Over his 25-year career in snapshottery, Jimmy Loyd has accumulated an impressive list of skills as freelance photojournalist for the Houston Chronicle, portraitist, and studio owner. An early adapter to the digital-camera revolution, he can capture digital or analog family portraits, professional headshots, and in-the-moment sports images with ease. Loyd also employs his expertise in intermittently scheduled classes and photo tours, which might occur on-location at the Houston Zoo or, for more candid shots, out in the wilderness where animals don't have access to stylists.
Alfonso Ayala, who's been snapping photos for more than a decade and has professional graphic-design experience, loves to capture life's happiest moments, which is why he specializes in wedding and family photography. He also loves the technical aspect of photography and spends his free time experimenting with lights, equipment, and accessories, such as lens toupees, to figure out what steps he needs to take to capture the best image. Artful close-ups, classic portraits, and candid kisses pepper his portfolio, which represents a range of wedding vignettes.
For more than 35 years, The Yoga Institute has been educating and enlivening its members through the exploratory practice of yoga. Classes help quiet the mind and loosen the body as students delve deeper into an eclectic blend of Vinyasa, Ashtanga-based, and Jivamukti-infused classes. Mix It Up classes take a different focus each week, including poses that use a wall and partner poses. Early-morning classes wake up the body with fluid movements, whereas advanced classes challenge students with rigorous inversions, arm balances, and backbends. Instructors pay special attention to proper alignment, offering adjustments to deepen a student’s physical practice and accompanying mental release.
A registered school of the Yoga Alliance, Yoga Rasa takes its name from the Indian word rasa, a term whose meaning encompasses both the experiential "taste or essence of any impression" and the spiritual "nectar of life." With this at the heart of their practice, the instructors of Yoga Rasa strive to nurture clients three dimensionally through services that heal the body, mind, and soul. To do so, they oversee a facility that spans three fitness studios, a massage and spa space, a chiropractor's office, a salon, and a boutique. Each of these spaces aids guests in their exploration of yoga as well as ayurvedic healing, creating a community that encourages lifelong yogic practices.
Three generations of the Hamilton family own and operate The Artist Within.org, a boutique studio that encourages artists of all ability levels to try their hands at painting in a communal environment. The studio provides all the necessary materials for recreating specific projects that include Van Gogh’s Starry Night and Monet’s Bridge and over a Pond of Water Lilies, and it only requires that students bring their own wine, goodies, and Bob Ross wigs. In addition to public painting classes, the Hamiltons also host private events such as bachelorette and birthday parties and can create custom paintings for groups to reimagine.
For 25 years, Texas School of Bartenders has minted professional-grade mix masters in its hands-on classes held in classrooms that simulate real bars. The school's training labs brims with 42 bar stations loaded with up-to-date equipment, including touchscreen registers and serving trays made of hover boards. Full 40-hour courses run throughout the day to accommodate people with designs on pursuing bartending as a career. Covering drink recipes, customer service, and mixing techniques, introductory crash courses throw students into bartending in the same way Spartans taught their children to swim—by throwing them into a shark tank.
In a daily routine of fun, effective fitness classes, Studio Fit's Cooper Institute–certified pro Jessica Hale marshals students toward increased strength, coordination, and confidence. One of many high-energy, dance-based classes, Night Club Cardio sets aerobic, easy-to-do moves to the hottest beats of the past three decades, lighting the body's calorie-shingled roof on fire to the delight of partying muscles. The exhilarating sessions—which take place in a warm, crimson-walled studio with sweat-wicking wood floors—limit class size to ensure individualized attention, so students should call or send a message-bearing blimp to reserve their spots in class.