On the last Saturday of each month, Robin Soll hosts a free yoga session, open to all. The gesture is typical of Robin, a certified instructor who has been blending her passion for yoga and her community since the 1970s. To encourage her neighbors to practice yoga, she also conducts custom sessions at homes and offices around the area, as well as demonstrations for businesses where employees can learn stress-management techniques that don’t involve ripping the photocopier in half with their bare hands.
Robin leads more in-depth classes at her Marlton studio, where she practices eight yoga styles, one of which relies on a combination of moves from yoga and Pilates. She introduces students to 26 fundamental poses during slow-paced Gentle Yoga sessions, while her faster Power Yoga courses plow through various movements and stretches. She also integrates blankets, blocks, and straps to meditative sessions where poses are held for long periods of time.
Hot yoga doesn't just help practitioners lose weight, increase flexibility, and tone muscles. It also helps them heal from life-threatening injuries. Bhakti Yoga South Jersey owner Ed Gergler is proof of that. After a near-fatal car crash, Gergler discovered hot yoga, which helped him treat his chronic back pain without surgery. It was so effective that he switched careers from a construction pipe worker to a yoga teacher and studio owner. Now he and his staff lead students through heated yoga classes that strengthen their cores and help them achieve peaceful mindsets. The teachers even offer up tips to new students, encouraging them to drink plenty of water, keep an open mind, and not breathe directly into other students' faces.
The professional staff and certified personal trainers at Optimal Sport Health Club, a popular chain of boutique fitness centers in Philadelphia, want to help their clients get into the best shape of their lives. The facilities have everything members need to reach their workout goals, whether they want to build lean muscle, lose weight, or simply get stronger.
Here, clients can work out with the cardio and strength-training equipment or head over to the group fitness studio to take classes in everything from Pilates to step class to yoga. Personal trainers are on hand for those looking to ramp up their fitness routines.
The teaching staff at The Sanctuary for Yoga fosters physical and spiritual well-being with yoga classes for kids and adults. The studio’s eclectic schedule explores a range of yoga styles, such as Hatha and Vinyasa, connecting minds and bodies without an inch of duct tape. For yoga newbies and yogis who’ve been on a break, beginner’s classes focus on structural alignment and the basics of yoga postures, imparting breathing-exercise techniques, modifications of basic poses, and other yogic building blocks. Vinyasa flow sessions create a dynamic moving meditation by leading students through a progression of poses, transitioning from one asana to the next with careful, balance-challenging movements and breath work to clear the mind of clutter. Instead of bolstering backs with glowing recommendation letters, yogalates classes fortify spines and torsos with yoga poses and the signature isometrics of Pilates.
One gym can hardly contain Master Solomon Brenner's martial-arts expertise, which is why his school—Action Karate—has expanded to 13 different locations. Brenner believes that the martial arts are a lifelong pursuit, so he takes on students aged 3–93.
His classes for kids blend fitness with self-discipline, whereas his classes for adults focus on toning exercises and self-defense. Not all of his classes involve combat; some dedicate entire hours to pure strength training or cool-pose striking. He and his staff also host birthday parties for kids, which include fun martial-arts instruction, games, and a ceremonial slicing of birthday cake with a samurai sword.
At the age of 4, Josh Gannone got his first taste of wrestling. His father thought the sport might be more captivating for his son, who previously had fallen asleep during a karate class. After being beaten up for the entire first session, Josh went on to win a state title in his youth, wrestle for the Team New Jersey for a select time before college, and begin coaching after graduating. Today, he teaches his first love, wrestling, alongside newer passions: Jiu Jitsu, MMA, and circuit training.
Laureen Mikos was barely walking before she started tapping, stepping, and swinging. At age five, she discovered a love of dance, studying jazz, ballet, tap, and modern dance styles before most people grow out of their baby feet. Over the years, her repertoire expanded to include hiphop and bellydancing, as well as Zumba dance fitness.
At Shakin' It Up Dance and Fitness Center, she leads a team of personal trainers, dancers, and fitness instructors to impart choreographed wisdom in dance and exercise classes. The center's curriculum introduces guests to ballroom and jazz dance as well as more upbeat options, such as Zumba fitness classes set to a soundtrack of Latin tunes.