YMCA of East Tennessee holds fast to its three-fold mission: to encourage healthy living, youth development, and social responsibility. Each of their five locations brims with cardio and weight equipment, as well as digital ActivTrax kiosks, which print out customized workout plans based on each guests' information. Instructors lead group fitness classes for adults and stacks of trench-coat-clad babies disguised as adults, offering sessions that range from kickboxing to water aerobics. In addition to specialized sessions for seniors, they also lead sports programs for kids, such as swimming, basketball, and karate, as well as host a youth-based leader's club.
The folks at YMCA of East Tennessee offer memberships to military families and host programs for kids who have dropped out of school or who have been suspended. Their scholarship program helps families send their kids to the YMCA's fun, safe, character-developing programs no matter their financial circumstances.
The trained chefs at Sushi Academy in Tennessee work to demystify the art of rolling, filling, and presenting sushi during two-hour classes. Using hands-on teaching techniques, they demonstrate how to cook Japanese rice to the proper consistency before bundling it inside a seaweed wrap with fresh fish, crisp veggies, and other natural ingredients. Students also learn to craft the more common inside-out rolls, in which rice covers the outside of seaweed wraps.
When lessons conclude, cylindrical slices don crowns of gari, wasabi, and soy sauce to create a presentable plate of sushi for classmates to chow down on. The academy also peddles a medley of sushi-making gear, such as rolling mats and rice paddles, so that students can continue to hone their craft at home or deal with laundry-day shirt shortages by swaddling their torsos in nori.
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For more than 40 years-since her first diapered yoga pose at the age of 6 months, in fact—long-time Knoxville life coach Shanti has embraced the essence of yoga. She began her career as a yogini by training at Instituto de Yoga Bolonia, her parents' yoga institute in Nicaragua. Between then and now, she has sought the knowledge and teachings of masters from around the globe, expanding her repertoire to include everything from healing breathing techniques and qigong to biomagnetic therapy, reiki, and metapsychology counseling. Today, her resume reads like a who's who of holistic wellness solutions, which she uses to help better the lives of those around her.
She brings the diversity of her skill set to each class at Yoga with Shanti, whether she's teaching beginners or working on an advanced sequence with students. Known for her gentle approach to both group and private sessions, she provides spiritually calming yet invigorating results for students of all ages. These sessions take place within a spacious studio, whose butter-yellow walls and hardwood floors are flooded by the loving natural light that flows through the windows. Meditative music also lilts throughout, transcending each moment and blending nicely into end-of-session sound healing.
Fort Sanders Health & Fitness Center offers a fun alternative to sitting on the couch and watching a movie: floating in an inner tube and watching a movie. Every year, the gym's heated outdoor pool turns into a "dive-in" theater, where families can lounge on the deck or in the water as a film plays on an inflatable screen.
Of course, the center advocates for more vigorous workouts, too. It has an indoor track, cardio machines, and free weights for visitors of all ages and abilities. Group fitness classes are available throughout the week, from Pilates and yoga to Les Mills BodyPump. Instructors also lead youth programs in tennis, aquatics, and martial arts, keeping kids active and primed for the triathlon portion of family reunions.
When students take a spin class at Any Body Fitness, they know they’re pedaling atop sleek, professional-grade cycles. That’s because the staff at Any Body Fitness contains more than just certified spin instructors; in fact, staffers’ primary task is to scout out and sell top-shelf cardio, strength, and aerobic equipment. The employees outfit everything from modest home gyms to sprawling commercial wellness centers with ellipticals, treadmills, and weightlifting benches. So, when they select the stationary bikes that instructors use to punch up spinners’ heart rates, they do so with a solid understanding of the industry. Personal trainers, nutritionists, and active-lifestyle mentors act as equally knowledgeable resources for clients seeking wellness help outside of spin class.
Experienced photo gurus Doug Box and Randy Kerr impart practical photo skills to curious shutterbugs during engaging seminars that have appeared across the States and in eight countries abroad. Doug Box, author of myriad photography-technique books, is one of 13 Kodak mentors and is the Executive Director of the Texas Professional Photographers Association. His co-teacher, Randy Kerr, heads World Photographic, which uses photography as a vehicle for illuminating humanitarian and environmental topics. Both men have been teaching photography classes for years and help amateurs take photos that capture piercing looks, toothy smiles, and elusive dodo sightings.