The chief yoga instructors on a staff of dozens, Gina Norman and Stan Woodman aren’t your average couple—or even your average yoga studio owners. A world traveler with a longtime interest in mind-body work, Gina followed her path to Thailand, where she learned the local yoga practice, and then to India, where she studied up on vipassana meditation. Prior to opening Kaia Yoga Complete Wellness Center, Stan was a snowboarding addict and decades-long yoga practitioner living in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. Today, the two strive to offer “a yoga for everyone,” with a lineup that includes smooth Vinyasa practice, disciplined Ashtanga poses, hot yoga in a 95-degree studio, and family-friendly fitness classes. After working up a sweat exercising or reciting Ulysses in one of the studio’s classes, students can take the heat off with soothing, natural spa services such as massages, body scrubs, and energy healing. With a long menu of pampering therapies, no aspect of the body leaves Kaia wanting for its own treatment, and the onsite vegetarian café’s baked goods, wraps, juices, and smoothies help guests with the other kind of bodily nourishment.
A team of friendly gurus runs each club. Fitness buffs of all buffness levels feel welcome in the fun and accommodating atmosphere at Washington Sports Clubs. During your two weeks, you get access to all the professional equipment, group exercise classes, locker rooms, and facility amenities offered (some group exercise classes require a reservation). Different clubs have on-site features such as pools, Pilates and yoga, babysitting services for a tag-along papoose, electricity, and more. Search for the club that suits your checklist here.
Studio director Simona Cipriani, like all the instructors at The Art of Control, trained under Romana Kryzanowska, who studied directly under Joseph Pilates himself. The studio, therefore, prides itself on being not only certified, but a direct ideological descendant of Pilates' very inventor.
Many clients come to The Art of Control to take part in group or private lessons, and particularly advanced students can get specialized independent instruction. More than one type of Pilates is practiced at the studio. In mat Pilates, participants work through routines atop their own colorful rectangles, and in reformer Pilates, the Pilates-proprietary workout machines provides resistance to counter participants’ movements, creating an additional strength-training element to build strength and muscle definition. Other classes may incorporate props, such as bands, wedges, and rubber chickens wearing novelty-size sunglasses. Feldenkrais and Zumba classes also speckle the calendar, and teacher-training programs prepare students to teach. Personalized nutrition programs and massage therapy further spoil bodies and increase health. The Art of Control also hosts and participates in events and workshops.
Named the 6th Best Thing to Do in Stamford by Mofflymedia.com, Metropolitan Dance Center was born of the combined experience and brainpower of John DePalma and Steven Dougherty—a television personality featured on America’s Ballroom Challenge and a national dance champion, respectively—who’ve both garnered revered reputations within the ballroom community through their extensive knowledge and training. Backed by a team of certified instructors, they teach students to glide across the dance floor through their progressive curriculum, which is certified by the Dance Vision International Dance Association. They map students’ progress as they teach them to sway and samba through Latin and ballroom moves during group and private lessons. They also help couples to perfect their first newlywed spin across the dance floor with private wedding-dance lessons customized to the beat of the couple’s wedding song or first shared Morse-code message. The studio also hosts open practice sessions, allowing burgeoning dancers to mix and mingle, practicing their new dance moves to a variety of tunes in a comfortable environment.
If you asked someone what ballerinas and soldiers have in common, it would sound like the setup for a joke. Bad punch lines aside, "Pilates" would be a valid answer. Initially, Joseph Pilates' fitness system was used in army hospitals to rehabilitate soldiers and in dance studios to tone and stretch ballerinas. At Pilates of Stamford, Pam Giambrone applies her expertise just as broadly, strengthening and lengthening the muscles of beginner and veteran athletes alike.
Pam and her team of instructors have all been certified to impart Pilates techniques with a variety of equipment. Their mat classes cover focused stretches and the use of several props, from arm weights to stability balls and magic circles. Alternatively, Reformer classes provide highly personalized resistance-apparatus demonstrations. Whether guests drop in to a group lesson or schedule private training, teachers adjust their exercises to fit each person's pace, fostering an atmosphere of support and continual growth rather than one of competition and slap-fights.
At Sportsplex, lines of gleaming strength and conditioning machines stand ready to help exercisers transform their bodies. When clients aren't lifting dumbbells and bars or swimming in a pool that uses the chlorine-free SaltPure system, they can work out with personal trainers or in small-group Group Jamz sessions, or play squash on the on-site courts.