Led by martial artist Bill Essex, a Shaolin kung fu and tai chi black belt, Shaolin-Do Martial Arts trains children and adults in the time-honored Eastern discipline of combat. At Shaolin-Do, students can prepare to become black belts or train for competitions, but that’s never the main focus. Instead, the instructors hope to instill confidence and skill through a fitness activity they can practice for life. Shaolin-Do blends hard and soft arts to develop internal and external strength simultaneously. Along with kung fu and tai chi classes, students can also participate in month-long boot camps that incorporate martial-arts moves and other exercise techniques for full-body workouts.
The artists at Wine and Canvas awaken their students? inner Rembrandts and Van Goghs with classes that pair a featured painting with specialty cocktails and wines. The mobile business's monthly calendar includes themed classes in which instructors expound on the nuances of painting Parisian street lamps, Japanese flowers, or Venetian cityscapes. Local artists provide step-by-step instructions while students mimic each stroke and periodically dip their brushes into glasses filled with crimson cabernet. When the artistic event concludes, students return home with a finished masterpiece large enough to conceal any wall safe or mirror portal.
CrossFit Body-Mechanic’s coach Casey Schmidt—who placed among the top 21% of athletes at the 2012 CrossFit Games Open—blasts away body fat with what he calls “the sport of fitness.” He and his students compete against their own best times, heaviest weights, and highest number of reps to become leaner, meaner functional athletes.
When Maria Espinoza dances, she feels free from both everyday worries and chronic health problems. She opened Dancin' Motion to share this feeling with others, giving the community a creative outlet for dance, art, and music lessons. Instructors lead dance classes such as salsa, belly dance, and Zumba to shake the dust off advanced students' dancing shoes or train beginners in dance basics. Each month at social dances, DJ David fills the sprawling studio space and adjoining outdoor patio, available for private event rental, with the rhythms of upbeat Latin tunes and the sound effects of downbeat Latin legal dramas. During daylight hours, congas, timbales, and bongos fill class spaces with Latin percussion during private music lessons.
Staffed by a certified team of yoga-teaching women—some of whom have racked up more than 700 teaching hours—Asana carves out a serene space where people can refuel energy reserves. Students from every skill level downward dog into a variety of classes that cycle between Vinyasa and hot flow to stimulate circulation, feeding muscles with oxygen, or guided meditation that unwinds tendons in classes that focus on relieving stress with meditation. Expectant mothers wind limbs around baby bumps in prenatal sessions, and classes for kids aged 5–10 initiate little ones with stretching exercises, focused breathing, singing, and games. The studio itself reflects inner peace as beams of natural light amble through sheer floor-to-ceiling curtains and soothing music gives patrons back massages.
With machines set up in rows to encourage competition, many ordinary gyms cater to men's bodies and psychology, right down to the urinals that were "accidentally" installed in the women's locker room. At Curves, you'll move around a circuit of hydraulic resistance machines that have been designed to work with women's bodies and promote weight loss, protect against osteoporosis, and deal with arthritis. An experienced trainer is always nearby to help manage your machine maneuvering and your muscle making. Instead of fiddling with weight stacks and losing your momentum, the hydraulic machines use your body weight and fitness level to create resistance that matches your abilities, decreasing the risk of soreness or injury. Because traditional lift-and-lower motions create bulky muscles, each machine uses push-and-pull motions to create toned, lean muscles perfect for crushing a grapefruit without looking like you can.