Before finding her calling as a yoga instructor, Sylvia taught biology, Earth science, and general science for more than 25 years. Throughout her years in the classroom, she practiced yoga as a way to calm her mind and balance her body. In 2005, she switched gears—she trained for more than 1,000 hours and earned her E-RYT 500 certification. She specializes in Kripalu-style mindfulness yoga, which emphasizes self-acceptance and consciousness of the interplay between life and yoga. Although she primarily teaches multi-level classes, some sessions, such as chair or adaptive yoga, are intentionally geared toward those with limited mobility. At the beginning of class, she occasionally reads inspirational passages or practices levitation.
At Puh-la-teez, certified instructor Bridget Kolshak helps students fortify their cores with an arrangement of specialized Pilates equipment. Begin the pursuit of fitness with a one-hour private Reformer, Tower, or Mat session (up to a $50 value), then move on to group classes for additional power-ups and the chance to stare down fellow exercisers. Physique sculptors can carve themselves a sexier shell and solidify gooey cores with the purposeful movements of a Pilates Mat class, a 55-minute fusion of mat exercises and modern Pilates props (a $10 value). Finish off the body-trimming adventure with a 55-minute Pilates equipment class (a $20 value)—the Reformer class refines balance, core strength, and flexibility on the Stott Pilates Reformer, and the Tower class relies on the Balanced Body Pilates Springboard to challenge muscle groups with resistance training.
Krissy Blizzard has been teaching Pilates classes since the late '90s. Over the years, she's learned firsthand which exercises are most effective. At Pilates with Krissy, she helps students build toned physiques with the most effective tried-and-true routines and innovative exercises she's developed herself. She leads group classes, personal-training sessions, and Reformer classes, which are geared to flatten bellies through exercises with resistance cords.
Paddleboard Adventure leads explorers on expeditions throughout the waterways of Fort Myers?all while mounted upright on a standup paddleboard. Nature tours wind through scenic areas, some of which put groups in touch with manatees and other sea creatures. The group also capitalizes on the paddleboards sturdy base by leading yoga paddleboarding classes amid the tranquil, aquatic environments. Newbies can sign up for paddleboarding lessons, and more independent explorers can rent out their own boards for unguided expeditions.
Pro bodybuilder John Pierce wields his 20 years of personal-training experience to create an effective workout environment at New Image Fitness. Dedicated to ensuring that all of his guests reach their fitness goals, he has equipped the gym with more than 50 pieces of cardio equipment and 130 muscle-building training stations. Helming more than 30 group classes a week, he and his team help groups stay in shape during Pilates classes centered around core-strengthening routines and Ninja Challenge classes filled with kickboxing workouts and training exercises that help students determine which robed figures are just mannequins and which are furious, furious ninjas. After sweat-inducing workouts, patrons can quench their thirst and gab about the latest in muscle-shirt fashions at the onsite juice bar.
The instructors at Pilates Plus fashion themselves in the likeness of the body's core: flexible yet supportive. Owner Tammy Schulz draws on more than 800 hours of training and 35 years in the fitness industry to guide her clients through classic Pilates classes. Her daughter Traci is also on staff, though her approach to Pilates reflects her own passions for dance and yoga in its blend of music and stretching.
Having mastered hundreds of versatile Pilates exercises, these experts host group and private classes that make good use of their studio's mats, ballet barres, and mechanical bull. Though their approaches differ, an emphasis on core strength and coordination remains at the forefront of every session.