Soni Anderson has been a yoga enthusiast since infancy. As a baby in the Fiji islands, she received yoga massage from her grandmother while her grandfather danced and performed stories from ancient Hindu texts. Her village endorsed meditation and an Ayurvedic lifestyle, prompting Soni to practice her asanas alongside extended family and friends as she matured. Today, as the owner and head teacher of SoniYoga, she strives to combine her grandfather's playful mindset with the therapeutic customs of her homeland.
SoniYoga focuses on the Hatha style, though its studio also embraces restorative, Kundalini, and yin and yang postures during certain classes. A serene atmosphere of acceptance welcomes all students to challenge themselves each time they visit, whether they wish to push the boundaries of their flexibility with a more advanced pose or with a more restrictive suit of armor. Soni also channels her holistic upbringing by offering Ayurvedic counseling, products, and massage services which can help customize a wellness plan for clients based on their body types.
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.
Caryn Connarton, owner of Beyond Fitness Pilates Studio, has earned certifications in nearly every fitness fad of the last decade. Though spinning strengthened her quads and aerobics bolstered her endurance, only Pilates delivered full-body results. In her opinion, it's the best form of exercise for people who want to increase their flexibility, improve their posture, and build longer, leaner muscles. At her studio, Connarton and fellow instructors lead group classes that often incorporate several props—BOSU balls build core strength, foam rollers stretch muscles, and rubber chickens tone participants' sense of humor. Instructors also offer private and semiprivate equipment sessions and specialized workouts for specific populations.
For more than 25 years, Benjamin Stoller has shaken cocktails and perfected the foam-to-brew ratio in a pint glass. He shares his insider knowledge during fun, hands-on classes taught at the Queen's Head Pub inside Harvard's historic Memorial Hall. Courses focus on the art of mixology, or crafting inspired cocktails with balanced ratios of liquor, mixers, and paper umbrellas. They also delve into specialized skills such as how to present drinks and keep patrons safe.
Black Lotus Yoga soothes and stretches students with a selection of strength-improving, mind-clearing classes that range from Hatha flow yoga to core power. Experienced instructors heat the studio to an average of 75 degrees with 50% humidity during classes, including the fast-paced Hour of Power class that employs a rigorous Vinyasa-style routine that aims to build strength. Level 2 Iyengar yoga challenges experienced flexperts with at least six months of experience to push their earthly vessel into back bends, handstands, and mat juggling, and the Mom and Baby class gives new mothers and their tiny charges an opportunity to bond and relax together in the studio's airy cork-floored space. The weekly wind-down session encourages a calm mind and body with meditation, pensive postures, and a slideshow of the teacher's recent Hawaiian vacation.
This suite of corporeal indulgences targets and tackles the tension that too often takes up residence in the back, fingers, and foot fringe. The Elemental Nature massage ($85) offers customized earth-themed pampering, soothing torsos weary for a variety of reasons, whether from bear-hugging lonely bears or playing leapfrog with a giraffe. Summon the essence of air with Infinity and Air, a slow warming deep-tissue massage that ameliorates overworked fibers, or cool flushed flesh and muscles with a rhythmic stress-relieving Fire massage. The Water and Earth therapy style employs fast-paced, acute techniques to stimulate circulation and temporarily turn clients' minds into swimming pools.