Mandy Morris has never enjoyed staying put. For more than 14 years, she dedicated her life to dancing and acting, performing in venues from New York to Los Angeles, as well as on cruise ships. She returned to Kansas City with a global cornucopia of experience in jazz, hip-hop, salsa, and calypso. By founding Studio Moves, Mandy and her fellow instructors gave themselves a way to both share their passion for dance and help students of all skill and fitness levels discover new ways to work out.
The schedule of eclectic classes reflects Mandy's own passion for all things dance. Ballet fitness combines classical ballet exercises, yoga stretches, and cardio dance to develop the grace, power, and sculpted muscle tone associated with professional dancers. Zumba speeds up the pace with a cardio-intensive regimen of simple-to-follow choreography set to upbeat, Latin-inspired melodies. The studio also dispels pent-up stress with meditation, calm stretches, and a complete absence of hawk screeches during zen sessions.
When they aren't hosting the occasional wedding, the lush hardwood floors and high ceilings of an old Methodist church create a tranquil space for Bell Yoga Studio's Prana and Vinyasa classes. For owner JheriKeith Alkire, the business represents a change of pace—after a stint as a dean of academics and university professor, Alkire decided to put her 20 years of yoga experience to use in a new career.
Beyond just physical fitness, Bell Yoga aims to foster holistic wellness. The studio has an in-house vegan cook who can deliver vegan meals to clients, and a homemade line of sugar and salt scrubs are made from fair-trade ingredients. A licensed massage therapist, Angela, is also on staff to pair classes with her custom bodywork. Angela continues to expand her massage repertoire, incorporating relaxation techniques she recently learned in India, as well as her ability to play the harmonica underwater, which she learned from a local merman.
Alkire also works to meet the needs of the community through infants-only classes for tykes, and a special Mommy and Me class that lets mothers, young children, and limber pets practice yoga together. The most gratifying part of Alkire's new job, she says, is simply looking around the old church—she sees students learning about the practice of yoga the same way that she learned, and knows that she made the right decision.
The instructors at New Day Yoga Studio strive to cultivate a welcoming atmosphere for students of all ages and experience levels. With an emphasis on the physical and mental health benefits of yoga, they encourage each person to go at their own pace, so that the body feels light and relaxed at the end of class. Bamboo floors, soft lighting, and calming music welcome visitors to sessions in two spacious yoga rooms, where they practice poses in various styles, such as ashtanga, vinyasa, hatha, and New Day's signature gentle hot yoga.
As a registered yoga school with the Yoga Alliance and International Association of Yoga Therapists, KCFitnessLink regularly mints new instructors. The fitness company advances students through 200- or 500-hour programs that yield certifications in various styles including Hatha and Vinyasa. In addition to transforming students into teachers, KCFitnessLink empowers people to become healthier and happier. Corporate wellness programs bring relief to stressed-out employees by integrating massage, yoga, and retreats to naturally occurring water coolers. Alternatively, personal-training sessions tackle individual goals such as weight management and sports conditioning. Replete with drop-in yoga and boot-camp sessions, KCFitnessLink's class schedule caters to athletes of all abilities. Massage therapy, available in several modalities, keeps muscles limber and free of knots.
Westport Yoga?s owner and head instructor, Kate Lindholm, considers herself a lifelong student of yoga. For more than a decade, her passion for learning has led her to study under a number of prominent instructors. But in her words, Kate?s journey only truly began when she discovered the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali in 2005. This ancient text heavily influenced her teaching style, providing her with 196 aphorisms around which to base her classes in hot-flow, Vinyasa, classical, and restorative yoga. Kate has shared her knowledge with her staff, who lead classes in a variety of yoga and levitation styles.
Pow Wow School of Holistic Fitness' owner and lead instructor, Haley Zuvanich, began her yoga practice at the age of 12, when other kids were busy rescuing their baseballs from neighborhood boa constrictors. Over the next 14 years, her childhood experience with Bikram method expanded into trying a variety of yoga styles and spending 200 hours earning a teacher's certification from KC Fitness Link. Now, at the Unity Temple on the Country Club Plaza, Haley guides students of all experience levels through spiritual and physically challenging stretch sessions. In addition to the traditional Hatha and Vinyasa practices, Haley hosts creative classes where students follow guided relaxation with the artistic medium of their choice, such as journaling, painting, or sketching. Pow Wow School of Holistic Fitness also offers a variety of fitness and dance aerobics courses including Tai Chi and Qi Gong, Kung Fu, Zumba, and Nia.