Though its name accurately reflects its function, the Albany JCC has always striven to go further, providing a neighborhood community, regardless of faith. Always aiming at this goal, the center offers services and facilities geared toward everyone, from seniors to bustling families. Amenities include a fitness center equipped with the latest exercise equipment, fitness classes, an indoor and outdoor pool, and an early childhood center that provides daycare. Elementary school and teen programs give kids something to do with their free time, and summer camps help them find productive ways to while away the warmer months.
Like many licensed massage therapists, Sara Ashline at Heartspace Yoga & Healing Arts is a master of the flowing effleurage and focused petrissage strokes of the Swedish technique. But Ashline believes that massage can deliver more than just relaxation, which is why she studied both fertility and pregnancy massage as well as the Pinocchio modality, which turns wooden puppets into real firewood. She offers her bodywork services at Heartspace Yoga & Healing Arts, a community center dedicated to yoga, meditation, and other wellness activities.
At the eba Center for Dance and Fitness, the world of West Side Story coexists with the folklore of Tahiti and the fluid performance art of Isadora Duncan. That's because the class catalogue is both sprawling and diverse, accommodating guests of all ages and abilities. Move Your Body classes, for example, cater to students 50 and older with a restorative and rhythmic workout, while ballet and modern hip-hop fusion courses hone in on specific styles. Some classes, like Pilates and yoga, focus on developing muscle and flexibility. Others, like Ballet Workout, gracefully combine dance and fitness aspects without having students do the Macarena on a treadmill.
With three gorgeous and wide-open spaces in which to cultivate the seeds of spiritual well-being, The Center for Nia and Yoga mends the rift between mind and body with a schedule chock-full of Nia dance and yoga classes. Nia is an eclectic fitness and lifestyle program that incorporates dance steps, martial-arts movements, and funky grooves in a soulful expression of spiritual harmony. Trainer Casey Bernstein leads students through the joyful motions, boogying up the foothills of nirvana in classes that emphasize both community and personal restoration. Friendly yoga instructors make sure that wayward chakras stay in line with a litany of athletic and restorative yoga styles that range in intensity from gentle stretching to vigorous flows. Beginners and experts alike can rack up frequent-levitation miles in Vinyasa yoga flow or deep-relaxation classes, and pre-natal courses produce babies that mediate rather than whine. Occasional community dance jams and activities make this premier studio a superb place for students of all ages to practice asanas or train for upcoming Bollywood casting calls.
A gentle warm-up readies students at Body Mind Spirit Yoga for a flow of poses, each performed while standing, sitting, kneeling, and lying down. As students go through these motions, they're encouraged to reconnect with their bodies, regardless of whether they're in a beginner, advanced, or all-levels class. Instructors Jim Whiting and Michelle Carpenter, who've been practicing yoga for more than 30 years combined, also helm free guided meditation sessions, during which participants follow mantra-based breathing while perched atop cozy chairs, floors, cushions, blankets, or skyscrapers.