Shawn Sanders—one-fifth of a quintet of instructors trained in burlesque, Egyptian belly dance, and group fitness—helps women foster physical fitness and self-confidence through flirty exercise classes. In her bubblegum-hued studio, dancers teach women of all ages and builds the sensual signature pole moves that build long, lean muscles from torsos to toes. Students leery of performing elevated spins can pop into Zumba dance classes infused with latin music, where easy-to-follow steps burn calories and prepare guests for impromptu office dance parties. Pole Passion Fitness also hosts special pole-dancing events where women practice tantalizing routines in the company of their best friends, perfect for bachelorette parties or girls' nights out.
As the founder of Samadhi Yoga Center, Denise Alick leads by example, drawing on her own experiences practicing yoga for more than a decade. She and her staff of instructors guide adults and children alike through expert and introductory classes, from slow-flow yoga sessions that introduce first-time students to the basics of breath and movement to more involved Vinyasa flow classes. At the center's retail shop, yogis can pick up new mats, bags, and instructional DVDs that were recorded live in Samadhi's studio, free from the distracting celebrity cameos found in Hollywood yoga videos.
The Yoga Path begins relaxing students from the moment they enter the cozy studio carefully decorated to evoke a feeling of calm, from a framed ohm symbol to a bronze Buddha statue to the flickering candles that highlight golden walls. Yogis of all skill levels can find suitable styles on the studio’s six-day schedule, which includes gentle basic sessions where instructors ease newbies into yoga practice by walking them through therapeutic postures to induce a deep state of meditation. Students in sunrise yoga sessions ease muscles with muscle-waking stretches to prepare bodies and minds for the day ahead. All of the studio’s instructors boast extensive years of training and yoga practice, and many hold several championship limbo belts.
Founder Stacy Pillera, who holds fitness certifications through the AFAA and Madd Dog Athletics and a BA from Oakland University, removes daunting gym arenas from the workout equation with her group- and personal-training services. Stacy holds small boot-camp classes in the First Baptist Church's Fellowship Hall, encouraging campers to heft medicine balls and dumbbells to the beats of motivational music. She can also travel to area homes for private sessions, toting along all of the necessary equipment and cancelling the uncertainty associated with complex exercise machines and surprise locker-room labyrinths. Throughout her programs, Stacy ensures that she is completely accessible to clients through e-mail, online networks, and phone calls, readily responding to all health and nutrition queries.
Fitzone for Women’s 14 locations across Florida, Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan beckon ladies of all ages and fitness levels to sweat side-by-side during supportive group classes and workouts. Each location hosts 20-minute circuit-training sessions that incorporate Nautilus machines, which increase weight in 1-pound increments, rather than the traditional 10 pounds. Fitness professionals work hand-in-hand with members to design a personalized workout plan, while group classes get bodies in shape with high-energy sessions of Zumba, strength training, kickboxing, and running away from a giant boulder rolling downhill. Fitzone for Women’s specially designed windows simultaneously let in sunlight and block views into studio from the outside, and its locker rooms have private dressing stations for an extra ounce of comfort.
The Dance Studio's instructors start by building a foundation. Teaching ballet and tap to students as young as 3, they instill solid techniques into students' muscle memories, setting them up to build on these skills throughout their lives. Teachers nurture a welcoming, noncompetitive environment, and are selected both for their dance prowess and their ability to serve as role models to their young charges. Locations in both Grand Blanc and Clio ensure that dancers have two places to practice their tour jetés or accidentally forget their tutus.