Pick up a copy of Boise Weekly, flip open the Idaho Statesman, or tune in to Boise State Public Radio, and you might catch Ophidia Studio’s owner, Allison Holley, spreading the gospel of pole dancing. "It feels fun," she told Boise State Public Radio's Scott Ki. "It's kind of like playing on a jungle gym, and adults don't get that chance." Along with a coterie of experienced instructors, Allison casts off the bad rap of an activity that she says some see as "demeaning or degrading" in pole-dancing classes that build fitness and self-confidence in a playful atmosphere. Inside a hot-pink studio peppered with stationary and spinning poles, Allison and her crew walk students of all levels through a number of creative pole-dancing moves, beginning with spins and working up to inversions, choreography routines, and ceiling-fan impersonations.
Their expertise doesn’t stop there, though. The instructors also offer an arsenal of other sensual classes such as belly-dancing, hoop dancing, poi fire dancing, and Curvesque, which helps whittle waists and define the feminine form through fluid, dance-inspired movements. They also offer the more-traditional fitness classes of Zumba and body blast, along with yoga and its elevated counterpart—aerial yoga, which suspends students in a fabric sling hung from the ceiling.
At Essential Hot Yoga, formerly Sumits Yoga, students stand squarely on the hardwood floors of the heated studio as they celebrate four years in business. Instructors lead them through 75-minute classes, fusing inspiration from Hatha and Ashtanga power-flow styles of yoga to create a dynamic and fluid practice. Essential's two styles of hot yoga cover a sequence of balancing and energizing physical postures, called asanas, set to motivating music. The practice room's hot and humid atmosphere warms and relaxes muscles more effectively than a bear hug from an actual bear, helping yogis to reach deeper stretches.
A wildly successful alternative to traditional day spas?its more than 300 locations blanket 36 states and half a dozen countries?Planet Beach Contempo Spa is a futuristic relaxation station where state-of-the-art machines administer all the spa and tanning services. These friendly automatons sometimes replace familiar treatments, as in the Luminous facial, a light-based service that delivers blemish-busting results similar to those of a conventional facial. But other equipment maps out new spa territory entirely: the Hydro-Derma Fusion chamber moisturizes the whole body with nutrient-rich steam in order to offset the effects of a dry climate or a rear-end collision with a salt truck. Other machines whiten teeth, spray tan skin, and massage muscles.
Planet Beach operates on a gym-style membership system, meaning that members purchase packages or pay flat monthly rates. As members spend more time at the spa, they get to know the helpful assistants who are always on hand to demonstrate how to use the equipment without activating its ability to cry.
Silverhawk Aviation’s owner, Catherine Rad Weber, built a school not only to teach people how to fly, but to learn to love their wings as well. Her comprehensive curriculum challenges students to fly at high altitudes, in different weather conditions, and over diverse terrain, training helicopter pilots who will be comfortable in the cockpit anywhere in the world. The program includes hands-on experience in caring for the rides, moving them in and out of hangars, and safely washing them without getting soap in their eyes.
Whether training or touring, visitors receive eyefuls of southern Idaho’s diverse geological features. The helicopters surmount rugged mountains, speed over mesas and high deserts, and ride air currents above rivers that wend their way into deep canyons. Apart from stunning the brain’s beauty receptors, this splendor provides a natural obstacle course against which more experienced pilots test their skill, zipping around rock spires or hopping the feet of their craft neatly through pristine fields of tire plants.
A locally owned fitness destination for 30 years, Peak Health & Wellness provides patrons with three facilities as spacious and well-maintained as gyms owned by a corporate entity, but as personalized as a family business. Guests walk into any location to find large workout floors stocked with rows of cardio and strength equipment, separate group-aerobics studios, and indoor courts for playing tennis, squash, basketball, and pretend jury duty. The personable staff of certified trainers lead 40 distinct fitness programs including group classes of Insane-X, X-Fit, and spin, while onsite childcare centers watch over the little ones as parents work out. An indoor pool is host to a number of different classes, and to solve the other side of the health and wellness equation, each locale hosts various nutrition programs and seminars.
Becky's Fabrics & Bernina simplifies the sewing process, teaching visitors how to craft clothes and accessories using Swiss-made Bernina sewing software and machines. The shop also supplies all the necessary fabrics, needles, and patterns to cook up a new dress or piece together a sentimental quilt made from your favorite old yogurt lids. Those looking to brush up their skills can turn to Becky's expansive schedule of classes, which includes everything from adding pleats and ruffles with a Bernina machine to stitching together a patchwork scarf.