Above all else, Bikram Yoga emphasizes personal growth and development—not competition and comparison. That means newcomers are welcome to attend alongside experienced practitioners. Although the sessions at Bikram Yoga St. Louis may seem like a more physical challenge at first, the goal is for students to recognize and strengthen the connection that exists between the mind, body, and spirit. This progress does bolster physical fitness, but also creates a restorative and relaxing experience.
Every 90-minute session consists of the exact same sequence of two breathing exercises and 26 standing and seated asanas. These physically demanding postures use deep bends and twists to work muscle groups and organ systems throughout the body, pushing oxygenated blood where it's needed most and building strength and stamina. If you're having trouble with any pose, that's no problem: the instructors can recommend slight modifications. For more advice, visit the studio's website.
The instructors heat the practice space to sweat-inducing levels for each class, increasing circulation and aiding in the release of toxins. In addition to loosening tight muscles—which allows students to sink deeper into each stretch—this heat also has profound mental benefits. The extra challenge encourages attendees to focus on each posture's alignment and orientation while learning how to accept the heat, concentrate on breathing, and practice a calmer mental state. After class, separate changing rooms with showers are available for those looking to refresh themselves.
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While teaching jazz dance in the 1960s, Judi Sheppard Missett decided to step away from tradition by offering an experimental class that allowed her students to simply dance without the judgment of mirrors or the constraints of rigid technique. In these sessions, she began infusing popular dance moves with specific fitness workouts to forge a distinctive blend of cardio exercise, strength training, and dance instruction. Little did she know that this “just for fun” class was the prototype for what would become the national fitness sensation known as Jazzercise.
Today, Jazzercise takes its aerobic techniques from a variety of sources that include jazz dance, hip-hop, resistance training, Pilates, yoga, and kickboxing. The class formats, which vary according to different toning goals, are just as diverse as the program's move set. Two-time Dancing with the Stars champion Cheryl Burke is a big fan of the improvisational routines, although her advanced skills aren't needed to get the most out of classes. Instructors cultivate a noncompetitive atmosphere where all exercisers—with the exception of those marked as cursed by jazz-hand palm readers—are welcome regardless of age, build, or fitness background.
Equipment: Yoga mats, yoga towels, headbands, retail for hot yoga
Students should bring: Mat, large towel, and water. These items are available to rent/purchase
Average class length: 60–90 minutes
Number of Staff: 1–5 people
Class location: Indoors only
Registration required: No
Good for beginners: Yes
Guests allowed: Yes
Parking: Parking lot
Pro Tip: Please arrive 15–20 minutes prior to class.
Exercise is challenging, and people frequently give up on their fitness routines. How do you keep clients motivated?
We have upbeat music, great teachers, [and] positive attitudes in a fun environment. We also encourage our students to take breaks and listen to their bodies throughout class. Your body changes each and every day.
What is the biggest mistake you see people make when trying to get fit on their own?
Pushing themselves too much when sometimes less is more. Doing the pose correctly gains more benefit then competing with the person next to you.
When and how did you first develop a passion for fitness?
Both business partners (Melissa and Emily) have always loved fitness. It wasn't until we found Sumits Hot yoga that fitness "changed" our lives and it became a lifestyle for us. We learned to mentally clear our head, shut the mind off for 80 minutes, relax, breath, tone, detoxify, cleanse, and nourish our body in a whole different way. When you take care of YOU, you can give back to everyone else in your life with more peace, patience, gratitude, and love.
Is there anything else you want to add that we didn't cover?
Sumits Hot Yoga attracts all types of people. Young, old, male, female, athletes, and non-fitness people. Everyone comes to their mat for a different reason, that's the beauty of yoga. Some people want to just de-stress and turn the mind off and lay down most of the class, while others want a very hard workout so they push themselves a little more.
The Women's Weight Loss Retreat brings women together for two days of support, discussion, and education to tackle the emotions and nutritional habits that lead to weight gain. Lectures from weight-loss strategist and St. Louis Boot Camp founder Johnny King inspire guests to latch on to self-acceptance and inner peace, which he believes is the foundation of lasting change. Next, Fox 2 News’s nutritional spokesperson and registered dietician Jennifer McDaniel steps in to fill mental toolboxes with new strategies for healthier eating, which may include training an army of bees to snatch away junk food. In addition to a supportive group atmosphere and professional advice, visitors receive two books on nutrition and a 65-page workbook that outlines the weekend’s work and lays out steps toward success after the seminar ends.
As a mother, certified personal trainer, and owner of more than one business, Kelly Porter doesn't the buy the "I'm too busy to exercise" excuse. Nevertheless, she makes it easy for her clients at PureFitness-STL to schedule a group class or private session, fitting workouts into morning and lunchtime slots. Her boot camps cater to visitors of all backgrounds with modifiable moves and a nonjudgmental vibe, which stresses the value of teamwork, partner drills, and squats that turn into trust falls. Kelly changes the routines daily to activate all of the body's muscles, but refrains from badgering her students. Though she provides the key ingredient of accountability, she insists that her patrons hit health milestones for themselves, not for her.
Studios thrum and pulse with the rhythm of ballroom, Latin, swing, and other types of dance music as students master new choreography using owner Darcie Star's signature Danceology method. Star presents the building blocks to successful steps in both group classes and private lessons, often recommending practice in both forms so pupils gain the benefits of personalized instruction and social interactions. Additionally, the feather-footed pro can choreograph wedding dances, dance shows, and new routines for state senators looking to spice up filibusters. Classes and events take place at three locations in Chesterfield, Bridgeton, and Manchester.