"Torture chambers"—that's how many students of Bikram Yoga would describe the studios where they practice their craft. It's an apropos name for places set at a blazing 105 degrees that feature students twisting their bodies into 26 yoga postures. However, these hatha-inspired positions heal rather than hurt; as students flow through the therapeutic positions, the simmering heat soothes away chronic aches, boosts flexibility, and encourages everything from increased circulation to healthier lymphatic flow.
After finding that her yoga practice helped her overcome her own personal health issues and depression, studio founder, macrobiotic chef, and certified instructor Barbara Ruzansky maintains a passion for introducing “yoga and healthful eating to people, so they can continue to grow and reach their full potential.” Held within a warehouse-like studio with two technicolored practice spaces, Barbara's classes offer a dynamic combination of Ashtanga yoga, Vinyasa flow, and Forrest yoga. She and her large team of equally passionate instructors also helm a selection of slower and gentler yoga styles that cater to three-toed sloths and students recovering from injuries.
The personal trainers at Big Sky Fitness cut frustration from the range of emotions their clients experience. That's because their X-factor coaching is grounded in science, ensuring that exercisers reach their goals if they stick to the regimen. Group fitness classes act as a helpful add-on to the personal-training sessions, as do nutritious shakes from the Shake Bar.
Newington Yoga Center is a warm, welcoming health hub offering a variety of classes ($15 each) to students of all ages, skill sets, and salutation styles. If you are a yoga newbie, get acclimated with traditional poses and breathing techniques in a Yoga for Beginners class, or for a more specialized workout, attend a Yoga for Abs and Lower Back class, featuring poses that strengthen the core, improve abdominal organ function, and add a polish to your six-pack of muscle beers. Stressed-out students can relax and recharge in low-impact restorative yoga classes, or escape during 75 minutes of guided meditation in a Yoga Nidra class.
An octopus graphic greets visitors at the doorway of Downtown Yoga Studios. It's an appropriate image: the mollusk holds a meditative quality as its eight arms flow outward with a strong yet relaxed energy. Downtown's instructors help guests attain a similar state of serenity and fitness with multiple styles and levels of yoga, such as Go with the Flow, Relax and Renew, and Power Yoga. They also lead fitness classes that include cycling, boxing, and chicken chasing.
Bikram Yoga Glastonbury's band of yoga instructors guides students of all abilities through the 26-posture practice. Students begin the 90-minute workout with a deep-breathing exercise before moving into a sequence of standing and seated postures designed to improve strength, flexibility, and balance. Balmy temperatures help students sink into deep stretches, eliminate harmful toxins from the body, and keep confrontational snowmen at bay. Though challenging, students of all experience and fitness levels can tailor the poses to meet their needs, with the idea that through dedicated practice, students may see a decrease in weight, improved sleep, and greater flexibility.