As one longtime student says, "Jess doesn't care if you have three left feet." And it's probably this supportive and congenial attitude that earned her spots on Boston A-List as Best Zumba Class and RateYourBurn as one of the 10 Best Zumba Instructors for 2012. She approaches the dance-fitness hybrid sessions as a "feel-happy" workout, helping students of all experience levels feel welcome regardless of their natural rhythm. She only offers drop-in sessions, allowing students to come when it's convenient for them or when they've accidentally sleepwalked to the studio again.
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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.
Safety-trained staff man all aspects of Atlantis's clubs, whether stationed near the free weights and resistance machines or leading group classes in practices such as yoga and Pilates. Treadmills, stationary bikes, and stairmasters set pulses racing without the need to keep convincing oneself that the oven's still on at home. As high windows set indoor pools sparkling at the Braintree, Danvers, and Hyannis locations, tykes reclaim their amphibious heritage in swim classes and adults aggressively burn calories as they cradle tender joints in aqua fitness classes. Afterward, guests can put in an intensive lounging session in the steam room or sauna.
Salsa y Control's instructors—who have performed and taught across the nation—welcome students for a variety of salsa classes. Beginner salsa courses help dancers develop basic steps, techniques, and etiquette, and more advanced courses delve into refining footwork and working with partners. Salsa y Control also offers intermediate classes, along with classes on bachata, burlesque, and cha cha.