Olympia Fencing Center founder and coach Daniel Hondor started his swordplay career with dreams of earning a spot among the Three Musketeers. Enthralled by the adventures of the trio, 7-year-old Daniel picked up his first rapier, beginning an association with fencing that would eventually take him around the world as a member of Romania’s national team. Eventually, after years of international dueling, he set down the sword and took up the mantle of coach, teaching the Romanian junior team techniques he’d learned throughout his career. The Olympics in Atlanta finally brought him to America, where he continues to share the art of fencing with students of all experience levels. He and his fellow instructors lead adult programs that help veteran swordsmen sharpen their skills and introduce novices to the sport’s intricacies. In homage to his childhood inspiration, he also hosts Musketeers classes that acquaint kiddies aged 6–10 with basic rules and moves, preparing them for future classes and eventual careers as knights of the realm.
Caryn Connarton, owner of Beyond Fitness Pilates Studio, has earned certifications in nearly every fitness fad of the last decade. Though spinning strengthened her quads and aerobics bolstered her endurance, only Pilates delivered full-body results. In her opinion, it's the best form of exercise for people who want to increase their flexibility, improve their posture, and build longer, leaner muscles. At her studio, Connarton and fellow instructors lead group classes that often incorporate several props—BOSU balls build core strength, foam rollers stretch muscles, and rubber chickens tone participants' sense of humor. Instructors also offer private and semiprivate equipment sessions and specialized workouts for specific populations.
Dappled light plays over the sleek 3,500-square-foot fitness studio, illuminating cardio and weight machines as guests toil alongside their attentive trainers. Verdant foliage sways in the breeze just outside the floor-to-ceiling windows that ring around the gym. Patrons torch calories and chisel physiques on new equipment, and a variety of classes, massage services, and dietary counseling keeps members relaxed and healthy in and out of the gym. Groups can also mosey outdoors for one-hour group fitness classes that tone muscles under the lush canopy of tree cover shading the deck. Pilates and yoga strengthen and lengthen muscles, and Zumba and Power Dance classes liquidate loitering fat reserves with high-energy cardio workouts set to lively soundtracks.
Soni Anderson has been a yoga enthusiast since infancy. As a baby in the Fiji islands, she received yoga massage from her grandmother while her grandfather danced and performed stories from ancient Hindu texts. Her village endorsed meditation and an Ayurvedic lifestyle, prompting Soni to practice her asanas alongside extended family and friends as she matured. Today, as the owner and head teacher of SoniYoga, she strives to combine her grandfather's playful mindset with the therapeutic customs of her homeland.
SoniYoga focuses on the Hatha style, though its studio also embraces restorative, Kundalini, and yin and yang postures during certain classes. A serene atmosphere of acceptance welcomes all students to challenge themselves each time they visit, whether they wish to push the boundaries of their flexibility with a more advanced pose or with a more restrictive suit of armor. Soni also channels her holistic upbringing by offering Ayurvedic counseling, products, and massage services which can help customize a wellness plan for clients based on their body types.
Baron Baptiste's signature brand of yoga has transformed lives. It has optimized the performance of the Philadelphia Eagles and empowered impoverished youth in Nairobi. It has lifted the spirits of war veterans and counseled gang members in Los Angeles. On a day-to-day basis, it has improved the physical health and mental acuity of Bostonians, who can practice the discipline under the tutelage of Baron Baptiste himself.
At his eponymous studios in Brookline and Cambridge, Baptiste joins a team of instructors who promulgate his teachings through classes, teacher-training programs, and workshops. Classes take place in 90-degree studios that boost detoxification and flexibility. In addition to fitness-centric classes, the studio offers guided meditation classes that establish the focus and clarity of mind required to read the entire Gutenberg Bible while riding a rollercoaster.
Life's A Bead's jewelery artisans align disparate baubles to forge unique pieces of wearable glam using a variety of techniques. The class calendar indicates the required level of expertise and necessary supplies for each session, including a list of beads available for purchase from the store's inventory and the locations of telephone poles from which to cut wire. Jewelry-forging duos can acquire skills in a variety of bead-entwining techniques, such as wirework, stitched jewelry, crocheted bracelets, and epoxy sculpting with a material called Crystal Clay. While this Groupon does not cover the cost of materials, customers receive 20% off materials purchased for class projects. The value of this Groupon can also be applied toward classes where materials are included; customers will receive $15 off the cost of each class.