The diverse team of practitioners at Eternal Balance helps to tune out the chatter of the outside world and rejuvenate the mind, body, and spirit with reiki, massage, and private yoga services. The intimate healing studio, tucked away in the Cummings Center, contains a private massage treatment room where the therapist tenderizes sore muscles and unties braided tendons with Swedish, deep-tissue, and prenatal techniques.
A nearby classroom hosts groups of students during life-enhancing workshops, such as The Art of Natural Breathing. The studio's owner, Olga, a trained reiki practitioner and yoga instructor, concludes each session with an improvised haiku to brighten each client’s aura.
Newcomers need have no fear of strain or overstretching at HotCore Yoga. Founder Peter Sklivas designed the 33-posture series to lengthen and strengthen the core while protecting the muscles from injury. Long, slow ujaya breaths help call up the body's healing faculties, and the warmth of the heated studio helps increase range of motion and free tension from the limbs. This attention to detail makes his 90-minute classes as appropriate for grandparents as they are for elite athletes or aspiring pretzel impersonators. As popular music from one of over 350 playlists fills the room, students of all levels move into ever-deeper poses, freeing the mind and fostering a sense of connection to the soul.
Despite many obvious differences, new yogis and fighter pilots share a common fear: turning upside-down for the first time. At Yoga Sakti, however, instructors have installed a yoga wall that acts as a fail-safe for students who want to practice their inversions. A system of straps and props support pupils as they attempt advanced postures or strive to overcome physical difficulties, such as back problems. An aid for beginners and experts alike, the wall also acts as a symbol of the large studio's welcoming, encouraging atmosphere.
When they aren't manning the wall, yoga instructors lead classes in a wide variety of styles, from heated Vinyasa sequences to mellow gentle-stretch sessions or even mellower Nap in Your Parked Car seminars. Variety is a major theme running through the gym's curriculum: TRX routines bookend spin classes and ballet-barre workouts or combine with kettlebell swings to form one of several combo classes. For a more meditative visit, guests can explore the onsite wellness center, where massage, acupuncture, and hypnosis therapy aim to calm the mind.
Bikram Yoga Danvers' hot yoga sessions are sweaty and intense—but that doesn't mean beginners should be intimidated. The team encourages first-timers to take breaks whenever they need to, and to consider their first class a success if they can manage to stay in the studio for the full 90 minutes. More seasoned yogis, meanwhile, set out to conquer the entire Bikram sequence, which is comprised of 26 hatha poses and two breathing exercises. The poses, often named after cute animals like rabbits and tortoises, have benefits that go way beyond cute. Some improve balance, for instance, while others massage internal organs, saving practitioners the hassle of sending their spleens to massage school.
At Reading Athletic Club, firm yet friendly trainers and modern equipment from brands such as Nautilus whip exercisers into shape. Personal trainers stage workouts in the cardio deck and weight area, packed with weight machines, treadmills, elliptical machines, and other mechanisms that foster fitness. Ladies break a sweat in the women's only section while youngsters play with babysitters. During fitness classes, instructors help boost their students’ endurance via high-energy boot camps that tighten all areas of the body or the flowing poses of yoga. After workouts, students can unwind under the soothing strokes of the center's massage therapist.
With classes in several yoga styles taught by certified instructors, Yoga Moves helps forge stronger, healthier, more flexible bodies. Hot yoga, Vinyasa, and Pranavayu yoga classes are held in a heated room to warm and relax tight muscles, which can allow for deeper stretching and toxin release while helping to protect the body from injuries to the ligaments, muscles, or proboscis. Unheated classes, such as Yin yoga, target connective tissues, promoting flexible muscles and bendable joints. Classes stress individual progress and leave the measure of success to one's own personal improvement, so yoganauts of every skill level can reap the benefits of yoga without judgment or intimidation. Students should plan to bring a sizable water bottle, a large towel, a yoga mat (or rent one for $1), and an empty stomach; click here to see a schedule of current class offerings.