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.
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.
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.
Though Tiffany Nelson and Brian Wilkerson have always been passionate about athletics, they come from two fairly different backgrounds. Tiffany was a top softball and track athlete in college before taking up a career as a physiotherapist, while Brian served in the Marine Corps and became a Kansas City police officer. Despite their differences in history and profession, the duo united in their passion for the CrossFit program.
They pack their no-frills facility with training equipment and free weights, welcoming fitness-seekers of all ages and fitness levels. More than just a place to work out, the duo strives to foster a sense of community at their gym—providing constant motivation, updating their website with fitness and nutrition articles, and conducting a special workout on each clients birthday before breaking open a piñata with their bare hands.
Founded by a husband-and-wife duo made up of a WBFF Pro Fitness model and a ACE/AFAA/FPI-certified personal trainer, the Hitch Fit training regimen transforms students' physiques and overall well-being. The complete in-studio or online program runs 12–16 weeks and focuses not only on exercise but also helps patrons to draft custom diets and eliminate negative lifestyle influences, such as guzzling milkshakes with a band of rebellious teens at the soda shop.
The workout portion of each private visit involves 60 minutes split into aerobic routines and anaerobic weightlifting. Trainers customize each program to accommodate personal goals such as weight loss, muscle building, or shaping up following a pregnancy. Meal plans are customizable as well and account for dietary concerns such as food allergies and a crippling fear of pineapples.
When people think about rock climbing, the general directional alignment is assumed to be upwards: up a climbing wall, up a rock face, up a mountain. At The Cave Bouldering Gym, the same is true, except participants have to go down first—way down. The gym lies 10 stories beneath street level in the Downtown Underground development, where it invites climbers of all ages and abilities to enroll in a bouldering class or solve more than 80 bouldering problems. Recognizing the importance of giving newcomers a smooth introduction to the sport, the Bouldering 101 course equips beginners with all the skills they'll need to successfully enter the world of bouldering, including basic body movement, falling and spotting, and terminology.