During a fight, nothing stands between you and your opponent but a pair of gloves and your training. That's where Maryland Combat Sports Academy comes in?the instructors here arm students of all ages and skill levels with the techniques and strength to take down any opponent during bouts. They lead a variety of styles, including traditional boxing, Burmese kickboxing, mixed martial arts, and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, each of which cater to different strengths. For instance, in Brazilian jiujitsu, smaller fighters can take down a larger opponent with joint-lock and choke-hold techniques combined with gravity and leverage?common names for a right and left fist. Whereas Burmese kickboxing employs the entire body, adding head butts and knuckle strikes to the kicks and knee strikes of Muay Thai kickboxing.
In a newly renovated fitness center with polished hardwood floors and expansive windows, the exercise experts at Dancing Mind welcome students of all ages and fitness levels as they combine physical practice with meditation to strengthen bodies and minds. Here, students have more than 100 weekly classes to choose from, including empowering yoga, sweat-kindling cycling classes, and body-sculpting CrossFit sessions. Yoga classes practice inside a studio equipped with special athletic flooring and heated up to 95 degrees Fahrenheit, which helps detoxify the body and keep sinews limber for safer stretching. Students of every age, background, and experience levels are sure to find a yoga class to suit them: from Power Yoga, to the cardio- and weight-infused yoga of PowerSculpt, to the deep stretching and meditation of Yin Yoga, to Little Pretzels, a yoga class designed for young children. While instructors lead inspiring classes, assistants offer supportive adjustments to help students gain a better understanding of their bodies and poses.
Meanwhile, CrossFit classes gather in their own dedicated gym to challenge one another to the practice's high-intensity, functional movements?each one universally scalable to any fitness level or ability?in order to build strong, chiseled bodies. Cycling instructors get students' hearts pumping in the center's fully equipped studio for 45-, 60-, and 75-minute classes filled with invigorating music and carefully choreographed workouts. After class, guests can cool down in brand new showers and locker rooms, or lounge with new friends by the fireplace.
Saphira, the matriarch and founder of Saffron Dance, didn?t even exist 20 years ago, much like ?I survived Y2K? bumper stickers. Saphira was known as Rachael Galoob-Ortega, a lawyer who practiced in DC and Florida for a decade. But her high-power career and hefty paycheck couldn?t extinguish her passion for dance. And so she became Saphira, an international belly-dance artist and instructor with numerous accolades, including being featured in American Belly Dancer, a documentary about belly dance in the United States.
Saphira opened Saffron Dance six years ago, and along with 18 fellow instructors, channels her years of expertise into dance courses that get progressively more challenging from week to week. Welcoming all levels, her classes teach both Egyptian-inspired belly dance and community-focused tribal belly dance. Regardless of the class type, Saphira and her teachers encourage pupils to express their unique voices through dance, all while keeping proper alignment, mastering precision, and having fun.
"Our bodies and minds are closely interconnected. Our state of mind is expressed in physical phenomena, and, conversely, physical phenomena reflect our state of mind," says Dahn Yoga founder Ilchi Lee, "Nothing is impossible. Keep working on it until it's possible. There is no failure, just the gradual process of success." To make this challenging, yet hopeful philosophy accessible to all, Lee combined the Eastern concept of chi energy with his own brain-management system, developing a distinctive program that unlocks inner peace and sweeps up brain clutter caused by the daily stress of always having to find Waldo. Warm-up yoga maneuvers awaken muscles before 30–40 minutes of breathing, stretching, core practice, and meditation—including a signature brain-wave vibration technique that aims to calibrate mental and physical energies. Cool-down exercises ease the body back into quotidian functionality before a 10-minute teatime invites socialization among participants while bolstering pinkie endurance. Dahn Yoga is also taught at independently owned and operated franchises called Body & Brain Yoga.
CEO Peter Harvey believes that a quality gym staff must demonstrate more than technical expertise. "Service doesn't only mean showing someone how to do an arm curl," he says. Certified personal trainers develop workouts that zero in on each person?s specific goals, giving clients the skills to pole-vault over impassable plateaus. By steadfastly refusing to hand out fish in favor of putting on master classes in fishing, they help clients become self-sufficient, educating them on fundamentals.
During these one-on-one sessions, and in solo workouts, guests set calories ablaze atop rows of continually updated equipment. Treadmills, recumbent bikes, and strength-training tools line the walls.
Members can also drop in for as many group classes as they can muster. Inside a separate studio, stationary cycles whir in time with galvanizing music, kickboxing strikes arc through the air, and barbells rise with each BodyPump rep. For more meditative practices, Pilates sessions and several types of yoga enhance flexibility and focus.
Balance Health Center takes a holistic approach to wellness by offering chemical-free body treatments and classes that promote balance within the mind and body. The center's nontraditional healing approaches include acupuncture, Ayurveda, and traditional Chinese medicine, treatments that all aim to heal the body without unnatural substances.
Spa services encompass waxing and seven-step facials, and bodies can acquire a bronze glow with the center's version of sunless tanning that relies on an organic, citrus-scented solution rather than the sun's hand-me-down rays. Relaxation's role in personal balance asserts itself in assorted scalp massages, hot-stone therapy, and aromatherapy as well as in spa massages that integrate essential oils. Helping guests to bring the center's philosophies home, Balance Health Center hosts classes and workshops on herbology, stretching, and yoga.