When Roald Dahl wrote Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, he imagined a much-coveted golden ticket that granted access to myriad wonders and unveiled the inner workings of an entire industry. Adele Fridman, founder of MetaBody, created a real-life version of that ticket with her MetaBody Yoga & Fitness Pass, though it applies to fitness instead of candy. The pass grants access not to a single gym but to classes at a variety of local studios, specializing in everything from yoga to boot camp. With the freedom to move from location to location, students can sample different regimens, instructors, and styles of exercise to cobble together a program that fits their needs and goals. MetaBody's nutritionists supplement class packages by coaching clients in healthy eating, recipe cooking, and speed-reading nutrition-fact labels.
Inside the spotless studio celebrating its 11th year of providing instruction, the heat swirls around the students of Bikram Yoga Rockville, lending to a warm, dynamic setting as they bend and pose. Each 90-minute session sends students flowing through a set of 26 postures, lead by the guidance of a certified, experienced, and nurturing instructor and wise words carved into the floor by previous students. The instructor provides students with comprehensive instructions for each pose—one building on the next to strengthen all the muscle groups—while offering corrections or modifications so all levels can practice together. Mats and towels are available for rental should students not have their own.
While some may view yoga as an effective way to mock the movements of household pets, Thrive Yoga's instructors delve into the art form’s fitness, spiritual, and meditative aspects. A stone pathway snakes through lush foliage growing from walls and decorative rocks, leading the way to a studio with spacious open ceilings and hand-painted artwork on the walls. Here, more than 40 classes and weekly workshops are taught by a staff well versed in making hands-on adjustments to individualize the experience for their students. Studio owner Susan Bowen leads a team of more than 20 instructors, each of whom bring their own expertise and backgrounds to bare as they teach.
In addition to traditional Hatha, Vinyasa flow, and hot-yoga sessions, instructors lead specialized workshops in styles such as prenatal yoga. Another specialty class, aerial yoga, employs the use of silk hammocks to suspend limbs from the floor, which is safer than tying dental floss around a light fixture and hoping for the best. The studio even offers teacher-certification training and engages small private parties with a yoga lesson, meditation, and Reiki healing. Thrive also maintains a boutique of yoga supplements such as mats, props, DVDs, books, and clothing.
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.
After another back-bleeding day at the leech farm, your body will be ready for a relaxing tune-up. Today's Groupon to Awaken Wellness gets you a customized 90-minute massage for $55, a $110 value. Retreat to the serene studio for an appointment Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. or Friday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The cozy lounge is outfitted with oversized armchairs, and peaceful therapy rooms will keep you feeling calm with warm lighting and natural colors.