Bikram Yoga Danbury's instructors have mastered Bikram yoga, which pairs 105-degree rooms with the body stretching and contorting of typical yoga. Bikram yogis lovingly call their rooms “Torture Chambers,” due to the sweltering temperature and the 26 muscle-testing, seated, standing, and levitating poses that comprise each class session. The studio schedules morning sessions as early as 6:30 a.m. and fills its evenings with pulse-elevating classes and calming silent fireworks displays. Though the studio rents out yoga mats and towels and sells bottled water, the instructors advise students prepare for class by hydrating thoroughly and bringing along their own mat to allow for appropriate bonding between yogi and sticky mat. Check the FAQ for more info.
Winner of more than 100 mixed-martial-arts competitions, Tiger Schulmann shares his pride and love for fighting and self-defense with both adults and children in gyms across five states. From first-time grapplers to expert muay thai fighters, students of all fitness and experience levels are welcome to dive into a class at Schulmann’s. At more than 47 locations, adults can take classes in kickboxing, MMA, and jujitsu—the last of which instills students with the skill and confidence to take down opponents of any size, strength, or telekinetic ability. Kids, meanwhile, can learn martial arts for fun, or gain useful experience in bully prevention; the kids’ classes help victims immediately identify and safely diffuse situations when pitted against an aggressor.
At Formfitting Fitness, certified personal trainer Kaysa and her all-female staff carve out space for women to exercise. More often than not, that space is in the air. The studio's fitness classes include pole dancing, aerial hoops, and suspension yoga, a form of yoga that is performed in a hammock. Complementing the group lessons, the staff schedules personal training, nutritional counseling, and themed parties that teach attendees how to lap dance, belly dance, or pole dance.
Kickboxing classes deliver a knee to the face of fat, burning up to 860 calories an hour with the high-energy striking moves of martial arts and boxing. All four limbs get in on the bag-bludgeoning action at iLoveKickboxing as each class provides a full-body workout that tones arm, leg, and tentacle muscles while tightening the body’s core and improving balance. Hitting the heavy bags won't skin your knuckles once you don the included boxing gloves, which also double as excellent spring-loaded props for re-creating Three Stooges gags. Class times and dates vary based on location. Click here for the Danbury location's schedule.
Positive Energy fuses fun, fitness, and femininity into sultry workouts for all skill levels. Owner and instructor Joni O. Lowe uses her pole-dancing expertise to craft a variety of classes run by fellow qualified wigglevixens. Find strength in five of Positive Energy's intimate, all-female classes, including belly-dance fusion, booty shaker, and Zumba, which mixes high-tempo Latin tunes and a zesty aerobic workout into a spicy, toned salsa. Learn to out-twirl firefighter friends as you wrap your head and body around the basics of pole dancing in an introductory teaser class. With low lighting and a moratorium on mirrors in the pole dance studio, Positive Energy's studio provides a supportive environment for women to feel comfortable flirting with fitness. Be sure to check out the FAQ page for more information.
Academy of Fighting Arts instructor and 5th-degree black-belt Clinton Murphy can shatter several objects with his bare hands, from coconuts to concrete blocks. It's a skill known as "breaking," and Murphy claims that it's just as mental as it is physical. This and other martial-arts skills have led to appearances on ESPN2, The Late Show with David Letterman, and the Discovery Channel.
At Academy of Fighting Arts, he teaches his students how to hone their own mental focus and martial-arts techniques, emphasizing good form and discipline over brute strength—just as he does when he's preparing to break 14 slabs of concrete in a stack.
When teaching a class, Murphy's martial arts style of choice is American-Filipino Kun Tao. This mix of pressure-point strikes, grappling, and joint-lock throws is ideal for close-quarters fighting. Murphy covers these maneuvers as well as escrima, or stick-fighting, in his adult sessions, whereas kids' classes focus more on teamwork and basic drills. He also hosts four-week self-defense seminars for women, which demonstrate how to effectively escape and subdue an assailant.