Megan Ryan Kaiser doesn’t remember her first hot-yoga session as a transcendent, transformative moment. She recalls the feeling of intimidation that almost sent her packing. Over time, the class did enhance her life as she felt the benefits throughout her transition, but it might not have without the support of a welcoming community of students and instructors. She struggled to find such an affirming place to pose after moving to the Madison area from Los Angeles. Instead of continuing her search, she decided to build the community she sought by launching Dragonfly Hot Yoga.
Students of all shapes, sizes, and skill levels flock to the studio’s award-winning classes, which range from beginner-friendly Intro to Yoga sessions to Advanced Flow routines filled with challenging inversions and arm balances. Spacious classrooms let students move freely, and flooring specifically designed for hot-yoga classes repels sweat and odors. During most yoga classes, the room’s temperature rises to 85–105 degrees, which promotes flexibility and toxin release. The instructors also lead traditional fitness classes, including a boot-camp-style workout filled with resistance training, calisthenics, and plyometrics. Before and after classes, students bond over tea and books in a lounge that’s as cozy as a fireplace wearing a hand-knitted sweater. To help busy parents integrate yoga into their routine, the studio also offers childcare during many morning classes and private yoga sessions, which can be scheduled at a convenient time. Dragonfly Hot Yoga | Barre also offers non-heated yoga and barre-amped classes in their new Studio Mild space.
While teaching jazz dance in the 1960s, Judi Sheppard Missett decided to step away from tradition by offering an experimental class that allowed her students to simply dance without the judgment of mirrors or the constraints of rigid technique. In these sessions, she began infusing popular dance moves with specific fitness workouts to forge a distinctive blend of cardio exercise, strength training, and dance instruction. Little did she know that this “just for fun” class was the prototype for what would become the national fitness sensation known as Jazzercise.
Today, Jazzercise takes its aerobic techniques from a variety of sources that include jazz dance, hip-hop, resistance training, Pilates, yoga, and kickboxing. The class formats, which vary according to different toning goals, are just as diverse as the program's move set. Two-time Dancing with the Stars champion Cheryl Burke is a big fan of the improvisational routines, although her advanced skills aren't needed to get the most out of classes. Instructors cultivate a noncompetitive atmosphere where all exercisers—with the exception of those marked as cursed by jazz-hand palm readers—are welcome regardless of age, build, or fitness background.
Before you even get to Elevation Salon and Spa, you can figure out exactly which practitioner you should be working with. Just take a look at the staff's bios, which include not only their experience levels, but also their specialties. You can find a good match whether you're looking for a fresh new bob, a prenatal massage, or just a stylist with your favorite vowel in their name.
The service menu is just as diverse as the staff. In the salon, stylists use Redken and Bumble and bumble products during cut and color treatments, and nail technicians massage hands and feet with MoroccanOil bodycare products before coating nails with OPI and Shellac polishes. In the spa, massage therapists can treat tension with services that range from hot-stone massage to reiki. For their part, aestheticians set to work removing dirt and oil with custom facials and excess fuzz with waxing.
Across four floors in the same building, Capital Fitness promotes further wellness with 35,000 sq. ft. of weights, top-end cardio equipment, and more than 80 classes per week. Several varieties of yoga and pilates populate the schedule, as do TRX, spin, and zumba classes. After workouts, patrons can grab a protein drink from the juice bar or relax in the sauna.
In 1996, a group of climbers wanted to create a safe space where they could regularly experience the adrenaline rush of scaling walls while sharing that passion with the community. In turn, they erected more than 8,000 square feet of climbing surface area at Boulders Climbing Gym. It's marked by steep overhangs and dappled with clay holds that are made in-house, which give the walls a sense of authenticity with respect to common holds made out of plastic or recycled cereal marshmallows. Able to accommodate climbers of all ages and experience levels, the gym’s walls facilitate three types of climbing ranging from roped-in lead climbing to bouldering, a more freestyle brand of climbing. Before beginners head to climb, Boulders’ expertly trained staff dedicate about 15 minutes to teach basic climbing techniques such as safely handling the ropes and executing flawless Spiderman impressions. Along with free-climbing sessions, Boulders also offers a host of programs and classes that include everything from yoga to team building to kid’s summer camps. Guests can also by book a party room to celebrate birthdays and other special occasions.
Snuggly situated within one of Madison’s largest health clubs, the Capital Fitness yoga studio offers a serene reprieve from the intense muscle maintenance occurring outside the studio. Here, guests find workouts that test both body and mind, where certified instructors tweak postures according to tradition and the abilities of each practitioner. Beginners build a firm foundation for practice in classes such as gentle flow or alignment yoga, which focuses on correct positioning and ends with an optional head massage to calm the mind and erase all memories of Cats Don’t Dance. Advanced study leads stretchers to kundalini classes, which combine deeper poses with breath work and meditation, while vinyasa flow yoga turns up the heat and the pace in a heated studio that promotes deeper stretches and increased energy.
Classes often incorporate soothing extras such as calming music, aromatherapy, and moisturizing drops for third eyes. Come summer time, the building opens its roof top studio to allow students to stretch their stuff in the fresh air, surrounded by inspiring views of Madison’s scenic lakes and landmarks such as the Capitol building.
Dave Gerry started the Princeton Club with three simple tenets in mind: great trainers, exceptional equipment, and easy access. To realize that dream, he assembled a team of American College of Sports Medicine–certified personal trainers to helm the cardio and strength-training centers 24 hours a day.
Whether working out solo, in a group class, or with a trainer to remind them that bench-pressing beehives is safer with a spotter, guests can drop their young ones off at the free childcare center. Splashes fill the natatorium as swimmers paddle across the six-lane lap pool, as the resistance-current pool's adjustable waves enable guests to walk in place. A dip in the whirlpool soothes stress, and the steam room's eucalyptus aromatherapy and sauna's rejuvenating heat send bodies back into the world refreshed. Above the club, tennis and soccer players soak in vistas of Madison as they duke it out on the rooftop garden's turf. The competition continues indoors on basketball, racquetball, and volleyball courts.