Although Bikram Yoga Avondale’s classes always cycle through the same 26-pose sequence, the practice is anything but boring. The repetition gives practitioners a pretty clear point of reference when it comes to tracking their progress over time, and the addition of sweltering heat challenges even the most adroit yogi. The heat of the Bikram studio boosts the heart rate, so the sessions function as cardio workouts, and the poses stretch and strengthen every major muscle group. Some even maintain that it boosts the immune system and improves focus. Since its inception, its grab-bag of benefits has attracted the admiration of high-profile adherents such as Shirley MacLaine and President Nixon.
The instructors at Bikram Yoga Avondale infuse each lesson with their personality, adding a touch of variety. The new facility, which also offers massage services, features a state of the art heating and ventilation system, new waterproof and anti-microbial carpets, along with larger changing rooms and additional shower facilities. To keep boat-loads of fresh oxygen coursing through circulatory systems, the staff deep cleans the facility with ardor, and deploys a state-of-the-art ozone air purifier.
Inspired by the idea that getting fitness results should be fun and surprising, Imagine That! Dance and Fitness' teachers entertain and enrich clients with subjects such as Zumba, cheerleading, and tae kwon do. In that vein, instructor Monica Saldana claims Zumba classes—in which students swivel hips and incinerate calories to Latin-inspired tunes—always feel like a party, mostly due to the messy breakups staged by teenage actors. Hip-hop and break-dance classes sample other styles of music as teachers train bodies to perform their powerful, rhythm-fueled dance steps. Youth-centric Zumbatomics classes motivate kids to shed sweat like their parents, while tae-kwon-do sessions challenge them to learn discipline, focus, and self-defense.
Like a trip to the all-you-can-dance buffet, Jazzercise incorporates moves from hip-hop, yoga, Pilates, jazz dance, and air-busting kickboxing. In 60 minutes of class, participants of all ages and levels will benefit from improving their cardio, strength, and flexibility while burning off up to 500 calories and improving their chances of impressing Kevin Bacon at a celebrity dance-a-thon. Dancing with the Stars two-time champion Cheryl Burke is a big fan of Jazzercise’s improvisational workouts, but clients won’t need her encyclopedic knowledge of flashy footwork and spirit-fingered dance moves to get the most out of each class. Those prone to first-class jitters can review the basic moves before their shimmy session.
Anthony Boss didn't notice his physical health until he was 17, but once he did, he spent a year shedding nearly 50 pounds. That was when his love for fitness took hold, and he became passionate about helping others undergo his transformation. Today, he and his team of instructors lead students of all fitness levels through intense boot-camp classes designed to help boost metabolism and burn fat. Because they're dedicated to helping exercisers achieve results safely, they offer four-week boot-camp trials that slowly ramp up in intensity. This ensures that students don't take on more weight than they can handle allowing them to drop pounds, not barbells.
The instructors lead students through Bikram yoga's 26 challenging poses and two breathing exercises in a heated room, which helps purge the body of toxins and allows limbs to sink deeply into stretches. Within a studio heated to more than 100 degrees, students flow through poses that strengthen and stretch muscles, ligaments, and joints. Each posture is designed to work muscle groups needed for the next pose, building a series of interconnected movements. By temporarily decreasing blood flow to specific areas of the body, the poses send in a rush of freshly oxygenated blood to joints, organs, and limbs when yogis unfold from folds and twists, unblocking the tiny traffic jams of hemoglobin. Most yoga classes are 90 minutes long, and most studios offer flexible early morning and evening classes. Visit the individual studios' websites to see their schedules.
Named after the Sanskrit word for “community,” Sangha Yoga stays true to its title by bringing together yogis of all levels in peaceful classes six days a week. The studio’s curriculum incorporates both extremely gentle sessions and such intense rounds as the "rock my body, soothe my soul" class, which keeps sweat glands' hands full with challenging poses that strengthen the frame without overworking internal systems.