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.
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.
Bodies turn and twirl in the air, suspended from the rafters with colorful silks. Whether during a performance or class, the staff and students of Voler–Thieves of Flight Aerial Academy inspire awe with aerial dance and acrobatics. The academy’s professional ensemble includes ballet and modern dancers, along with circus artists, all of whom add their skills to lofty choreography on swings, silks, and hoops. The Voler ensemble has also performed at more than 30 notable locations including the Kansas city and Chicago fringe festivals and the Kansas City Renaissance Festival.
The academy’s primary purpose is teaching, of course, and three levels of classes instruct participants on the finer points of contorting on silks and practicing spirals, suspension, and falls.
Natalie Smith needed some excitement in her life, which at that point merely consisted of performing as a professional ballet and hip-hop dancer, posing as a model, and balancing atop speeding motorcycles as a stuntwoman. After stumbling across a segment about pole dancing on the Oprah Winfrey show, she decided to spice things up a bit and dive headfirst into the fun yet demanding exercise form. She lost 25 pounds in two months, inspiring her to open her own studio—where she draws upon her experience in dancing and cheerleading to lead classes that span the sultry workout spectrum from pole routines to booty boot camp. The studio boasts 30 poles and 5,000 square feet of floor space, evoking the feeling of walking into a chrome forest—which is an experience similar to walking into the Redwoods after governor Schwarzenegger's controversial act to silver plate every tree. In the studio, Natalie and her team of certified instructors—twirling between exposed-brick walls that have been painted robin-egg blue—lead spins, climbs, and drops during lessons and private parties. They welcome ladies of all ages and builds to the women-only locale, which offers bed tanning to supplement its body-toning programs.
At the new Pole Worx location, classes are held in one of three new classrooms that house over 33 different poles. The new location also has two changing room and two tanning beds.
Sunshine Yoga's knowledgeable yogis, Kelli and Nancy, enlighten apprentices on the postures and breathing of the Vinyasa and Anusara traditions. Ease body, spirit, and mind during Kelli's Vinyasa sessions, which are designed to slowly raise body temperature through a series of slow-flowing poses that tone muscle and optimize neural search engines. Nancy, who has thousands of hours of experience with Anusara yoga, weaves the meditative philosophy of "flowing with nature" with static poses that fortify musculature to stave off injury and improve posture. Novices embarking on an Anusara journey, which requires knowledge of a unique vocabulary, are advised to start with beginner-level classes to limit the use of balance-crumbling flashcards.
Sunlight spills through Maya Yoga’s glass-block windows, quietly illuminating students as they meditatively make their way through a series of poses amongst tapestries of Hindu deities. Here, teachers shepherd students of all levels through flowing Vinyasa sequences and the ancient poses of the Ashtanga tradition. To help loosen tight muscles and oust toxins, teachers heat up the studio to a limb-limbering 80 degrees. They also play tranquil music to help the group breathe deeply as they commune with their inner selves and train their third eyes to not wink at every attractive stranger who passes by.
Aided by National Academy of Sports Medicine certifications in personal training and corrective exercise, LiveSet Fitness's Michael Kilkenny strives to inspire positive lifestyle changes through physical fitness. During his boot-camp classes, he leads high-intensity interval training, marrying cardio and kickboxing with strength and conditioning drills to create a comprehensive training program. When he needs to emphasize more customized fitness regimens, he also hosts one-on-one and group personal-training sessions, which give clients the chance to work toward personal goals or ask in private if burpees were named after a convenience-store beverage.