Though its name may conjure fantasies about sprinting down crowded streets or bench-pressing buses stalled in traffic, Urban Active Fitness grants its members abundant space in which to spread out and follow their workout proclivities. At dozens of locations across the Midwest and South, members can sculpt their bodies in whichever manner they choose—from personal training with resistance machines and free weights to group classes in cycling, Zumba, and Pilates. A number of group classes draw on the gym’s urban theme for inspiration. Urban Iron, for example, focuses on building muscles that resemble the cast-iron beams of skyscrapers, and Urban Yoga closely imitates the poses necessary to squeeze onto a subway train at rush hour.
More than 2,000 hours and counting. That's how long Jayne Cardell, the owner of Blyss Studio, has been practicing and teaching yoga. Her expertise comes in handy at her homey yoga studio, where she and her team of instructors schedule Vinyasa and Hatha yoga classes and build personal yoga cabanas from yoga blocks and mats. To help alleviate any muscle aches that may result from the workouts, Blyss also offers massage therapy.
In the heart of Cincinnati’s business district, work ends and play begins. Here, at The Yoga Bar, bodies and minds bask in a vibe that’s both festive and calming, like a piñata brimming with ocean waves. Helmed by Rachel Roberts—an instructor who has trained in India, Bali, and Europe—this studio explores international yoga traditions such as Ashtanga, Vinyasa, and Yin. Teeming with bends, balances, and other physical challenges, classes fill students with energy rather than draining it away. Healthful beverages such as kombucha and coconut water flow from a mahogany bar, hydrating drinkers as they take on ancient yoga poses and modern, Pilates-inspired movements. On Friday nights, classes blossom into yoga socials where live music, tarot-card readings, and fashion trunk shows punctuate deep-breathing exercises. In addition to shepherding students toward metaphysical wellness during group and private sessions, Rachel leads yoga retreats in exotic settings such as Bali’s beaches and the moon’s bowling alleys. Between classes and retreats, Rachel makes mantra-inspired jewelry and serves as a community ambassador for Lululemon Athletica.
Cydney Rabe has always loved the boost in strength and flexibility that Pilates afforded her, but it was a car accident that made her realize the important mind-body connection it also fosters. This realization came when she managed to completely heal her resulting shoulder injury through Pilates. At Core a Movement Studio, she follows the teachings of Joseph Pilates while harnessing the latest workout equipment—including Pilates Reformers, springboards, and Exo-chairs—to amplify each core-sculpting workout by pumping up resistance. And she keeps her Pilates and Corealign classes between 3 and 10 students to ensure that everyone receives personal attention as they strive to improve their posture and carve out fitter frames.
Students gather in Clear Wellness's practice spaces in small groups, focusing all attention on their instructor, who bends and curves limbs gracefully while demonstrating exercises with enormous muscle-toning potential, enhancing every gesture with directions to guide attendees' movements. Each workout blends elements from different disciplines, including Vinyasa- and Iyengar-style yoga, Pilates, TRX suspension training, and reiki, creating hybrid workouts demanding vigorous physical exertion and sharp mental focus. By limiting each class's attendance to four students, instructors can monitor every individual's form and posture, providing slight hands-on adjustments to correct any missteps. Outside of the practice room, staff members stock the shelves with TZone skincare products, which help to reverse the signs of aging with antioxidant-rich balms, collagen-building formulas, and millions of microscopic babies to fill pores.
The experienced team of instructors lead both novices and seasoned yogis through sequences of poses in Hot 60 or 75-minute sessions or creative Yoga Flow with Music courses. In addition to yoga, the studio hosts Pilates, Cycle Alive, and BarreAlive workouts. The studio holds 51 classes per week, 15 of which are for beginners.