The winner of Boston.com’s A-List for Best Fine Jewelry 2010, Karenna Maraj Jewelry dresses up drab garments with wearable art and passes along jewelry-making skills through enlightening classes. In the two-hour metalsmithing class, participants imbibe the knowledge of the jewelry gods, learning how to transform shapeless metal into beautiful bangles, pendants, and dental braces. Students shape, cut, solder, hammer, and polish two projects during the class, including a bangle and a pendant hammered from brass, copper wire, and black cord (all included, gold and silver can be purchased for an additional fee). Cutouts, stamps, and designs can be added to each piece, yielding a beautiful accessory ready to take home at the end of the class. With attendance capped at six pupils, students get plenty of one-on-one attention and the chance to fence a jewelry-saw master. Classes are held at the following times:
It was the early 1980s, and after devoting about a decade of her life to fitness, Zayna Gold felt like her body was beaten up. Over time, she began noticing that her high-intensity gym workouts were hurting her body as much as—if not more than—they were helping it. Her husband, Clark, was having the same problem. An avid weightlifter and runner, he found the physical wear and tear was starting to prevent him from maintaining his physique. Zayna recalled teaching Pilates early on in her career, and how it worked her entire body with low-impact movements. She returned to the lengthening and strengthening classes, and by 1989, she and Clark founded Boston Body Pilates.
Their mat, equipment, and barre classes each call upon low-impact stretches and resistance moves that strengthen the core, elongate muscles, and promote overall muscle tone. Zayna's signature program, Brand New Body, challenges students to complete 30 Pilates or barre classes over 2–3 months; and upon completion, they may notice significant changes to their figure. The schedule also includes spinning classes, in diverse variations such as Zen Spin and Spin Bootcamp. In any class, Zayna and her large team of instructors inspire their students to establish a mind-body connection, helping them to feel both physically and mentally stronger, much like solving a crossword puzzle carved in stone.
The instructors at Tokyo Joe's Studios/Dragon's Eye CrossFit know that each day provides new challenges—and so they train their students to face them. One way if through CrossFit classes, which use varied workouts to keep students on their toes as they build strength and endurance. Each workout is designed to prepare participants for any kind of physical exertion they might face, from lifting heavy objects to jumping over hurdles on their morning commute.
On the karate side, kids and adults train in more traditional martial arts forms that have been passed down for centuries. The kids' program focuses on discipline and building self-esteem while teaching kids how to protect themselves from bullies. Adult classes are available too, in which instructors establish basic techniques culled from a variety of disciplines, including tempo, jiujitsu, and MMA.
The consortium of professional instructors at Fred Astaire Dance Studios, which was cofounded by the legendary toe tapper himself, shepherds students of all ages and skill levels through lessons that span the style spectrum. Low-pressure private sessions allow enthusiastic teachers to fine-tune individual students' techniques and form, using their expert eyes and mechanical dancing shoes preprogrammed to do the Charleston. Patrons can learn how to cavort through classic waltz and fox-trot romps or swivel through the modern steps of salsa, swing, or samba. For dancers hoping to hoof it up in a social setting, the group practice parties provide a one-night extravaganza of instruction, demonstrations, and amateur firewalking.
To help women achieve their fitness goals, the certified personal trainers at Get In Shape For Women focus on four areas: weight training, cardio training, nutrition, and accountability. In small group sessions, trainers modify exercises to suit up to four ladies' fitness levels, beginning by calibrating strength-training sessions—such as free weights, lunges, and squats—to each client's abilities while still ensuring they are challenging themselves. Then comes high-intensity cardio interval-training sessions in which trainers encourage exercisers to achieve optimal results on the treadmill or elliptical.
The trainers supplement the group workouts with nutritional planning centered around the concept of eating six small, balanced meals six days a week. They set aside the seventh day as a "free day" for a bit of indulgence, be it eating a favorite sweet or lusting openly after bacon. To hold their women accountable, trainers talk nutrition on the floor during scheduled appointments, and the ladies' progress toward reaching their goals is measured by trainers each week.