To earn a black belt in Krav Maga—the official self-defense system of the Israeli Defense Forces, or IDF—Dr. Michael Blitz studied under the style's foremost experts, including Grandmaster Haim Zut and U.S. Chief Instructor Darren Levine. After more than 16 years of practice and 500 hours of instructor training, he was eager and willing to pass on the techniques to others. He has trained military security personnel in the U.S. and New Zealand as well U.S. Air Marshals, police officers, and civilians and taught New York City corrections officers at multiple correctional facilities. Under his supervision, only nationally and internationally certified instructors helm Krav Maga classes at KMLI (Kombat Masters of Long Island).
Dr. Blitz's impressive resumé underscores the real-life relevancy of his class curriculum. Grouped by skill level, the Krav Maga lessons condition physiques as they impart self-defense strategies, emphasizing explosive and decisive maneuvers. The techniques are meant to guard against single, multiple, armed, and unarmed assailants, a goal that rallies Blitz and his team to raise the empowering cry, "Refuse to be a victim." Some of these techniques have been displayed when KMLI's Blitz Krav Maga was featured on News 12 Long Island.
Dana Healy left her career in the fashion industry because she was "tired of selling a product" and simply wanted to help others. She chose yoga because she had experienced its restorative powers firsthand. Diagnosed with scoliosis, Healy suffered from back pain and used yoga's gentle stretching and muscle-building techniques to fight the chronic soreness. At Yoga Palms, Healy offers classes for students of all skill levels, with a special soft spot for beginners and those with pain and soreness—she remembers being a beginner herself. Her skilled staff of instructors teaches a variety of classes including paddleboard yoga at the beach just two blocks from the studio. During these sessions, students row out onto the water atop paddleboards to hone balance, develop muscle control, and improve their cannonball splashes. Healy keeps her yoga schedule open, rotating classes to fit the needs of her students and will always take suggestions for a new class. Inside the studio, soothing tan and blue walls tinted with environmentally friendly paint encompass all-natural decorations. This decor includes bamboo screens, lanterns, and palm plants, which are plants with dozens of mannequin hands requesting high-fives. The reception area also features an array of eco-friendly products for sale, including 100% natural soy candles.
Gabriel Hall, owner of Yoga World Studios, discovered yoga at the age of 19 while pursuing his degree in philosophy. Dr. Allen Arnette—already the clinical director of the Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Department—began studying yoga as a way of researching the role mental well-being plays in healing physical ailments. Katherine Ostrout studied dance science at Cal State Long Beach and turned to Pilates after a ballet injury laid her low. These three weave their diverse backgrounds into the rich tapestry of talent made up by Yoga World’s team of yogis.
Having studied extensively in particular schools of yoga, instructors bring their individual training into the studio, focusing on disciplines that range from the physically challenging to mentally reflective, and include Iyengar, Ashtanga, Viniyoga, and Anusara. In addition to their regular yoga lessons, the Yoga World team also leads mat-Pilates classes, workshops, and private instruction. They use the art of yoga for healing in one-on-one sessions of Thai yoga therapy, which blends shiatsu massage with acupressure, or they coordinate beachside retreats full of yoga, surfing, and yoga-surfing.
Long Beach’s first indoor cycling studio, the newly opened Ocean Ride Cycling Studio, is a spinning-dedicated workout facility. Clients come here to burn calories and get fit while riding state-of-the-art stationary bicycles during spin classes taught by encouraging, experienced instructors. Each energetic class is customizable to all fitness levels, whether cyclists are beginners or spinning aficionados.
Revolution Yoga’s crew of yogis espouses the virtues of self-exploration through movement and meditation, a feat accomplished in 17 different types of yoga classes held seven days a week. Classes are held in full-sized classrooms or a space set aside exclusively for families and kids. Unlike many yogis, the teachers look beyond yoga and napping inside armoires to fully explore the scope of self, turning to community and arts to supplement their teachings.
Behind the studio stands Revolution Gallery, which has hosted paintings, mixed media design shows, films, literature, and musical performances. The staff also runs an artisan boutique, which is full of clothing, herbal supplements, and yoga gear—all manufactured from fair-trade products that provide jobs to unemployed trees and shrubs.
A seasoned watersports enthusiast from Fort Lauderdale, J.M. Kostallas transfers his wealth of aquatic knowledge to beachgoers along the temperate waters of Long Island. The certified lifeguard and safety instructor leads all inaugural paddleboarding lessons, which emphasize form, balance, and the art of seagull intimidation in a supportive environment with only a few students at a time. Students can put their newfound skills to use in an eco-tour of the surrounding area or give paddleboard yoga a try. Kostal Paddle leads yoga sessions in the open water and at a Jewish Community Center pool.