Named by Inside Columbia magazine as the best place for yoga in 2011 and 2012, alleyCat Yoga's serene yoga sanctuary hosts daily classes for students of all ages. One of the studio's teachers, Susan Mathis, draws on the teachings of Swami Kripalu, a celebrated yogi often associated with the insightful practice known as "meditation in motion." To apply the practice, students progress through stages of relaxation, physical postures, and meditation to establish connections between the mind, body, and spirit.
The well-rounded team of certified instructors also leads classes rooted in their respective specialties, including Hatha yoga, the more intense Vinyasa tradition, and gentler yoga classes for students who've only interacted with downward-facing dogs while pet-sitting. Susan's branch of kid-friendly yoga, called Yoga to Grow, helps children as young as 20 months stretch their rapidly growing bodies and sparks imaginations with stories, games, and songs.
At One On One, clients workout in a state-of-the-art facility with access to certified trainers, a collegiate diver, a martial artist, and trainers who have competed in figure- and bodybuilding competitions. The fitness gurus can design customized plans tailored to each client’s skills as they monitor, motivate, and encourage them to reach their goals. In the gym—which is open 24 hours a day—TVs suspended from the ceilings occupy athletes as they work up a sweat on Precor and Life Fitness treadmills and elliptical machines. Strength-training machines populate the gym floor, as do free weights, an adjacent pool, and medicine balls for clients who grow sick of standard workouts. An in-house massage therapist is available to ease tense muscles and knead away stress with Swedish, deep-tissue, and hot-stone massages.
As they enter the training circle at Curves, female guests come face-to-face with the smiles of other women. And just as points on a circle share a common distance from the circle's center, workout participants share the experiences of those nearby by trading stations throughout the 30-minute training session. One minute is spent on a piece of strength-training equipment built for feminine frames and designed to work two opposing muscle groups with a single movement. Exercisers then move on to a recovery station, where they run, jog, or dance to maintain heart rates and keep platforms in place during momentary losses of gravity.
As they enter the training circuit at Curves, female guests come face-to-face with the smiles of other women. And just as points on a circle share a common distance from the circle's center, workout participants share the experiences of those nearby by trading stations throughout the 30-minute training session. Thirty seconds is spent on a piece of strength-training equipment built for feminine frames and designed to work two opposing muscle groups with a single movement. Exercisers then move on to a recovery station, where they run, jog, or dance to maintain heart rates and keep platforms in place during momentary losses of gravity.
At Element Yoga and Health Studio, a faculty composed of certified teachers displays a broad variety of specialties such as Ashtanga, Dharma, and Viniyoga?utilizing their experience to teach muscle-strengthening core classes and graceful flow classes that seamlessly transition through poses. Teachers take care to provide hands-on adjustments for each student in group classes. Vinyasa-based classes are offered daily, and, intent on cushioning prone postures, the studio provides complimentary yoga mats.
Open Studio Pilates owner and certified Pilates instructor Laura Detert combines traditional Pilates instruction with the latest in contemporary theory as she personally leads classes of up to five students through core-crunching and posture-promoting reformer workouts. Laura begins the first group session with a studio and equipment tour, covering the basics of the reformer, a versatile piece of equipment employing a sliding platform, springs, and pulleys that make it capable of 50 different exercises and fluent in eight different languages. During the next two sessions, which last approximately 50 minutes each, Laura personalizes routines as she walks pupils through a full-body workout focused on improving core muscles, flexibility, and balance. Classes are offered at convenient times to fit busy schedules, and more sessions will be added in the coming weeks.