.

In addition to becoming better fit and helping with weight loss, the classes help others unplug, de-stress and improve flexibility.

That's why the Blairs are so passionate about helping others.

Andrea is looking forward to reaching out to an expanded circle of clients, bringing calm and peace to others. Her massage therapy instructors have given her permission to practice her newfound knowledge outside of class, so she has been able to practice on several people. That, in itself, has proven she's headed down the right path.

"People have been so complimentary. It warms my heart."

As more classes continue to unfold, the Blairs hope to introduce a new program centered around "mindfulness." One of their instructors has experience in the "Rainbow Kid" program, which helps children and youth focus on calming and centering themselves during anxious times at school, during tests or other scenarios.

The Blairs are interested in partnering with the Neosho and the McDonald County school systems to introduce that program.

For now, the Blairs are encouraged by the type of responses they are hearing. Andrea believes more and more people are interested in finding ways to work out the stress of everyday life.

"It's fun hearing, 'We want to sweat!'"

General News on 08/01/2019

Print Headline: Blairs Expand Fitness, Yoga Classes With New Center

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