Movement is medicine for Sunyatta Amen, proprietor and head instructor at MamaSita Movement & Wellness Studio. She expresses this philosophy through an eclectic menu of group classes such as Urban Fusion Belly Dance, Zumba, and Brazilian Samba Workout. During classes, students gain confidence as they shimmy hips and undulate bellies through each 60- to 90-minute workout.
The dance floor at Roda Movements sizzles with the dance and martial-arts forms of Brazil and Latin America. In capoeira classes, students gather in a circle playing drums, the single-stringed berimbau, and the tambourine, taking turns moving to the center to perform acrobatic movements that blend sparring techniques with graceful sweeping motions of the native dance style. Brazilian jiujitsu teaches grappling techniques for fighting on the ground, and Zumba sets a calorie-blasting aerobic-dance routine to Latin rhythms. The ballroom styles of salsa teach quick-paced steps to guests dancing solo, in pairs, or with a musically inclined mop. In addition to Latin dance and martial-arts classes, patrons can build muscles while whittling their waistlines in yoga and African-dance classes. Also catering to the wee ones, kids-only versions of specific classes helped Roda Movements earn a Best of the Best award from the Takoma Voice.
The muscle tutors at Fitness Together will work with you to determine your goals (drop pounds, run a marathon, get strong enough to finally confront Douglas) and develop a customized workout plan designed to help you reach your true fitness potential. They’ll supervise your squats, offer nutritional advice, and push you until you see results. Individualized attention means it’s all about you—your trainer can point out when you’re doing a stretch incorrectly, help you tone the trouble zones, and push you to keep going when you’d otherwise quit or become distracted by the fragile beauty of a passing hummingbird.
Driven to share her passion for yoga with others, Quiet Mind Yoga’s director Rita Maximilian left her career in business development and education-policy reform to become a yoga instructor. She and her dedicated instructors guide students of all fitness levels through a variety of yoga classes—with a focus on the Iyengar and Ashtanga practices—at Columbia Heights’s first yoga studio. They help newcomers build a foundation for their practice during beginner sessions by walking pupils through standing and seated postures, and challenge more advanced students in intermediate-level Vinyasa classes that connect postures with athletic transitional movements, culminating in the secret yogi handshake. As a member of Live Green, Quiet Mind Yoga's studio provides environmentally friendly props, mats, and blankets to help students enhance their yoga practice while giving Mother Nature the day off.
High-energy beats from artists such as Flo Rida, B.o.B., and the Black Eyed Peas bounce forth from the spinning studio at Rock Creek Sports Club, where nationally certified trainers lead stationary cyclists through challenging routes. In addition to these pop-powered workouts, the studio hosts more than 50 other fitness classes, an array of options that prompted the editors of Bethesda Magazine to name the studio 2012’s Best Neighborhood Gym. Zumba classes encourage students to boogie away calories to latin beats, and boxing clinics incorporate one-on-one attention from Golden Glove winner Russell Davis. The team of trainers can also coach visitors through the weight-loss process, or helm small group workout sessions capped at eight participants. The gym also welcomes independent workouts, with equipment such as treadmills, benches, and weights awaiting a few breathless reps of their own.
When leading their classes, Meridian Yoga's certified instructors tap into backgrounds ranging from medicine to music, striving to unlock each student's potential for personal peace. They stand by a holistic approach to teaching, combining Hatha- and Vinyasa-style poses with meditation and workshops on several disciplines. That way, their students can better outline the myriad connections between their body, breath, mind, and robot control panels so that they can discover the best yoga methods for their long-term health.
Owner and studio director Valerie Grange believes that you can "discover your true self through the healing power of a regular yoga practice and mind-body holistic therapies." She created Buddha B Yoga as a place where students of all experience levels can further their mental and physical well-being. Along with a team of diverse and experienced instructors, she leads students through various styles of yoga on the sunny studio's gleaming bamboo floors. In Vinyasa classes, students link continuous, flowing postures with the deep-breathing Ujjayi technique, or turn stiff muscles into pliable play-doh during Yin and Yang yoga's sun salutations.
The studio offers wellness services in addition to classes, soothing stressed ligaments with massage, acupuncture, and reiki sessions. Demonstrating their passion for the earth, the staff promotes veganism and hosts workshops to raise funds to help rescue animals and spirit animals in need.