Ann Kamhi Toran credits Pilates practice with saving her dancing career. After a major back injury threatened her ability to continue performing, Ann devoted herself to Pilates, and the exercises helped rehabilitate her body so effectively that she was eventually promoted to soloist after recovering. Although she stopped professionally dancing more than 20 years ago, Ann still practices Pilates daily.
Ann?s husband, Dr. Errol Toran, also is a believer in the rejuvenating capabilities of Pilates, and he suggested it to his chiropractic patients, incorporating the exercises into their physical rehabilitation. Together, Ann and Dr. Toran decided to create a studio that shared these benefits with the general public, introducing the time-honored exercise techniques that improve posture and build lean, toned muscles.
The studio boasts four locations throughout the New York area, each featuring an arsenal of traditional Pilates equipment. The signature apparatus, the Reformer, generates gentle resistance with a system of springs, pulleys, and miniature black holes. Students push and pull against this resistance while performing sequences of relatively simple movements that require unwavering mental focus to maintain the ideal technique and alignment. By emphasizing controlled, quality movements over flailing your body against a boulder, Pilates exercises can evenly tone muscles across the entire body, with a particular emphasis on the core muscle groups.
Ann and Dr. Toran encourage their instructors to take initiative when leading classes and tailor the pacing or sequence to accommodate students, but each studio does host sessions for particular skill levels. Introductory and Level 1 classes work to develop form and technique, whereas the more advanced sessions begin to include modified exercises or long-division flashcards to ensure a more challenging workout.
After fist-punching his way through the U.S. Army's basic training program, bobbing and weaving through an amateur boxing career, and drop-kicking every last test that stood between him as his law degree, the poet-warrior Edward Rush opened a commercial gym in Washington, DC. He soon grew tired of folding towels for patrons who only wanted to use his gym as a place to read magazines or watch TV while they jogged, so he closed up shop, moved to NYC, and opened a personal-training gym and fitness laboratory. There, he earned the nickname "The Mad Scientist" for his grueling, inventive, and rewarding training method, called IFS.
For a quick, intense workout, students can turn to the gym's CrossFit classes. CrossFit incorporates a fusion of strength and cardiovascular conditioning exercises that grant bodies with sculpting, toning, and endurance-boosting benefits in less than an hour. In fact, many members hustle through the retinue of handstand pushups and Olympic-style power cleans on their lunch hours via the gym's power lunch program, which includes a paleo-diet meal delivery when the workout is completed. Whether over lunch, early in the morning, or at the end of an office day, students can attend classes up to six days a week and retire to well appointed locker rooms equipped with showers, towel service, and complimentary grooming products.
As a board-certified anesthesiologist and licensed aesthetic physician who has even trained in cosmetic acupuncture, Dr. Roxana B. Kerns, M.D. is well-versed in nearly every type of anti-aging treatment. There's one she doesn't offer, however?invasive surgery. That's because she's mastered a range of techniques that accomplish what was once only achieved through surgical procedures.
For example, instead of subjecting patients to the pain of rhinoplasty or blepharoplasty, Dr. Kerns is able to smooth out the nose's profile with injectable fillers and banish dark circles under the eyes with fat-transfer techniques and laser treatments. She was also selected as an expert injector by the National Laser Institute, making her uniquely qualified to administer Botox, Dysport, and Xeomin injections that target fine lines on the face. Orchid Aesthetics also features an arsenal of laser technology designed to mend aesthetic issues of all types, including wrinkles, sagging skin, hyperpigmentation, unwanted hair, and spider veins.
In her quest to stamp out sun damage, Dr. Kerns recently developed her own line of organic skincare formulas that hydrate, boost collagen production, and reflect UV rays away from the face and onto the nearest pool party.
Donna Rubin and Jennifer Lobo have extensive experience in Bikram yoga. Donna, a former Broadway performer, noticed that actors, musicians, and stagehands had little space to stretch and warm up before their performances. In turn, she chose the theater district for her flagship BIkram Yoga studio built in 1998, when Bikram was just gaining in popularity. The first Bikram Yoga NYC location soon blossomed into seven yoga rooms spread across four locations, and all are covered in Flotex anti-microbial flooring. This waterproof flooring protects against germs more effectively than than wood floors or cooties shots. Hygiene is important when practicing Bikram yoga, as the increased temperatures cause participants to work up a healthy sweat.
On the flipside, Jennifer has an athletic background, with experience in everything from marathons to soccer and tennis. She also worked as the communications director for IMG—a powerful force in the world of sports marketing. Together, Rubin and Lobo produced the very first Yoga Asana Championship in New York. They continue to do so each year while leading a team of more than 70 certified instructors who host nearly 300 classes each week, making it convenient for clients to fit sessions in to busy schedules.
World Martial Arts Center isn’t just a gym where individuals can improve their muscle tone or fine-tune their roundhouse kick—it’s a refuge designed to help clients build both inner and outer strength. These lofty aims motivate the center’s instructors, who help students achieve their goals. During hapkido classes, they teach seven techniques—strikes, blocks, holds, throws, weapons, internal techniques, and healing—that combine to create one fluid and versatile mode of self-defense. Alternatively, trainers also lead groups through a series of punches and kicks during kickboxing classes, which use combat moves to create a high-octane, total-body workout. Equipped with 25 years of hapkido and kickboxing training and instruction, Master David Herbert teaches beginner classes, available at both locations.
Inside the dojang, or school, Eastern-style tapestries and plants set guests at ease as they work toward physical or metaphysical improvement. To that end, World Martial Arts Center complements its training regimens with health and nutrition advice. In addition, both the Brooklyn and Manhattan locations boast locker rooms for men and women, where guests can shower after a vigorous training session or lock up their Bruce Lee bobble heads while they work out.
Harlem Yoga Studio makes the ancient art accessible to yogis of all kinds. In its environment of relaxing deep breathing and playful stretches, which has received acclaim for its unique classes, moms and dads work through mountain poses with their kids during family sessions, and plus-sized patrons build flexibility in full-figured yoga.
Led by New York native and doula Laurel Katz-Bohen and former soccer player Erica Barth, the impassioned instructors spread their yogic teachings during studio sessions. Light floods the bamboo-floored space as toddlers caper across tiny yoga mats or prenatal yogis learn belly-dancing with instructors drifting about to offer individualized adjustments and challenging Full House trivia questions in the various classes.
Skilled yogis drop into Vinyasa Flow sessions, where students explore smoothly cascading transitions and gale-strength exhalations, incorporating dynamic strengthening poses into the style's assorted bends and twists. Workshops and outreach programs bring yoga practices into the community, some focusing on a specific style and others examining how to use yoga to help classmakes and colleagues work more peacefully and effectively together.