The viewers of Evening Magazine had 131 choices for Western Washington’s best fitness instructor of 2012, but Sheree James and her team at Shake It Off Dance Fitness came out on top. It’s no surprise, considering the staff turns dance fitness into full-on festivals of fitness, spurring on rooms full of exercisers through Latin-inspired Zumba dance classes, as well as hip-hop and urban striptease aerobics. It’s not all about cardio at Shake It Off, though; instructors also lead Zumba toning, during which students shimmy and shake while holding a weighted bar or a maraca made of cement so that they simultaneously forge muscles.
Located in Kirkland, Embody Health was founded by certified personal trainer Josh Cooper. Josh’s mission is to help others meet their fitness goals and live healthfully. Offering intense 30-minute group boot-camp workouts that combine cardio and strength training, Josh aids participants in burning fat and building muscle for quick, tangible results. Embody Health also offers personal training, semiprivate personal training, nutritional counseling, and fitness supplements.
Bala Yoga’s collective of teachers helps students of any skill level explore and practice yoga. During power vinyasa sessions, participants tap into their physical and spiritual power with a sequence of poses designed to cleanse the body, warm muscles, and relax the mind. Along with vinyasa, restorative, and yoga basics classes, the studio also hosts teachers’ training and special events such as a 30-day detox and a kids’ yoga session.
Behind the elegant wooden desk in its reception area lies the thing that sets Be One Yoga apart?two things, in fact. The state-of-the-art Studio A features an infrared heat system that varies temperatures between 95? and 110?, the ideal levels for intensive hot yoga. Air conditioning systems monitor CO2 levels, pumping in high-oxygen air to keep bodies energized, while all circulating atmosphere goes through UV light to keep it clean as clean as Mr. Clean's highly censored DVD collection. Studio B allows for more temperate practice, as well as hosting Be One Kids programs, introducing young ones to the joys of yoga. Complementing yoga's wellness-boosting properties, massage services knead away muscle stiffness and evaporate tension beneath the therapists' gently kneading hands.
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Tami Jones was a dancer since she was 2 years old, but an injury in college prevented her from pursuing it as a career. She turned to Pilates for physical therapy and in it discovered a renewed love of fitness. Later, Tami fused her favorite exercises?dance and Pilates?to create The Union Method, a fitness-focused program that seeks to unite mind, body, and soul while building lean bodies. Now, she and her fellow instructors teach yoga, Pilates, and barre classes to students of all experience levels.