The Adventure Park at Sandy Spring's 13 courses are color-coded by difficulty level, from yellow for beginners to double black diamonds for experts. They aren't ski trails, though—they're climbing challenges. More than 150 platforms adorn 5 acres of trees, which participants trek among by way of cable, wood, and rope bridges, as well as ziplines. A short safety briefing precedes all excursions, covering how to use the included gear and harnesses.
The park's main courses aren't the only place to test climbing skills. Over in the Monkey Grove, visitors can scale 10 trees fastened with the footholds and grips of a classic rock wall. Younger climbers, meanwhile, can explore The Labyrinth, a small, contained structure featuring more than 40 junior-sized versions of the park's other challenges. The courses illuminate on select Glow-in-the-Park evenings, when food, live music, and hoot-owl choruses await climbers upon their return to terra firma.
Blueberry Gardens' seasoned instructors cultivate whole-body health with a schedule of multi-level classes inspired by ParaYoga, Anusara, and body-balance methods. A composite of breath and movement, ParaYoga challenges students to prod the body's upper limits of flexibility and strength through vigorous postures such as downward dog, dolphin plank, and recumbent Andrew Carnegie. Fueled by an uplifting philosophy, Anusara yoga encourages students to honor their differences, limitations, and talents, and body-balance yoga integrates the body and mind through asanas inspired by Protean animorphs. Each 90-minute class includes mats and props and, if missed, can be substituted in any of the other summer sessions.
A love for fitness was a given in Marcy Fulmore's family. Growing up, her parents and siblings all participated in various sports, and she competed on the track and basketball court. When she pursued a degree in social work, Marcy didn't realize it would one day complement her career as a personal trainer. But at Younique Fitness, her desire to better others' lives and her certification as a personal trainer do, indeed, collide. With 15 years of experience as a personal trainer, she works with individuals of all skill levels one on one, in pairs, or in small groups, and she customizes training programs that blend her different fitness specialties—including kickboxing, jump rope, MMA, and Pilates—to help clients reach specific fitness goals.
One of Alicia Cuervo's life goals was to create a safe space where students could share the love of yoga and grow together, a goal she achieved the day she opened the doors to her yoga studio, Yin Yang Yoga Center. From this tranquil space––outfitted with a massage room, fully stocked boutique, and spacious yoga studio flooded with natural light––Cuervo and her 10 instructors guide students of all ages and experience levels through a packed fitness class schedule that features options seven days a week. The studio is kept at 75 degrees, priming bodies to move seamlessly through a sequence of Vinyasa poses. BodyFlow classes combine yoga, tai chi, and Pilates moves into choreographed exercise routines, whereas Zumba classes focus on high-energy dance routines with a Latin theme. The holistic haven also boasts acupuncture, massage, and reiki treatments.
From the bright yellow door that greets students to the dimly lit treatment rooms decorated with Eastern-influenced decor, Yin Yang Yoga Center creates a tranquil environment in its two-story establishment. Even the retail boutique exudes a sense of calm, with sunlight streaming through its large windows and over fitness apparel, equipment, and accessories.
"Our brain is designed to realize what we wish, without any minor errors," says Dahn Yoga founder Ilchi Lee, "If you want success, it will create success. If you want happiness or health, it will create them. Anything is possible, as long as negative thoughts and emotions don't interfere." To make this challenging, yet hopeful philosophy accessible to all, Lee combined the Eastern concept of chi energy with his own brain-management system, developing a distinctive program that unlocks inner peace and sweeps up brain clutter caused by the daily stress of always having to find Waldo. Warm-up yoga maneuvers awaken muscles before 30–40 minutes of breathing, stretching, core practice, and meditation—including a signature brain-wave vibration technique that aims to calibrate mental and physical energies. Cool-down exercises ease the body back into quotidian functionality before a 10-minute teatime invites socialization among participants while bolstering pinkie endurance. Dahn Yoga is also taught at independently owned and operated franchises called Body & Brain Yoga.
The inspiring trainers at each MetaBody location lead troops of workouteers in results-oriented workouts several times weekly. Sweat sessions utilize a variety of exercises and disciplines to produce full-body results in a supportive environment, ideal for beginners and hard-core core-hardeners alike. During any class, motivational instructors will use the instinctual distrust of routine to their advantage. Begin a day of litigating with a refreshing early-morning boot-camp session, or wind down by burning evidence and pounds with a late-evening yoga class. Muscles are kept guessing with new and challenging moves during each session, so participants never fall into a boring, ineffective routine, such as regular teeth brushing. In addition to the fitness classes, students receive a success guide to help prepare for imminent pound loss, a nutrition guide, and a $100 gift certificate for individual coaching. Because the pass sets a 10-class cap for each company, roving fitness mavens can further shake up their workout regimens by vetting a series of classes or instructors that work best for them.