Yoga Circle Downtown's instructors lead a diverse selection of athletically paced and calming yoga styles that cater to students of all skill levels. The studio’s schedule includes advanced and fundamental classes, such as Alignment & Form, where instructors demonstrate poses, emphasizing correct posture and positioning for each asana, instilling proper technique in beginning students and recently animated sculptures alike. Students in yoga flow sessions achieve a more vigorous workout by using strong breaths and athletic movements to transition from pose to pose, raising heart rates and bolstering stamina. During Kundalini yoga, instructors promote inner well-being by incorporating time for chants and calming meditation, which leaves students’ minds as centered as a hula hoop snug around an overinflated beach ball. Students gather for classes in an airy practice space with lofty ceilings and intricately painted pillars that keep the floor from floating away during class, accessorizing the room's wooden flooring with either their own yoga mats or a rental from the studio ($1).
Spa Moksha's staffers blend the benefits of medical care and spa treatments to create their method of mind-body medicine. They base it on scientific knowledge garnered by a cohort of doctors that includes Dr. Deepak Chopra. On one side of the coin, The Foundation for Mind-Body Medicine specializes in health services provided by experts in modern and integrated medicine. Based on each individual’s body chemistry, the experts design a personal treatment plan that can address maladies ranging from stress and chronic pain to diabetes, allergies, and cardiovascular disease.
On the other side of this coin resides not Abe Lincoln, Ben Franklin, or the guy who makes more money than anyone—the machinist at the US Mint—but the spa portion of Spa Moksha, which approaches wellness with medical and nonmedical spa treatments. The expert technicians employ practices that range from Ayurvedic therapy and nutrition consultations to facials, skincare, mani-pedis, and hair removal via lasers or waxing. The spa staff can also eschew the typical clinical atmosphere to treat clients with massages on the rooftop gazebo, a private space that allows patients to enjoy a relaxing massage amid the warmth of the sun and the kiss of cool breezes.
Casting beams of solar qi on spiritual soils, yogis of all skill levels develop a healthy awareness of their bodies through controlled breathing practices during Sun Ray Yoga's Iyengar or Ayurveda classes. Certified instructor Becky McCune––who has 12 years experience teaching Iyengar classes—leads intrepid students through a flowing and athletic style of yoga that emphasizes proper form and body alignment. She also teaches a slower style of the class for those with specific body soreness or physical ailments. Ayurveda teacher Liz Campbell uses her experiences as a holistic nurse to help guide limbs into poses that relieve pain in the lower back caused by day-long wheel-barrow races. Both instructors teach a five-day schedule geared toward increasing flexibility, preventing injuries, and relieving tension.
With a lineage that traces back more than 30 years to its founders' respective schools, Tiger Rock Martial Arts has grown to more than 200 locations nationwide. Tiger Rock's primary focus is tae kwon do, through which certified trainers teach youngsters the skills to defend themselves, as well as confidence and discipline. Adults can learn tae kwon do as well or encounter martial-arts moves in a calorie-torching aerobic workout. Tiger Rock also partners with sports teams to bolster their training or with corporations to get their employees up, moving, and healthy.
Bikram Yoga Birmingham acts as a stretching Sherpa, guiding students through body-harmonizing postures that utilize breathing exercises to rejuvenate muscles and promote healthier blood circulation. Experienced yogis oversee each 90-minute class and crank the thermostat to 105 degrees, helping to loosen muscles, purge bodies of harmful toxins, and keep away malicious snowmen.