Few professionals can credit Flashdance with rerouting the course of their career. In fact, Richard Giorla could be the only one. The unconventional dance moves he saw in the film motivated the former Pennsylvania Ballet Company member to hit the streets of his new home, Manhattan, and learn breakdancing from dancers at the heart of the movement, trading his own dance expertise as payment. Richard’s career was in full swing when, struck with an injury, he started teaching a ballet-barre class. Though he appreciated its stretching and toning components, Richard craved a more aerobic workout. So he created his own solution—Cardio Barre. The unique workout consists of high-energy, zero-impact movements that sculpt the long, slender body of a dancer without a student ever having to step foot in a traditional dance studio. As they balance on the ballet barre, or whichever classmate is closest, pupils direct all their focus to one muscle group at a time, while the entire body stays in motion for maximum fat burning. His approach’s pudge-busting abilities have made the fitness method a favorite of many health magazines and celebrities Allyson and Rob Carrier have always dreamed of owning their own business— so when Allyson started taking Cardio Barre classes, Rob took note as he saw her body change and heard her talk about how great she felt because of the class. When they moved to Costa Mesa in 2010, they decided to bring Cardio Barre to Orange County with their own studio.
Guided by a mission of embracing every student's quest for personal growth, the team at YogaWorks offers programs for all ages and walks of life. Harnessing a minimum of 500 hours of Yoga Alliance training, expert instructors build lean muscles with traditional Ashtanga, Iyengar, and Vinyasa flow classes enhanced by inspiring music, ambient candlelight, meditation, and props. Their fitness classes further the body-shaping results of yoga, strengthening core muscles with Pilates, increasing endurance and lean muscles with TRX classes, and building stamina with resistance-based SculptWorks.
Instructors also host exotic yoga retreats, which marry the excitement of travel to far-away locales with the benefits of yoga to bestow students with the confident grace required to approach a foreign yoga mat without startling it. Those in search of further training can access online videos by subscribing to myyogaworks.com, which offers a free, 14-day trial for new users. Students can search for videos by workout duration, skill level, and the targeted area of the body.
When Sheila Kelley broke into the fitness scene, fitness pole-dancing classes were unheard of. However, in just a few years, the S Factor—her unique fusion of yoga, ballet, Pilates, and striptease—became renowned for its physical benefits and confidence-boosting ability. Due to this focus on both mind and body, the S Factor garnered widespread acclaim, with endorsements from Oprah, Ellen DeGeneres, and Martha Stewart. The workout's mission is clear: engendering female empowerment, confidence, and respect through sultry pole dancing. The S Factor's healthful impact on its students' bodies can be attributed to its combination of diverse workout methods, all of which build lean muscle mass. The course's six levels build on one another, relying on stretches, pole work, and traditional dance to get students twirling around the pole safely regardless of their athletic experience.
Before yoga was a household activity and people meditated to guard their minds from computers' thought-control beams, Yoga Center of California was already teaching students a rigidly traditional yet relaxed approach to yoga. Within the center—established more than four decades ago—instructors who have all trained for at least five years under internationally renowned guru Ramakrishna Ananda demonstrate time-honored poses and emphasize meditation techniques from each yogic style to help students find the technique that suits them best. These professors of flexibility also guard pupils against strain as they find each group's comfort zone, showing them how to relax a pose and modify positions to match skill levels. In each class, such as Hatha, Chinese, or prenatal yoga, two instructors introduce the philosophy of yoga while training participants in asanas and meditation. Yoga Center of California also teaches children in specialized classes.
Filled with radiant heat and eco-friendly furnishings, Ra Yoga's quartet of practice spaces emanates warmth, calm, and a pervasive sense of well-being. Here, a team of instructors leads more than a dozen classes designed to strengthen the body and center the mind. They offer a range of different yoga styles—including restorative Yin, flow-centric Vinyasa, and more rigorous hot yoga flow—with and without added heat meant to foster detoxification and keep out nosey penguins. They also helm Little Ra-Scals classes to help youngsters aged 4 to 13 cultivate concentration, motor skills, and a lifelong love of whimsy during an hour of playful poses.
To melt any remaining stress after class, students may unwind in the studio's showers or socialize in its cozy lounge. Parents may also leave kids aged 6 months to 9 years in the care of an experienced babysitter during most of the studio's midmorning classes.
The instructors of Pole Fitness Xpress distinguish themselves by teaching the V-Fit system, their own brand of pole-dance fitness that integrates the sensuality of Venezuelan rhythms into calorie-burning moves. Hosted at Dance Asylum, classes lead ladies of all fitness levels and dance abilities through floor and pole routines that build strength, endurance, and coordination. Beyond using V-Fit to help women attain more sculpted physiques, instructors strive to leave students feeling better about themselves and more confident in their physical expression.
Pole Fitness Xpress’ dance-based trainers also lead the MommyFit program, which helps new moms get their mojo back in a private, supportive atmosphere. Additionally, the staff coordinates pole-dancing parties to enliven special events such as bachelorette nights and pancake breakfasts.