A lifetime of sports training and competition?including four years as a Division I lacrosse player at Harvard?took its toll on Erin Cleary Cook's body. Even after graduating, strained muscles, tight tendons, and aching joints accompanied her whenever she tried to exercise. The one exception? Bikram yoga. The style's two breathing exercises and 26 active stretches challenged her strength, balance, and flexibility while also providing a cardio-intensive workout. After years of studies and training, she founded Bikram Yoga Main Line to share the benefits.
Experience doesn't matter at the studio, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary on October 4, 2014. First-time visitors attend the same 90-minute classes as regulars, following the same sequence of standing and seated asanas. The stretches methodically engage major muscle groups and organ systems throughout the entire body in a sequence designed to push freshly oxygenated blood from head to toe. As an added challenge, the practice space is heated to 105 degrees with roughly 40% humidity. This intense heat boosts circulation and flexibility even further. Proponents also find the practice has a habit of improving concentration, self-control, and age-guessing skills. And now students will be able to exercise on new, state-of-the-art Forbo Flotex hardwood flooring. As a testament to its quality, the studio was included in Main Line Today's Best of the Main Line lists in 2011 and 2013.
The expert fitness instructors at Sweat Fitness's Philadelphia-area locations help students of all ages and fitness levels track down svelter silhouettes with Precor training equipment and fat-roasting classes—including yoga, Pilates, spinning, Zumba, and kickboxing. Committed to fostering a supportive community for all fit seekers, the trainers devote individual attention to each patron to help them meet their fitness goals. Clients first undergo a body-fat analysis to assess their preworkout fitness level and to help them gauge their progress throughout their journey. During group sweat sessions, patrons can tone their bodies in classes such as Group Power and Power Pump, which blast subdermal meat suits via squats, lunges, and curls. A full aquatics center welcomes guests to dive into relatively narwhal-free waters for swimming lessons, triathlon training, and pool parties.
There's never a lack of art at The Center on Central. Cartoons, acrylics, and other works fill its walls, each one showcasing creativity unleashed by kids during dozens of different programs. Studio 4 is one such creative gathering. Here, instructors and students brainstorm their ideas and hone techniques in different mediums, such as sketch or comic books. Other classes include pottery, music lessons, dance fusion, and fashion design, as well as summer camps.
Clearly, The Center on Central's team are experts when it comes to keeping kids occupied and learning. They can even pick them up in the afternoon for after school programs, or treat them to special "nights out," which free up parents for the evening as well. Those adults shouldn't avoid the The Center on Central entirely however, since it also hosts adult-friendly programs including pottery date nights.
Arthur Murray has been a leading name in franchise dance since 1912, when the entrepreneur began selling mail-order dance lessons. Expanding his reach, he enlisted teachers to spread his signature dance lessons on first-class steamships and skyrocketed to fame in the 1930s after introducing the public to such dances as the Lambeth Walk and The Big Apple. By the 1950s, Arthur and his wife, Kathryn, were hosting their own highly popular TV show on ABC, The Arthur Murray Party, which ran for 12 years. Today, Arthur Murray's team prepares students for rug cutting at special events and weekend nightclub jaunts. Throughout lessons, instructors teach the foundations of two to four dances from a long list of styles that range from latin to country-western, helping students to learn basic step patterns, timing, and the ability to lead or follow.
For Maria de Sousa, tango dancing was part of her Argentinian heritage. She embraced the style as a way to reconnect with her native country, and traveled back and forth between her American home and Buenos Aires to master her steps. Conversely, for Pierre Baston, his passion for tango began as a foreign fascination. He watched a dinner show while visiting Buenos Aires that enraptured him, inspiring him to immerse himself not only in dance lessons, but historical and cultural research—he still collects authentic tango sheet music from the early 20th century. Both dancers became certified through a master's program at the Escuela Argentina de Tango in Buenos Aires, and now elucidate the art of dipping and spinning at eight Philadelphia locales.
Maria and Pierre walk students of all experience levels through tango's passionate choreography. They host group classes for social learning experiences, and lead private seminars at their studios or a venue of the client's choice. Because they coordinate all the necessary partner match-ups and music, their protégés needn't bring a companion or play Keep Away with a violin's bow to make it whine.