The instructors at The Body Center don't view Pilates as a simple exercise trend—instead, they conduct classes as interactive seminars on human anatomy. They teach clients how to train certain muscle groups by identifying and coaxing them through specific movement patterns designed to increase strength and flexibility at the same time. Ultimately, they try to instill in their students an enhanced sense of bodily awareness, one that informs walks down the street just as much as it does stretches on the mat.
Because physiques differ depending on build, lifestyle, and how often they were pinched as babies, The Body Center's curriculum is appropriately broad. Class themes range from Reformer and mat Pilates to TRX suspension training and High Intensity Interval Training classes. These subsets are also divided by skill level. Beginners derive comfort from the company of other trainees, while intermediate and advanced classes pursue communal challenges. Specialized lessons can focus on specific body parts, sports performance, or the use of props, and modifications throughout every course cater to individual fitness levels.
The staff keeps classes small in the interest of personalization. Mat classes accept up to 10 students, and Reformer classes won't admit more than 6. Private and duet sessions allow for even more focused attention, as instructors won't be distracted by the loud popping of several emerging six-packs.
The staff at Good Vibrations aren't salespeople—they're SESAs, or Sex Educator-Sales Associates. The title was invented by the store to reflect not only the rigorous training that the employees go through, but also the open and empowering attitude that they project. They encourage questions about the stock of romantic accouterments, and dispense safe, respectful advice on enhancing erotic play. For the SESAs, knowledge is a stepping stone to pleasure. They've even employed the same sexologist and historian—Dr. Carol Queen—for more than 20 years to host a regular "Ask the Doctors" class.
Above all, the staff keeps a warm and welcoming shop—a characteristic that automatically distinguished Good Vibrations from its counterparts when it opened in 1977, an era when most adult shops were dimly lit and guarded by demons. Extending the positive, forward-thinking ethos beyond the shop's walls, the company has committed to environmentally friendly wares with its Ecorotic collection of natural lubricants—as well as eco-friendly packaging. The shop is also stocked with candles, costumes, and lingerie with the Oakland, Berkeley, and San Francisco locations carrying their largest supply of nightwear.
What began 24 years ago as a sports bar with five TVs and a massive satellite dish has blossomed into a mecca for fans of Boston sports teams and lovers of hearty pub fare. Visitors to Coolidge Corner Clubhouse watch year-round hockey, baseball, pro and college football, and basketball on 25 LCD screens while feasting on 16-ounce burgers, savory pastas, and tender morsels of barbecue pork, chicken, and shrimp. Patrons also sip frosty craft beers on draft or potent cocktails and martinis as they share plates of chicken wings and nachos, or piled-high deli sandwiches and wraps.
A light-hearted celebration of Boston sportsdom permeates the restaurant, with its burgers and wraps named for famous athletes and the multiple screens showing area college and professional games. On the walls, framed photos commemorate Boston's proudest sports moments, such as a floor-to-ceiling print of Adam Vinatieri's famous 45-yard kick during the “Snow Bowl” and an iconic photograph of Ted Williams defending his graduate thesis, “On Hitting the Baseball Really, Really Hard to Make It Go Pretty Far.”
East Coast Divers whisks experienced divers to picturesque spots dotting the shorelines north of Boston, from Cathedral Rocks and Pebble Beach in Rockport to Lane's Cove and Stage Fort Park in Gloucester. But before participants can tag along on the scuba outfit's trips, they need to learn the skills. That's where East Coast Divers's faculty comes in. Comprised of professional divers, the staff puts their experience to use during an array of classes. Discover Scuba teaches students the basics during a one-hour pool session, and the refresher course can revive a rusty diver's skills. Technical diving instills safety fundamentals, and open water certifications ready divers for underwater explorations in the ocean or playing the dolphin understudy at the local aquarium.
Baron Baptiste's signature brand of yoga has transformed lives. It has optimized the performance of the Philadelphia Eagles and empowered impoverished youth in Nairobi. It has lifted the spirits of war veterans and counseled gang members in Los Angeles. On a day-to-day basis, it has improved the physical health and mental acuity of Bostonians, who can practice the discipline under the tutelage of Baron Baptiste himself.
At his eponymous studios in Brookline and Cambridge, Baptiste joins a team of instructors who promulgate his teachings through classes, teacher-training programs, and workshops. Classes take place in 90-degree studios that boost detoxification and flexibility. In addition to fitness-centric classes, the studio offers guided meditation classes that establish the focus and clarity of mind required to read the entire Gutenberg Bible while riding a rollercoaster.
Since ancient times, Thai students, fighters, and artists have performed the wai kru ritual to honor the teachers who make their study possible. Composed of everyone from Navy boxers to championship jujitsu fighters, the staff of martial-arts instructors at Wai Kru gym knows the value of experience. Kru John, for instance, has traveled to Japan, Brazil, and Thailand to hone his muay thai kickboxing expertise, attending more than 20 training camps throughout Asia and earning a certification from the Thai government.
Training guests as diverse as beginning boxers and professional MMA fighters, both of Wai Kru's locations bolster training regimens with cardio machines, weights, and open mat space. Each gym also sports a boxing ring and a 24-foot octagon, so shaped to avoid having to vacuum peanut shells from a 90-degree corner.