The rigid heddle loom is a relatively simple machine. Jennifer Baum, The Weaving Shed's owner and a juried fiber artist, likes it because a beginning student can set it up and start a scarf within 45 minutes. Along with the loom's simplicity, Jen appreciates the therapeutic value of its rhythmic, back-and-forth cadence. As students work the loom to steadily pull fiber threads into a hand-woven item, they also shed the stress of their day. Jen sees these transformations—both in the progress of the project and the demeanor of the student—as she guides the technique and lends tips to the up to eight students that attend each class in the newly-expanded studio.
Along with classes, The Weaving Shed also spearheads a Farm to Yarn program with local farms. The natural or hand-dyed sheep's wool or alpaca fleece becomes a sustainable, specialty fiber for weaving, knitting, felting, crotchet, and spinning projects. This interest in cultivating local fibers hits especially close to Jen's home, AKA Sunny Knoll Farm, where, with her husband and children, she helps raise an ever-growing alpaca herd. She describes the alpaca as a very "zen-lifestyle animal," even though scientific journals refer to them as "respiring shag carpets." Along with laughing at the "fun family adventure" that the experience has been, she also praises the hypoallergenic qualities of the fleece and its 22 naturally occurring colors.
No men, no makeup, no mirrors. It's a philosophy that?s helped members of the Curves community since 1992. Part fitness center, part community center, Curves is a women?s only club that takes a streamlined approach to health, fitness, and weight loss. Curves has teamed up with health and fitness coach Jillian Michaels to develop full-body, 30-minute workouts that kick-start weight loss, combining strength training, cardio, and stretching into sessions that torch fat, build strength, boost intensity, and prevent plateaus. These workouts are enhanced further by the Curves Complete Program, available for an extra fee, which is rooted in Curves' method for effective weight loss in that it supplements efforts at the gym with personalized meal plans and weekly one-on-one meetings with a certified Curves coach.
The Cardio Corner's nine certified instructors propel exercisers toward fitness goals during classes teeming with kickboxing moves and other dynamic methods of sculpting the physique. During cycling classes, they help up to 12 stationary riders envision the towering hills, freeing descents, and detours through enemies' flower gardens that are fundamental to an outdoor bicycle ride. Filled with deep breaths and slow, graceful poses, all-levels yoga classes provide a calming alternative to cardio classes' vigorous tempos.
On a recent birthday, Shawn Shaw reflected on her life. There had been lessons learned about love, happiness, and the inherent beauty of life that is present even amid disappointment. For Shawn, a dedicated practice of yoga and meditation was the wellspring for many of the lessons learned. The teenage Shawn kept fit as a distance runner, first picking up yoga as a supplementary form of exercise and stretching. It wasn't until a few years later, amid a storm of personal struggles and a battle with cancer, that she discovered the healing properties of daily practice. Today she credits yoga with transforming her physical and emotional health and cultivating a peaceful attitude. Moreover, her newfound clarity and mental presence become something Shawn had to share. She opened her own studio, Metrowest Yoga, in 2005. Now with two locations in Westborough and Worcester, the curriculum includes Shawn's own invention, Myoga Hot Hatha, which is grounded in stillness and allows students to hold poses longer than usual as they make peace between breath and body.
Metrowest Yoga's studio focuses on building a strong healthy body and cultivating a calm, peaceful mind. The styles offered are mostly vigorous in a heated room but some gentle restorative classes are offered too. Regularly scheduled classes include Vinyasa or Flow, Hatha and Ashtanga styles. Beginner?s classes or a 6 week Brand New Beginner?s course are also offered.
Professional bartenders teach in classrooms set up as fully functioning bars. The facilities present lifelike conditions for students to learn skills such as the proper shake and pour for a variety of cocktails, muddling raw ingredients, and getting the right amount of head on a draft beer. Courses also cover the technical elements of bartending, which may include setting up drink stations, understanding liquor laws and board-of-health requirements, and operating payment systems that accept both credit cards and gold ingots.