Before she took her first yoga class in 2003, Kelly O'Connell led a very different life than she does today. According to a story by Leigh Medeiros of Seekonk-Swansea Patch, O'Connell spent her days stretching herself thin as a principal in a stock brokerage firm before she decided to try a new kind of stretching: heated yoga. Through the practice, O'Connell found herself growing not only more physically flexible, but also more mentally adaptable. She told Medeiros, "I used to get lost in my emotions, but now there’s space between me and everything else that happens in the world. In that space there’s peace.”
To share the inner harmony she had discovered, O'Connell earned her yoga-instructor certification in 2008. She went on to complete several advanced trainings, including becoming a certified yoga life coach, a certified yoga personal trainer, and an Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher (E-RYT 500) through Yoga Alliance. Today she owns and operates Yoga One, where she and her team guide adults and kids toward finding balance both in and out of the studio. They also host teacher trainings and events, including a book club, Reiki sessions, and meditation workshops featuring chocolate tastings that stimulate the mind and taste buds better than eating a haiku written in alphabet soup.
New York Sports Clubs, part of Town Sports International's network of fitness loci, opens up a number of equipment-stocked facilities across New York to exercisers. Strength-training gear, such as circuit machines, free weights, and medicine balls, molds muscles into chiseled depictions of physical might. Sessions on cardio machines, ranging from treadmills and ellipticals to upright and recumbent stationary bicycles, inspire burnt calories to pack up and move to cooler climates. Each club offers a schedule of group classes that draws from more than 100 fitness styles, including Pilates, yoga, and boxing, ensuring that no member has to jazzercise without a spotter. Each location rewards exercisers for sweating in its vicinity with special features such as babysitting, saunas, and steam rooms.
Sunlight streams through stained-glass totems inside the spacious studio at Eyes of the World Yoga. In terms of class offerings, students can exhale the exertions of the day away with slow stretching sequences and rhythmic breathing implemented during mellow yoga. Likewise, semi-limber limbs can flow through the basics of posture and alignment during a fundamentals class, which, like a cannon strapped to a rocking horse, is aimed at all levels.
In the world of mind-body wellness, Motion Center's founder, Kaeli Abrahams Sutton, is a triple threat: she boasts experience and certifications in dance, yoga, and massage therapy. Kaeli teams up with codirector, Naama Gidron, and a band of certified yoga instructors to share her passion with students through a robust schedule of classes suitable for clients that range from the true beginner to the veteran sun saluter.
Styles range from alignment- and strength-focused disciplines of lyengar and ashtanga yoga to prenatal classes that emphasize core strength and inner calm. Students can also express themselves with ropes, which they can use to support themselves while sinking into deeper postures or to pretend they have the world’s largest Twizzler. In addition to instructors who teach drop-in classes, the Motion Center staffs a small fleet of licensed massage therapists versed in modalities such as deep tissue, prenatal, and muscular therapy.
Raffa Yoga is not a standard yoga studio, which is apparent right away from its wide variety of yoga classes that range from consciousness-raising Prana flow to rockin' hip-hop yoga and trapeze-like, aerial antigravity yoga. During classes, percussionists tap out soothing drumbeats as students find their center. An oversize golden Buddha mural looks over the classroom, prompting students to contemplate spirituality and wonder if the real guy ever wanted to just take a day off work and take a nice long nap.
Raffa Yoga’s active relaxation center includes Urban Sweat, a stress retreat composed of 21 massage and treatment rooms and 6 heat-therapy rooms. The eco-friendly space soothes the senses with ingredients such as eucalyptus and yellow turmeric, which is known for its anti-inflammatory qualities.
After emerging from the studio’s Himalayan-salt grotto, guests can sip a healthy, hydrating beverage at the juice-cleanse bar. They can also browse the selection of accessories in the full-service yoga boutique.
While living at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Massachusetts, Dr. Leon Harris developed a keen appreciation for alternative healing—and he had found his calling. He enrolled at the Colorado School of Traditional Chinese Medicine where he learned Oriental medicine through acupuncture and herbology. Now within his Golden Road Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine practice, all can seek his expertise for everything from stress to digestive issues, muscular or skeletal pain, respiratory, reproductive, or emotional ailments.