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Welcome to Essential Elements Health & Fitness

Experience results-oriented, lifestyle-based services and programs dedicated to optimizing health, fitness and wellness. Our approach to program design and delivery is based on the modern, applied sciences of health and fitness supported by time-tested teachings from the world’s contemplative traditions.

Laura Rooney, PhD

Laura Rooney, PhD

Founder of Essential Elements

Laura is the founder of Essential Elements, a Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee and one of the biggest proponents of lifestyle-based health, fitness and wellness you will ever meet!

Read More About Laura!

Exercise is exciting, food is fantastic, sleep is sacred and if you can ramp up, you better be able to tamp down! Resilience is REALLY important! Through the combination of scholarly study and personal practice, these are the elements that are repeatedly present and persistent for surviving and thriving. They are essential as necessary for survival, and more powerful that: in the appropriate proportions they help us thrive!

Laura earned her PhD from the University of South Carolina and Master’s degree from Arizona State University where her studies and scholarship focused on applied exercise sciences, whole-person approaches to wellness and health and human behavior. Additionally, she is a certified Medical Exercise Specialist, certified Health Coach and Group Fitness Instructor through the American Council on Exercise; a Registered Yoga Teacher (ERYT500) with Yoga Alliance; certified Functional Movement System member and recognize for her specific knowledge and skills using lifestyle elements for health as recognized by the Exercise is Medicine initiative of the American College of Sports Medicine and active membership in the Medical Fitness Network.

She combines extensive training in physical health sciences and human behavior with years of experience in the health, fitness and wellness industry to lead energetic and engaging training and education sessions. Her approach as a scholar and practitioner blends tried and true teachings from the world’s contemplative traditions with evidence-based practices in health sciences to create meaning-filled modern and accessible ways to take ownership of your health. Laura is known for her skillful exercise sequencing, course programming and ability to translate “heady” technical
content and ideas into accessible and relevant bites of information. Articulately combining knowledge, wit and vivid imagination, she creates verbal pictures and instructions that are clear and easy to follow.

Everything else she knows she has acquired through copious amounts of continuing education, personal exploration and years of experience watching, admiring and working with human bodies and minds.

Nicole Holtz, MSW, CAPSW

Nicole Holtz, MSW, CAPSW



Nicki is a teacher of modern postural yoga, meditation and awareness cultivation classes with Essential Elements Health
& Fitness. Postural yoga practice, breath and meditation are Nicki’s preferred modes of communicating with Self and connecting everything to a sense of core and center physically and mentally.

Read More About Nicki!

She is skilled in and committed to facilitating group classes and individual experiences where others can explore their own version of core and center for physical and mental health and well-being.  Her experience with these practices embodies so much of what Nicki values- integrity, community, strength and gratitude. She is continually drawn to the way her practice transcends any specific place, unblocks creative flow and generates opportunities for careful attention, self-expression and growth.

In addition to promoting overall health and well-being, Nicki is an advocate for accessible mental health services. She believes processing through dialogue, meditation and movement can be integral to the development of any treatment
plan and healing process. She earned her Master’s Degree in Social Work (MSW) from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee in 2014, her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin Madison in 2011, and
completed her initial yoga teacher training in 2018 under mentorship with Laura Rooney. Since 2014 she has directed her professional training and experience toward clinical social work, providing mental health therapy in inpatient and outpatient settings. Nicki draws from her growing range of knowledge and skills to create individual and group experiences that utilize mindful movement, basic breathing and awareness cultivation exercises rooted in foundational, alignment-focused postural yoga poses and other techniques rooted in hatha yoga traditions. She is an ardent and committed learner, and as she is ready to present her personal and professional growth in even more community offerings, you will surely be invited!