In the sunlight that streams in through the floor-to-ceiling windows at pH7 Pilates, students bend and fold into challenging positions, all for the health of their body. Expert instructors meander through the group, adjusting postures and doling out encouragement as the students feel their core muscles working. These students are practicing a classic form of Pilates, using their body weight, Reformer machines, or giant pet parrots as resistance. The classes offer challenges for all skill levels, and include mat Pilates classes, yoga classes, and jump board cardio classes.
When Annie Prasad Freedom opened Samadhi Center for Yoga in 2002, she envisioned a small operation where people could feel empowered while deepening their yoga practice. She achieved the second goal, but Samadhi has been anything but small: it has served more than 250,000 individuals since opening its doors.
Despite the center's growth, Annie and her team of instructors maintain a close-knit community atmosphere that yogis of all experience levels can appreciate. That's due in large part to a diverse selection of classes open to students of all levels, not just those who can bend themselves through the crack under the studio door. That sense of welcome continues beyond the mat as well—Samadhi also hosts The Neurosculpting Institute, where instructors teach meditation classes with the goal of helping students make positive changes in their lives.
After completing years of training, earning their certifications, and memorizing more than 500 Pilates movements, aspiring instructors still aren't ready for recruitment at Vita Movement. Owner Patricia A. Robinson looks for one other crucial quality on potential résumés: adaptability. She and her highly trained staff members distinguish their teaching from rote instruction by making personal adjustments for each client. These modifications can be minute or broad, and cater to different fitness levels as well as conditions such as injury or pregnancy. In fact, Patricia specializes in pre- and postnatal workouts, regimens that have been featured on 9 News for their ability to reduce the physical stresses of motherhood. No matter the course, instructors keep a careful eye on their pupils' progress, displaying the keen attention to anatomical detail that helped them win the award for Best Pilates Studio on the 2011 Denver A-List.
The studio keeps its sessions intimate to better tailor its lessons. Reformers by Balanced Body line the brightly lit space, vying for attention with Wunda Chairs and other equipment in addition to a supply of mats, bands, and rollers. The machinery helps tone and strengthen bodies’ "powerhouse," or core, relying on springs for resistance as students stretch into adapted Pilates motions. In addition to Pilates courses, such as jump-board and Reformer classes, students can partake in TRX suspension training and indoor cycling. Pilates Vita also acts as a boutique gym, granting members full access to the all equipment as well as three genie wishes that don’t involve flying or the ability to eat 12 wedding cakes without getting sick.
With a schedule of classes including Sunny Side Up and Not-So-Rushed-Hour, The Yoga Mat cultivates a welcoming, playful environment for yogis of all levels. Seasoned instructors link breath and movement in Vinyasa classes and focus on alignment and anatomy in classes influenced by Iyengar. Classes begin as early as 6:30 a.m. and as late as 7 p.m. on weekdays. On Saturday afternoons, the studio's Made You a Mix-Tape class combines yoga with the energetic sounds of Arcade Fire, Michael Jackson, and golden retrievers.
Walking through the front doors and taking in Pilate's Aligned's soaring ceilings, graceful curves, and exposed brick walls, clients feel rejuvenated. The sight of light spilling onto hardwood floors and Pilates Reformer equipment says everything: this is a place to reshape your body. At this traditional Pilates studio, certified instructors lead members of all skill levels through mat and reformer classes, helping them to sculpt long, lean muscles, build core strength, and move with the fluid grace of a roller blading gazelle.
Besides building a fitter body, Pilates classes can play a significant role in injury rehabilitation. No one knows this better than Pilates Aligned founder Cara Resser. The former NYU dance student first came to Pilates while recovering from a broken back. Over the course of two years, Cara practiced Pilates under the guidance of Kathy Standford Grant, a former disciple of Joseph Pilates who was once an injured dancer herself. It was through Kathy's gentle guidance that Cara regained the lost core strength and alignment she needed to continue her dance career, and ultimately inspired her to teach Pilates in addition to her work teaching dance and movement studies at Naropa University.