Studio Down Low owner, clients step up to support new space

Studio Down Low owner Maggie Brazelton is passionate about helping others achieve health and wellness through physical activity. And after being displaced from her Lewis Street location, her students have become passionate about helping her find a new place to call home.

In order to help navigate the financial challenges of securing permanent new studio space, Brazelton and her students banded together to organize the Studio Down Low silent auction fundraiser. The event takes place 6-10 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5 at the Monroe Boys & Girls Club, and includes entertainment, appetizers and a wide variety of unique items available at auction.

"We have these amazing things people donated,GÇ¥ Brazelton said. "I can't even believe how cool this stuff is.GÇ¥

Items include one night of "glampingGÇ¥ from Falling Water Gardens, jewelry made by local crafters, health products, a custom-made afghan, hand-drawn art from a Disney artist, golf lessons, wood products made by skilled artisans, skin care products, gift baskets and a build-your-own Christmas tree kit. All have been donated by Brazelton's clients, local artists and business owners.

All funds raised during the event will be put toward securing a new facility.

Since being forced to move from her Lewis Street location due to complications with her landlord, Brazelton has had to improvise. She has been renting space at the East County Senior Center two days a week, so she can continue to provide her custom brand of fitness. Brazelton's classes combine strength and cardio in traditional and nontraditional ways that are adaptable to any fitness level.

"Basically, I specialize in everything out of the box,GÇ¥ Brazelton said. "It can be done at every level. Most of it is low to no impact, but it's done very technically, and in a way that you're going to see results really, really fast.GÇ¥

Brazelton's "Booty BarreGÇ¥ class is a fusion of ballet, Pilates and stretching, performed at a ballet-style barre. It incorporates high-intensity static holds along with low impact moves and stretching. Her "PiloxingGÇ¥ class uses weighted gloves to enhance a cardio workout that combines boxing, dance and Pilates, and "MixxedFitGÇ¥ is explosive dancing. -á -á

"It's like Zumba's inner-city cousin,GÇ¥ Brazelton said. "It's fun; anybody can do it. You can do it while you're unloading your dishwasher at home.GÇ¥

Not having a permanent location for the studio has been challenging, but Brazelton is accustomed to overcoming challenges. When the mother-of-three first arrived in Monroe in 2009, her husband unceremoniously abandoned her while she was inside Burger King with their children. She and her kids were suddenly plummeted into homelessness in a new city where they knew no one.

Brazelton eventually moved into a Housing Hope community in Sultan. Earlier this year, during Housing Hope's Community of Hope fundraising dinner, the organization highlighted Brazelton as an example of a Housing Hope success story.

Once she had a roof over her head, she got a job working at the Woodinville Costco, and focused on raising her children.

She also focused on her health. Brazelton has multiple sclerosis (MS), a nervous system disease that affects the brain and spinal cord. Brazelton's MS is called "relapsing-remitting,GÇ¥ which means she is occasionally stricken by flare-ups of the disease, followed by periods of remission. Flare-ups are unpredictable, and can cause irreparable damage.

Having MS, said Brazelton, is one of the reasons that she works so hard to celebrate her capabilities and maintain an intrinsic mind-body connection. It is also one of the things that inspired her to open her own fitness facility.

"If I'm not helping people I really don't feel that I have a purpose in life,GÇ¥ Brazelton said. "I can't nine-to-five it; it's just not my personality. My passion's fitness GÇô that's what I was educated in.GÇ¥

In 2011, after a severe bout of illness related to her MS, Brazelton was forced to spend two months in the hospital. As she worked to restore her health, she began to evaluate where she was in life. Her job at Costco helped pay the bills, but it wasn't fulfilling work. One day, while stuck in traffic on S.R. 522, she had an epiphany.

Ever since she was a young girl, she had wanted to own her own exercise boutique; a place where women could come together, work out, feel comfortable and become friends. She had sat in hundreds of 522 traffic jams, but that one was pivotal, she said, and she decided she would pursue her dream.

"I felt like I was given a second chance, and I wanted my kids to be proud of me,GÇ¥ Brazelton said. "I wanted my kids to see me helping people, so if anything did happen in my life where I was bound to a wheelchair or whatever, they would have that.GÇ¥

She started teaching classes at the Monroe YMCA, relocating to the Lewis Street space in late 2014. She arranged to sublease the lower portion of the building, and started building her dream studio. She would work all day, care for her kids all evening and work on improving the building at night. Studio Down Low opened its doors in February.

The studio's success was fluid and organic. Brazelton noticed that as Sky Valley residents began attending her classes, something else started to happen; the other aspect of her dream came to fruition. The environment became increasingly supportive, as her students began to encourage each other and develop friendships.

"Everybody bonded, and it just became this amazing thing,GÇ¥ Brazelton said. "It was just this intense sisterhood.GÇ¥

Brazelton's students all attest to Studio Down Low's sense of fellowship; its "esprit de corps.GÇ¥

"You have a gift Maggie. Not just as an instructor, but as a leader and mentor. You make people feel loved and accepted and that is rare,GÇ¥ wrote Studio Down Low client Amanda Fletcher in a testimonial. "Because of you, it has inspired us all to come together as a community of love and support for each other, which I know we all have so desperately needed.GÇ¥

Monroe resident Amber Mehta started attending classes at Brazelton's studio earlier this year.

"When I first started, Maggie recognized me the second time I came in,GÇ¥ Mehta said. "She would remember which classes I had tried or when I was doing a class for the first time. She does that for everyone, and I think it's really amazing because it makes it feel like you belong there immediately.GÇ¥

During the summer, Brazelton hosted a weight-loss challenge. Mehta looked forward to participating, but ended up with a sprained ankle. She was disappointed, and found she missed being in the studio. She said there was an unexpected knock on her door one night. It was Brazelton and a group of women from Studio Down Low, who stopped by to surprise her with a dance performance in her front yard to the song, "What About Your Friends,GÇ¥ by TLC. -á -á

"Maggie had organized and choreographed this to cheer me up,GÇ¥ Mehta said. "Even though I serve a lot of people and I get thanked, nothing like this had ever happened to me before, and it was one of the most special moments of my life.GÇ¥

The Monroe Boys & Girls Club is located at 261 Sky River Parkway in Monroe. For more information about the event, visit

Photos by Chris Hendrickson Maggie Brazelton and a group of Studio Down Low students demonstrating belly dancing and GÇ£MixxedFitGÇ¥ style dancing in this yearGÇÖs Monroe Fair Days Parade.


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