At Prana Yoga, students gather beneath the wings of swans, which float across the studio's wall toward the inspirational quote "Let the beauty of what you love be what you do." Here, such wisdom surfaces from within as minds clear and muscles strengthen. During the signature Vinyasa flow class, the temperature rises to loosen tight muscles and oust squatting toxins. Students match deep, relaxing breaths with a series of ancient poses as teachers, such as studio cofounder Carrie Herscovici, circulate the room, lighting candles and gently adjusting bodily alignment. Drawing from her training with power-yoga superstar Baron Baptiste and Indian sage Senthil Kumar, Carrie inspires her students to surmount both physical challenges and mental unrest, strengthening the body while bringing peace to the mind. In addition to leading classes, she donates 10% of the studio's profits to charity and operates a clothing boutique that helps shoppers integrate yoga into their everyday lives and bow-tie collections.
When Rick Rugg and Bob Schiffhauer founded the first Athletic Club in Buffalo in 1980, they chartered their gym around three values: service, cleanliness, and having owners operate their own facilities. True to the founders’ original vision, each of the Rochester locations' employees strive to keep their cardio and resistance equipment spic and span as they care for facilities that range of up to 30,000 square feet.
In addition to personal training, instructors lead more than 400 group fitness classes—including cycling, yoga, and Zumba—offered each week across their five locations. After workouts, guests can slip into saunas and private showers; most locations also have steam rooms, and the Perinton location has a pool. Three of the RAC locations are for women only, allowing them to workout uninhibited by the company of men or asexual mermaids.
When viewed through the wall of mirrors at Bikram Yoga Rochester, the studio's wood-paneled ceiling and walls seem to go on forever. In 105-degree heat, a team of experienced instructors leads students through intensive yoga poses that systematically engage the entire body. Students can watch themselves twist and bend during 90-minute classes selected from the studio’s schedule. The temperature of the steamy studio space is engineered to soothe muscles, loosen joints, and encourage detoxification, and provides a challenging setting for students to launch bodies into modifiable postures that accommodate all skill levels from novice to expert and even pregnant women. In addition to yoga, Bikram Yoga Rochester also employs a certified holistic health and nutrition coach, massage therapist, chiropractor, and acupuncturist.
Preparing explorers for jaunts through the waterways and paths of the historic Erie Canal, the staffers of Erie Canal Boat Company outfit visitors with bicycle, kayak, canoe, pontoon, and paddleboat rentals, as well as appropriate supplies. They lead group and private lessons, teaching tender-footed kayakers the basics of safety and stroke skills for recreational, competitive, or impress-your-favorite-seal's-mom kayaking. They also host weekly paddling clubs and races, as well as annual regattas, and stock a variety of gear at their shop to ensure pioneers are suitably appointed for paddling and pedaling excursions.
The Sandbox Indoor Playground & Consignment sends children aged 7 and younger running, rolling, and bouncing across 6,000 square feet of open play space. Colorful, imaginative doodads and structures line each wall of the center, inspiring pintsize explorers to socialize or get creative by concocting fictitious worlds or reenacting their favorite trips to the dentist. As kids venture from one themed area to the next, parents and guardians can keep tabs from anywhere in the facility or check out the new consignment shop, where lightly used clothes, baby gear, and toys help restock closets at home.
With machines set up in rows to encourage competition, many ordinary gyms cater to men's bodies and psychology, right down to the urinals that were "accidentally" installed in the women's locker room. At Curves, you'll move around a circuit of hydraulic resistance machines that have been designed to work with women's bodies and promote weight loss, protect against osteoporosis, and deal with arthritis. An experienced trainer is always nearby to help manage your machine maneuvering and your muscle making. Instead of fiddling with weight stacks and losing your momentum, the hydraulic machines use your body weight and fitness level to create resistance that matches your abilities, decreasing the risk of soreness or injury. Because traditional lift-and-lower motions create bulky muscles, each machine uses push-and-pull motions to create toned, lean muscles perfect for crushing a grapefruit without looking like you can.