An experienced team of soul-stretching yogis guides bodies into soothing formations with a seven-day schedule of various class styles for all skill levels. Newcomers can reach a state of tranquility typically reserved for Walt Whitman's pet dove during the Slow Flow class, which unites controlled breathing, proper alignment, and meditation techniques in a balanced trifecta of peaceful bliss. Ashtanga Blend sessions throw a spiritual curve ball to shake regular students out of their normal yoga routines, exploring different posture groups during a flowing one-hour practice. Advanced students in the Power Vinyasa class submerse themselves in a sultry labyrinth of creative, challenging techniques, for which strenuous exertion and high-energy muscle movements are the keys to survival. From the moment students arrive at the center’s colorful, gated garden, they can immediately hear the soft rippling of fairies holding hoop-dance classes.
Yoga SRQ's experienced instructors lead students through creatively sequenced poses with a packed schedule of Vinyasa Flow classes. Take limbs for a test run in a Vinyasa class, which focuses on proper alignment and mastering combinations of synchronized breathing and vigorous movements, or blend cardio and yoga in the one-hour Energy In Motion session, which pairs sweat and inner peace more effectively than meditating inside an active volcano. Students can also expand yogic horizons in one of Yoga SRQ's non-Vinyasa classes, or nix sneaky stressors with Gentle Energy Yoga's soothing Hatha poses.
The Sara Dance Center’s 1,750-square-foot ballroom resounds with energetic music from a top-notch sound system as the floating wooden floor cushions the enthusiastic movements of students taking one of Kelly Atkins’s classes. Equipped with a Wellcoaches wellness-coaching certification and ACE personal-training certification, Kelly delights in creating healthy relationships between the mind and body, putting her 25 years of fitness experience to use leading workouts that boast a holistic, meditative bent. To offer students a unique, well-round approach to group exercise, she leads Nia, a low-impact, high cardio session that draw from martial arts, dance, and yoga. Kelly also helms the Bone Builder series, a seven-week class of her own design that combines weight training with core-building Pilates and meditation to strengthen the spine. Starting with the feet, the classes target and strengthen different chakras and muscle groups. Other classes include the Playshop Series, which focuses on experimental exercises and guided meditation, and the SEEDS Group Coaching Experience, which cultivates an intimate community of meditators to encourage active dialogue between the students and Kelly.
As a child, Aaron Pollard had access to one of the largest outdoor playgrounds in the world: the beaches of Hawaii. But he didn't spend much time messing around in the sand. His father taught him to surf his first wave at the age of 6 and the ocean has been part of his life ever since. Whether life guarding, surfing, or playing competitive water polo, he found more and more ways to occupy his time in the water—especially once he moved to Florida and teamed up with Karla Gore. She brought a similar love of watersports, which she discovered during her work as a marine biologist. Together, the two founded Surfit USA.
On a typical day, you can find them out with standup paddleboarders in group or private classes. Instructors lead fitness bootcamps on the beach as well as floating yoga classes and SUP classes for older athletes. In the summer, the beaches transform into a classroom for SURFit USA's kids' summer camps, which incorporate lessons in water sports and marine biology.
Though now spread over the United States, Crunch Gym started in a basement-level aerobics studio in New York City. Despite the humble location, the gym's founders aspired to foster a workout environment that would keep members exercising through entertainment and not shouting from drill-sergeant-like trainers. Their idea was to host fitness classes with offbeat touches, including hip-hop aerobics featuring a live rapper and coed action wrestling.
Twenty years later, Crunch Gym's fitness classes still stray from the beaten path. Body Web with TRX sessions suspend members from a pillar, where they complete gravity-defying maneuvers with help from strong resistance ropes. In Bosu Bootcamp, every exercise is completed on an apparatus that is part balance ball, part core board, and fully endorsed by circus seals nationwide.
Mantra specializes in Lagree Fitness workouts, which supplement Pilates with a moving piece of equipment called the Megaformer. Lagree started in Southern California, and that's where Sarasota native Kathy Maloy fell in love with it. Excited to share her discovery, Maloy brought the practice back to her hometown by founding Mantra. When the studio was featured on ABC 7 News, viewers got to see Lagree in action. A Herald-Tribune piece described its offerings as "Pilates on crack," citing an intensity that draws a celebrity clientele at Hollywood's Lagree studios. Although the workout is challenging, instructors cultivate a supportive, friendly environment.