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At Dharma Yoga’s recently erected, 2,400-square-foot studio, flickering candlelight gives the earth-tone hues and gleaming hardwood floors an inviting glow. Like stumbling into a lounge-singer convention, the studio’s comforting vibes relax the mind with calming music as the band of certified instructors gently guides students of all experience levels through a series of healing physical postures. Though classes vary in style—ranging from vigorous early-bird Vinyasa flow to relaxing end-of-day Dharma nightcaps—each session explores traditional Indian yoga and Buddhist practices, referring to itself as an "awareness-based mindfulness and relaxation practice." Between the original Dharma Yoga and the new Dharma Yoga East Side, students can choose from 50 weekly classes, held throughout the day.
In the course of more than a decade of teaching and practicing yoga, Dharma Yoga founder Keith Kachtick, an Austin native, has served as the senior instructor with the Lineage Project, a nonprofit that offers meditation and yoga practice to prisoners in the New York City area. Keith has also contributed his yogic philosophies to publications such as Yoga Journal, Newsweek, and the New York Times. His codirector, Camilla, has a master’s degree in social work and a background as a clinical therapist. These experiences fuel her nurturing teaching style, especially in yoga-therapy sessions, which are designed to help to release physical, emotional, and mental tension.
Since its founding in 1980, Sun & Ski Sports has remained true to its philosophy: “do a few things, but do them better than anybody else.” The shop stocks equipment in five categories of extreme and outdoor activities, including camping, skating, running, bicycling, and water and snow sports. It specializes in these to ensure its merchandise maintains a high standard of quality, and its employees are knowledgeable participants in the sports their department represents.
Bikers can drop off their steeds for tune-ups from certified mechanics who put all brands through the rigors of a 12-point inspection, checking chains and adjusting wobbly pedals and malfunctioning spoke-card motors. While waiting, curious eyes might linger on a North Face two-person tent, a Blackburn Airtower bicycle pump, or a vast selection of shoes from brands such as New Balance and Asics. Men and women can traipse nearly barefoot in the park with Vibram FiveFingers, which offer minimal structural encumbrances for a more natural stride, or cast their feet aside for the new-wheeled prowess that comes with a Fuji SL-1 LE Ultegra performance road bike.
Growing up in El Paso near Hueco Tanks led Austin Rock Gym owner Troy Wilson to view rock climbing as a way of life. In order to open his own facility he merged his experience running youth climbing programs and gyms with that of his wife and coowner Erica—a Houston native who has spent years scaling New Mexico's rocky ridges. Specializing in bouldering, belaying, and lead climbing, the duo brings mountain terrain indoors at two Austin area locations. The north Austin gym's 30-foot bouldering wall and colorful climbing routes challenge visitors to traverse steep angles, and its top-rope routes let belayed crag clingers scale to the perfect yodeling height. At the south Austin gym, sculpted, 30-foot textured walls loom over a 10,000-square-foot facility, in which climbers can belay, practice lead climbing, or conquer a bouldering cave.
Veteran climbers at each location teach classes and private lessons for rookie rockers 4 and older. In addition to bouldering, lead climbing, and belaying classes, instructors lead women's only sessions and Powerhouse courses that focus on strengthening the body's core. Troy and Tracy's team of experts also guides groups to outdoor climbing venues and lugs a portable rock wall to construction workers no longer challenged by ladders.
Although Stewart Yaros has performed with numerous elite companies, including the Boston Ballet and the Basel Ballet in Switzerland, his true passion is teaching dance. Teaching allowed the University of Massachusetts and Martha Mahr School of Ballet alumnus to combine his finely honed dance expertise and his zeal for communicating with others via the "common language" of dance in particular and the arts in general.
That theme of unity and togetherness dates back to the early days of Dance International, circa 1991, when the now bustling center for dance tutoring consisted of three students, their devoted teacher, and an old player piano that played Chopsticks. Today, the organization has swelled into a hub for upbeat, accessible instruction from professional-level teachers and is well-known for organizing the Austin Ballroom Festival.
Part of the guiding vision for Dance International is a focus on community service, as well as promoting the arts by introducing music and visual forms into the dance milieu. True to its multidisciplinary ambitions, the Dance International empire recently achieved 501(c)3 national nonprofit status and will soon add art and music classes.
Three-time Masters Champion Jimmy Demaret states, “I simply followed the natural features of the land” to explain the genesis of his brainchild, the Onion Creek Club. Here 18 holes of championship golf—designed by course architects Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore—sprawl alongside tennis courts and a clubhouse with a fitness center and junior-Olympic-size swimming pool. The par-70 course’s claim to fame is having hosted the inaugural Senior PGA event in 1978, four years after the greens’ bermuda grass first whimpered under cleated feet. Its signature third hole invites golfers to play aggressively with their drivers in order to vault orbs onto a landing strip guarded by trees and a creek, or to grip their irons and aim for a narrow green that has notoriously uncommunicative air-traffic controllers.
In addition to the course and its accompanying driving range with 30 hitting stations, Onion Creek Club invites racket-wielders to take advantage of lighted hard and clay tennis courts. The clubhouse’s fitness center challenges muscles with Cybex strength machines, and its junior-Olympic-size pool allows 9 irons to slip into their bikinis and go for a splash.
Housed within an office space that was originally built to be a house, BJ Myers Cosmetic & Family Dentistry fully embraces the cozy, inviting spirit of its homespun setting. Dr. William Myers, Jr. and his team of hygienists and clinical assistants do everything they can to put patients at ease. Seven of the practice's treatment rooms feature overhead televisions and noise-canceling headphones, allowing visitors to relax and enjoy music or a movie while the team examines and cares for their teeth.
Additionally, Dr. Myers hopes to reassure patients by using the latest advancements in dental technology as he and his staff perform preventive, cosmetic, and reconstructive procedures. Digital x-ray systems provide a clearer look at structural issues beneath the gum line, and the office's CEREC technology rapidly produces ceramic fixtures onsite, so the team can more effectively treat signs of damage in a single visit. This combination of advanced technology and compassionate care allows Dr. Myers to protect his patients' smiles by preventing the spread of decay or disease, using crowns, implants, onlays, fillings, or veneers to conceal signs of damage—or applying in-office teeth-whitening treatments to leave incisors and molars as stain-free as the hand towels in dish-detergent commercials.
Chi Chi Randolph has choreographed routines for hip-hop artists including Nelly and the Black Eyed Peas. Kari Lehman has 15 years of ballet training experience. Viviane Bressan turned her love of belly dance into a career, traversing the globe while teaching and performing the ancient art. At Dance Austin Studio, these three number among more than a dozen dance instructors whose dazzlingly diverse backgrounds enable an array of classes for everyone from preschoolers to grownups and fitness buffs to serious students of dance.
Zumba combines fast-paced cardio choreography with dynamic Latin rhythms, and the 18-and-older Sexy Stiletto Fit class uses high heels to tone calves and build confidence. Students can choose to learn fundamental positions, steps, and vocabulary during structured ballet, lyrical, and jazz programs, or they can develop video-ready swagger during hip-hop classes. The studio’s sense of fun occasionally spills out into the community—it recently teamed up with the city’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management to spark a flash mob at city hall, held to raise awareness of emergency preparedness and help officials practice what to do if invaded by dancing aliens.
The majority of Total Wellness Austin's treatments are customized to meet the needs of each individual, and they all help to strengthen the relationship between mind and body. Owner Lori Massad-Koska sets the tone by developing individualized yoga programs for her clients that assist in lowering stress and improving flexibility, and a series of online instruction videos allows her students to practice in the comfort of their home or their car on the commute to work. Massad-Koska's classes also incorporate furry best friends in Doga sessions, which allow pooches and their pet humans to stretch together.
In addition to sun salutations, Total Wellness Austin aids its clients in the quest for better health with acupuncture, massage, and chiropractic care and prompt extended sweating with boot camps led by certified personal trainers. Their focus on wellness extends from clients to the community in which they live: mental-health workshops raise donations for the family room at the Travis County courthouse, which helps comfort children in trouble, and a band of skilled instructors teach free yoga sessions for vets, their spouses, and bands of migrating penguins.
"If you can see how beautiful your culture is," China Smith told Austin360, "you can see how beautiful you are." After eight years of teaching dance in East Austin schools, China realized how few opportunities there were to expose students to black art, something she believes is vital to the self-empowerment of her young students. This realization led her to found Ballet Afrique, a performing ensemble and dance studio that blends classical ballet and modern dance with African American culture. Ballet Afrique's team of artists aim to enrich the lives of performers, audiences, and students alike under the belief that expressive movement "transcends race, gender, and socio-economic backgrounds."
In addition to their performances and lectures, the rhythmically inclined dancers also teach classes from their tranquil studio, drawing in pupils of all ages and experience levels. Young twinkle toes learn the fundamentals of ballet, modern, and African dance, and an all-male tap dancing class for ages 9–17 encourages bonding, mentorship, and new ways to communicate with the downstairs neighbors.
Mann Eye Institute and Laser Center's specialists demonstrate a skill and efficacy that earned their work a nod from Goldline Research which named the center one of the country's leading LASIK providers for three years in a row. People and cyclopes from all across the nation come for treatment from proficient doctors and certified surgeons, who use FDA-approved Allegretto Wavelight lasers to correct vision. Before the procedure, patients must undergo a complimentary consultation to determine their candidacy and favorite tunes to blast on the stereo during the procedure. During the blade-free procedure, a certified surgeon reshapes the cornea to match the patient's specific prescription. Patients can expect to return to their normal tasks the day after the procedure and swing by the center a week later for a brief post-op checkup and eye-strengthening Magic Eye book. Click here for additional FAQs, medical disclosures, and candid photographs of Cyclops at the laundromat.
After Robert B. Meiser, DDS retired from dentistry, Dr. Jayashree Kyatam took over Austin Primary Dental, renovating the space by adding state-of-the-art equipment, fixtures, and furniture. It's all part of her plan to create a warm, welcoming environment where patients can expect the latest in industry techniques. Dr. Kyatam graduated from the Boston University's Goldman School of Dental Medicine, then visited and fell in love with the city of Austin in 2005. She has since attended numerous continuing-education courses to further hone her skills, becoming an expert in treatments such as the Six Month Smiles braces system and shot- and drill-free Lumineers.
Always considering her patients' comfort and convenience, Dr. Kyatam offers early-morning and lunchtime appointments and is committed to a same-day dental-emergency policy. Her treatment rooms are illuminated by an abundance of natural light and a chairside television, which allows guests to show off their healthy smiles by pretending to answer news anchors' interview questions.
Inner Diva gets ladies safely twirling with a staff of certified personal trainers and professional dancers during dance-fitness classes that tone bodies and transform cores into upper-body powerhouses. Ranging from beginner to advanced, pole-dancing classes build balance, control, and core strength as ladies move through choreographed spins and hoist themselves aloft with gripping moves. Other classes sacrifice the pole but none of the sultry steps by encouraging ladies to dress up in their favorite pair of heels or ankle-length Victorian bathing suits for choreographed burlesque or hip-hop sessions.
The practice space also rents out the studio for 90-minute private parties. Along the hardwood floor and its outcropping of 10 poles, revelers celebrate everything from birthdays to girls' night out. Instructors lead a class of your choice, and every attendee, just like every successfully appointed Supreme Court justice, gets a free feathered boa.
Most runners simply want to cross the finish line of their first marathon. Steve Sisson wanted Austin’s runners to set loftier goals, so he created Rogue Running and hired a staff of experienced and decorated coaches. Steve himself is tribute to what drive can accomplish: he was a three-time all-American cross-country and track runner at the University of Texas, and is currently the assistant coach for the women’s track-and-field team.
His vision is to pass on that sense of discipline as well as advanced running techniques in a training program tailored according to how hard runners want to work, rather than how frequently they’ve spotted Jesse Owens in the supermarket. Using this method, the Rogue crew has readied runners for everything from 5K races and marathons to triathlons and trail runs. One of Steve’s ultimate goals is to create a thriving running community. To this end, Rogue Running has trained more than 10,000 runners of varying skill levels, and opened retail stores that outfit the community with athletic apparel and running shoes.
Kirsch Method likely wasn’t voted Best Acupuncture Service of 2012 in Austin Fit Magazine solely because it can help treat digestive disorders, headaches, and spinal maladies. That’s what every acupuncture clinic should be able to do. What makes Kirsch Method different is that its therapist, Matthew Kirsch, is not interested in inserting needles and then leaving the patient alone for 90 minutes. He believes in fully treating a patient, which is why he stays in the room and performs craniosacral therapy while the needles work on realigning energies. This alleviates tension in the fascia surrounding spine.
Kirsch started performing the complementary treatments during the 1,000-hour clinic portion of his acupuncture training, part of the more than 3,000 hours he's spent earning his master’s degree in Oriental Medicine. He also learned to administer acupressure, a massage style that focuses on the same energy meridians as acupuncture but eschews needles, much like a porcupine who wants to soften his tough-guy image.
Del Sol Martials Arts & Fitness began not in a sweaty gym where young athletes learned to love exercise, though that is a chapter in its story. Its true origin lies in a kindergarten classroom where Thomas Leverett and Claudia Castro first met. The pair attended every year of school together, eventually celebrating when Thomas earned the title of Sifu and began his own Mantis-style kung fu school, and again when Claudia became a certified yogi. She joined him to start teaching, and together their family reached out to others to train them in fitness, discipline, healthy lifestyles, and 20-year courtships.
Today, students flock to their gym to study Northern Shaolin Seven Star Praying Mantis–style kung fu, a lineage for which Sifu Leverett is an official guardian. Claudia guides students through the equally ancient traditions of Ashtanga- and Vinyasa-style yoga. The duo even offers private cooking classes to teach how to create delicious, healthy meals or light stovetop burners simply by lifting up another stove and placing its already lit burners on them.