For the instructors and staff members of Rising Starts Equestrian Center, the chance to work with riders and horses is a professional dream come true. The center's founders—all from different horse-riding disciplines and backgrounds—aim to provide care for riders at any level, from those seeking the joys of casual riding to those welcoming the rigors of serious competition. Along the path toward equine excellence, the trainers welcome guests to enjoy the pictaresque scenery of the West Hills farm. With views akin to early-century paintings, the farm and its surroundings are enlivened by large, broad trees, hewn wood fences, and open green fields that smell like acrylic when scratched.
Featured on ABC, Fox, and various channels, Dance With Me doesn't just teach students the mechanics of fun, fit, and healthy dancing—they transform them into dancers. And the process goes beyond learning fancy footwork. Participants are welcomed into a setting that cultivates confidence, nurtures self-expression, and bolsters social interaction skills, since it really does take more than one person to tango.
The joy of ballroom dancing becomes contagious at each of Dance With Me's modernized studios, which host classes specifically tailored toward each visitor's goals. And those classes are taught by a uniquely qualified team of professionals, some of whom may have familiar faces. Co-founder Maksim Chmerkovskiy is a renowned Latin Ballroom dance champion, choreographer, and instructor, but he's perhaps best known for keeping celebrities on their toes in his 14 appearances on Dancing with the Stars. Along with National and World Champions and Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars choreographers Val Chmerkovskiy and Tony Dovolani, he has instilled Dance With Me's staff with their professional chops and ability to stay composed when cha-cha-cha-ing with a boom mic.
A colorful creature soars high above Rocky Point's coastline. Its rainbow sail lifts, dips, and turns over sandy beaches and a blue ocean that stretches as far as the eye can see. The gliders in question belong to GMI Paragliding School, which makes its home along Rocky Point, a site insured by the United States Hang Gliding Paragliding Association. The school’s skilled instructor introduces beginners to the basics of paragliding, which include ground control, monitoring the weather, theory, and techniques to avoid attracting amorous vultures. After mastering beginner skills, new flyers can join Long Island Paragliding Club to pursue dreams of someday touching the sky’s ceiling.
Elite Fitness turns an industrial-size fan on the fog of boredom and uncertainty that dumbfounders people in their pursuit of healthy living. The gym floor packs in all manners of Cybex equipment and separate studios teaching a rotating schedule of group classes, from spinning and cardio kickboxing, to belly dancing and bandercize. The front desk even loans iPods, preloaded with songs and the sweetly whispered affirmations of your high-school gym teacher, to keep patrons moving. Post-workout, guests hit the showers, and get themselves work-ready with the help of complimentary toiletries and towels before retrieving their gear from one of the free lockers.
Elite’s team of personal trainers personalizes fitness regimens with one-on-one private instruction. A Crossfit-certified trainer leads extended workshops, including programs such as cardio boot camps and P90X. To keep patrons on the nutritional straight and narrow, Elite takes part in the 5 Squares program, which eliminates the chore of counting calories by delivering healthy, gourmet meals that are rich in protein and low in carbs.
The staff members of Bikram Yoga Locust Valley complete rigorous training under the tutelage of discipline-founder Bikram Choudhury, imparting their hot-yoga techniques with a rigorous authenticity. During the 90-minute sessions, students methodically stretch every tendon, ligament, joint, and muscle as the 26 postures burn fat, shrink stress, and leave pores salivating for more. Students tote along their own mat, towel, and water to the bright and beautiful studio, where forgetful pupils may purchase any supplies they forgot at home.
Lorraine Aguilar, founder of Yoga Flow Studio, believes that a holistic approach to the mind and body can bring about happiness and health. With 20 years of yoga experience, she leads a staff with backgrounds in physical therapy, massage, martial arts, and other disciplines as they focus on every aspect of well-being.
Inside their sanctuary, instructors lead yoga-themed movie nights and meditation sessions, and more than 20 styles of yoga rotate into a schedule that typically offers classes every day of the week. The team is especially dedicated to the study and practice of Anusara and Ashtanga yoga techniques, which draw upon the same principles as Hatha yoga and the same moves as Gumby trying to get something off his back. Frustration gives way to relaxation in introductory sessions, and prenatal yoga helps moms-in-the-making relax. Guest speakers visit the center to discuss Buddhism, philosophy, and emerging yoga techniques.