Having taught high school band for well over 20 years, Roxianne Scott knows the importance of rhythm. She doesn't always need an instrument to explore the concept, however?at Harmony Yoga + Wellness, she showcases a type of music and movement that comes entirely from the human body. She and her staff lead yoga classes that encourage strength, flexibility, and self-awareness, regardless of your experience level. Some sessions, including Vinyasa and yoga for endurance athletes, embrace an intensive practice. Others move more slowly, incorporating elements of meditation or helping beginners to master the basic poses without giving them an extra leg to balance with.
The studio helps visitors to achieve calm outside of class, as well. Their resident massage therapist blends eastern and western modalities into muscle-soothing treatments, and a reiki master works to optimize clients' energy flow. Even if you simply feel like relaxing in the space, you can sip on some complimentary tea and browse the lounge's lending library, or peruse the apparel and locally made jewelry in the boutique.
ActivEdge Fitness Club's large, two-story fitness temple burns calories with its high-tech cardio deck featuring mounted flat-screen TVs, drowns them in a 25-meter lap pool, and scares them off with the help of peers in more than 20 fitness classes. On the first level, members pump free-weights on a carpeted floor that cushions joint strain, or on a variety of machines designed to sculpt lats, glutes, and thighs. As parents make a splash in aqua aerobics, their kids can burn off excess energy and talk about their favorite characters from Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations in the supervised childcare center. Members can also make use of the club's basketball court and follow it up with a trip to the tanning room. For a high-intensity full-body-blasting boot camp, the gym’s own GTX program answers with an intense cross-training regimen. Instructors lead groups through a series of interval stations where clients build muscle definition and whip cardiovascular systems into shape with the help of punching bags and medicine balls laid out on turf and rubber floors. During those training sessions, guests lift and push giant tractor tires, swing heavy ropes, and hop high onto plyometric boxes—all exercises that incorporate functional movements to help people perform everyday tasks, such as hurling giant tractor tires into the air and lassoing them with heavy ropes.
Mary Mayer's career in Irish dancing started when she took her first lessons in Ireland while staying with her grandmother in the early '70s. She loved it so much that when she returned to Chicago, she—as well as her brother John—began taking lessons at a local Irish-dance school, where they danced with such people as Lord of the Dance creator Michael Flatley. Both Mary and John eventually starting placing at regional and national championships.
In 1980, they founded the Mayer School of Irish Dancing. It began in a basement with only five students—two of who were their younger brother and sister, Paul and Julie Mayer. These two followed in their older siblings' footsteps by placing in championships and even landing roles in Road to Perdition. Paul trained actress Jennifer Jason Leigh and danced with her in the film. Julie also trained many actors and performed alongside Paul Newman and Daniel Craig.
Though John has since retired, Mary continues to teach classes six days a week in Villa Park and Galena. Paul and Julie man two of the school's additional locations, which now span four states. Their students have placed in regional and national championships. Some have even traveled to Ireland to put their skills on display at the All-Ireland Championship and see if any snakes have found their way back yet.
Featuring professional staff members, an impeccably maintained course, and true-rolling greens arranged according to the position of 18 miniature meteor craters, The Ridge offers a golf experience for clubbers both skilled and woefully handicapped. A full round of evasive holes ($25 weekdays, $27 weekends) tantalizes cleek caressers and promises more excitement than a ruptured appendix. A golf-cart rental ($15) and a medium bag of range balls ($5) are included in the package, as well as a caged self-loathing that, according to The Ridge’s policies, can be unleashed upon any golfer who putts an eagle.
Since 1993, the family-owned EyeMart Optical Outlet's goal has been to furnish central Iowans with affordable eyewear. The eye boutique spans nine locations and its inventory of basic and designer frames presents stylish options for all face structures. Optometrists at each location furnish their patients with prescriptions that can be quickly traded for single-vision or progressive lenses with protective coatings and lasers.
Diamond Dreams Baseball and Softball Academy's athletic facilities double as classrooms for players of all ages. A 10,000-square-foot arena houses indoor pitching mounds, technique cages, and throwing tunnels with Iron Mike and curveball pitching machines. An adjoining 2,000-square-foot performance center caters to youth and adult development programs.
Helming these facilities, experienced instructors adhere to a philosophy known as Life-Sport-Connect. As implied by its title, Life-Sport-Connect emphasizes the link between athletics and the real world. As athletes learn how to maintain a positive attitude, work as a team, and douse their coach in sports drink, they develop virtuous characteristics that affect their personal lives.
Classes, workshops, and camps primarily emphasize baseball, softball, and football. Regular baseball tournaments provide game time between local and regional teams, and a chance to show off with home-run derbies and throwing competitions.