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.