The glow of candlelight fills the room, falling on the studio's hardwood floors and warming the saffron-colored walls. The subdued atmosphere enhances the benefits of the Vinyasa yoga class, helping students let go of the day as they focus on their breath and the journey between poses.
At Breathe N Flow Yoga, instructors strive to make every class a welcoming place for practitioners of all experience and age levels. In addition to candlelight Vinyasa yoga, they lead more than 10 styles, including gentle restorative yoga, prenatal yoga, kids' yoga, and Yin yoga, which focuses on joint flexibility and releasing energy blockages.
Community yoga invites all ages and skill levels to pay-what-you-can classes that benefit a different nonprofit each month. Breathe N Flow is also a Yoga Alliance–accredited yoga-teacher training center, helping professionals deepen their own personal practice and introducing them to specialty practices.
A subtle heat spreads throughout Fuel the Soul, distinct from the scorching air at hot-yoga studios that warm the room with thermostats. The muscle-melting energy seeps into muscles, coaxing tension away. This brand of heat comes from a system that emits infrared rays, capable of penetrating deeper into tissues and detoxifying patrons while they move through classic yoga poses. Co-owner Greg Fine explains to Patch.com, "Exercising … in an infrared heated sauna can help you burn calories much faster." The heat emanates from lamps that, according to Greg, are identical to those used by surgeons in neonatal hospital units and fast-food line-cooks in NASA space vessels. Customers can reap the heat's benefits, which include a faster metabolism and easier healing, whether they’re attending yoga classes or simply steeping in the far-infrared sauna.
Another offering as unusual as a cat and dog that only fight about who loves the other more is the Gyrotonic workout, "a unique method that uses movements found in swimming, yoga, and tai chi and helps improve strength, flexibility, balance, and coordination." Greg—who studied under Juliu Horvath, the Romanian dancer and exile who developed the exercise to recover after tearing his Achilles tendon and rupturing a few spinal disks—teaches the technique to students of all fitness levels and ages, whether they’re recovering from injuries or courting greater flexibility.
At CrossFit Strong Island, a collection of fitness specialists, athletes, and coaches lead training programs within a sprawling 7,500-square-foot strength and conditioning facility. Their programs combine weightlifting, gymnastics, and high-intensity cardio exercise for an efficient overall-fitness routine. Additionally, each program is held in a group setting for extra camaraderie and social support.
Members of Synergy Fitness Clubs thrive on choice. Choice of location? There are nine. Choice of activity? Instructors lead classes in almost any form of exercise imaginable, such as power sculpt, full-body circuits, and intense cycling. To make sure that members are making the choices that will help reach their fitness goals the fastest, the clubs are staffed with more than 100 lifestyle coaches. These pros are continually educated in their fields of specialty—which might mean nutrition counseling, yoga, or boxing.
A wide slate of equipment and amenities makes it as easy as possible to fit in workouts. Most locations are open 24 hours, and while parents lift free weights or dance a beautiful tango with a Precor elliptical, their kids can hang out in a free childcare room.
Rachel and Julio twists the classic tale of star-crossed lovers. Taking place in Brooklyn, the touching romantic comedy follows the titular duo—one the privileged daughter of a factory owner and the other a new immigrant working for him—as they struggle through a difficult summer of romance and their reunion decades later.
Ken Benshish and Yi Qian both grew up loving music, but the process of learning to play it ranged from uninspiring to mind numbing. The two musicians started iSchool of Music & Art to provide a much different experience—a positive, supportive atmosphere that takes into account each student’s personality and goals. Students aged 3 and older who can’t tell a drumstick from a plectrum and don’t even know the street value of a quarter note can learn piano, drums, guitar, or voice skills from scratch, then test their newfound skills with multiple performance opportunities throughout the year. Instructors host private classes or group students into their own rock-band performance troupes, while intensive camps culminate in field trips to Lincoln Center and tour of a real recording studio.
For 15 years, Sky Athletic Club has shepherded members to physical fitness inside a 20,000-square-foot workout sanctuary free from muscle-obsessed fanatics or intimidating drill sergeants. The gym's mission of accessible-to-all fitness earned it the 2011 Best Boot Camp on Long Island award from the Long Island Press. More than 40 certified personal trainers coach members on two floors of studios and exercise equipment, and visitors from across the age and ability spectrum scout through a schedule of more than 100 classes per week.
A ladies-only area accommodates feminine frames with a weight room and floor space for mat work, and an extensive Pilates program perches members aboard Reformer machines that get cores more tightly wound than a stressed-out slinky in a private studio. Patrons augment their weight-hoisting routines with pampering spa services, getting chi realigned by a certified acupuncturist or working out tension with a chair massage. Complimentary childcare and free steamy beverages from the lounge and café evince the club's hospitable mission.