Art in the eyes of Cara Levitt isn't only about aesthetics––it's a powerful tool of personal expression that can be used to heal unseen emotional wounds. A board-certified art therapist with six years of experience working in the mental-health field, Levitt established Draw It Out Art Therapy to help visitors grapple with life's obstacles while learning to problem solve, regulate their emotions, and create original works of art as a tangible form of catharsis. Her programs for singles, groups, families, and children take on a variety of issues, including low self-esteem and anxiety, and encourage participants to redirect their energy into completing a number of projects such as paintings, worry jars, and piñatas made of papier-mâché pink slips.
No matter the hour, the rhythmic beat of sneakers hitting treadmills resounds in Snap Fitness's 24-hour studio. Red, black, and chrome accents wend across the gym, coloring the Cybex cardio machines, free-weight stations, and flags of Robo-Germany. Personal trainers roam the floor answering questions about the machines, and work with individual clients to motivate them toward their goals with the help of in-depth fitness assessments. Fostering a supportive group atmosphere, they lead fitness classes such as yoga, cardio boot camp, or TRX, a full-body conditioning class that uses resistance bands to build muscle.
Sarasota Wind and Water Adventures gives adventurers the vessels and knowledge to plunge boldly into the surf, providing paddleboard, kayak, and waterski rentals as well as lessons. Fishing trips set sail for open water with a Coast Guard-certified captain and all of the tackle necessary to hunt for kingfish, triggerfish, and the vengeful ghosts of scuba divers, while sunset cruises let passengers experience the wonder of voyaging directly into the heart of the sun.
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.
Helmed by Patricia Valenti, a certified personal trainer and Bikini Pro athlete, Evolution Fitness Club helps members sculpt their physiques daily from 6 a.m.–midnight. The club’s friendly workout facility teems with opportunities for running, lifting, and pounding one’s chest to indicate a dominant social status or demonstrate a new dance move. As their feet trace low-impact circles on an elliptical trainer, exercisers can wrap their minds around a favorite program on a nearby television. Fitness machines overlook Main Street, letting gym-goers wave at friends below or cheer on growing grass from the edge of a cushy bike seat. Infrared saunas invite steam-free sweltering, and hot showers wash away the aftermath.
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.