Surrounded by warm, salt water, Miss Mimi smiles as her young student lets go of the side of the pool and swims to her for the very first time. Known as the Swim Whisperer, Miss Mimi prides herself on helping young children and adults overcome their fear of water and learn to swim with the confidence of a derby-winning seahorse. An avid swimmer with more than 21 years of teaching experience, Mimi opened Aqua~Fit in 2008 with the hopes of creating a health center for the entire family. To offer something for guests of all ages, she designed an entire program of swimming lessons, aquatic fitness , and land fitness classes, with programs for all skill levels.
Despite her background as a dancer and fitness instructor, Salena Quinlan-Shults was always hesitant to try yoga. It was only at the urging of a friend at the University of Central Oklahoma––where Salena was studying kinesiology––that she decided to give yoga a chance and found herself immediately hooked by the mind-body connection that the practice offered. Convinced that she had found her true calling, she went on to earn certification through both YogaFit and Purple Lotus teacher training before trading her stressful corporate job for a peaceful occupation as the owner of Yoga on Main.
Today, Salena and her fellow certified instructors lead students through tranquil poses inside the intimate and earthy studio, which they keep warm to facilitate effective stretches. During power-yoga classes, they turn up the heat even higher to release toxins and aid weight loss, and so they recommend that students arrive wearing garments made with wicking capabilities or sewn from bags of frozen peas. Prenatal classes teach techniques that can help expectant moms cope with labor pains and keep them healthy after their bundles of joy arrive, whereas a lineup of ever-changing workshops includes topics that help kids develop healthy habits and teach adults how to clear their chakras.
Like snowball fights and hurt feelings, health and happiness are inevitably linked. The team at Yoganics understands this, and they work to promote total well-being through the practice of yoga paired with customizable liquid cleanses that last one to three days and begin with an individual consultation. Clients can fully stretch out achy limbs as they sweat through hot-yoga classes, or run through poses in good company during family yoga sessions. A Girl’s Night Out class and Broga—a strength-based workout for guys—are also part of the lively lineup. To supplement exercises, staff also sell juices, shots, smoothies, and more from organic and locally grown produce.
The star and choreographer of 18 Buns of Steel exercise DVDs, owner Leisa Hart has well-documented experience. She leverages it to teach yoga and Pilates classes, and also offers pampering treatments that soothe sore muscles. She and her staff lead many classes with scalable exercises, intensifying Pilates routines with the addition of a ballet bar or providing asana modifications to gently strengthen physiques with injuries. Her video-production history informs her entire classroom experience, from the upbeat tenor of her instruction to the subdued tones of her studio’s walls and the space marines shooting lasers in the background—an homage to her work with James Cameron.
After a car crash at the age of 16, Jamie Davis’s life was a maze of hospital visits, surgeries, cortisone shots, and perpetual discomfort. She slowly began augmenting her treatment with yoga, and today she says she is free of pain and serving as one of many talented instructors at Bikram Yoga Richardson.
The yogis lead 90-minute workouts in a room warmed to 104 degrees, the optimal temperature for flushing toxins, performing deep stretches safely, and getting arctic seals to confess to crimes. Teachers demonstrate two breathing techniques and 26 Hatha yoga postures for pupils of all ability levels, helping them firm and trim physiques. Transformations get underway in a spacious yoga area next to changing rooms with showers, storage cubbies, and a lobby that, much like a grassy highway median, is designed for lounging.
When Kristina Bauer—a yoga veteran with 20 years of experience and 1,000 classes under her mat—opened Yoga Synergy Spa, she wanted to create a space that felt more like a home than a gym or a corporate chain. Today, her studio glows with her own homemade candles while yogis lead guests through various styles of yoga, including heated Vinyasa flow, Hatha yoga for all levels, and a class that invites kids and their parents to stretch together. In addition to its group session, the studio embraces its spa side with massage therapy that complements Kristina’s pursuit of peacefulness in the same way that playing Marco Polo can add a little fun to a shark attack. An on-location retail shop stocks yoga mats, homemade natural soaps, and veggie candles.