Despite many obvious differences, new yogis and fighter pilots share a common fear: turning upside-down for the first time. At Yoga Sakti, however, instructors have installed a yoga wall that acts as a fail-safe for students who want to practice their inversions. A system of straps and props support pupils as they attempt advanced postures or strive to overcome physical difficulties, such as back problems. An aid for beginners and experts alike, the wall also acts as a symbol of the large studio's welcoming, encouraging atmosphere.
When they aren't manning the wall, yoga instructors lead classes in a wide variety of styles, from heated Vinyasa sequences to mellow gentle-stretch sessions or even mellower Nap in Your Parked Car seminars. Variety is a major theme running through the gym's curriculum: TRX routines bookend spin classes and ballet-barre workouts or combine with kettlebell swings to form one of several combo classes. For a more meditative visit, guests can explore the onsite wellness center, where massage, acupuncture, and hypnosis therapy aim to calm the mind.
A power-flow yoga studio and life-coaching center, Ajna Yoga Center is all about awareness. This awareness is about the mind as much the body—each yoga class, though an athletic workout, starts and ends with mind-body awareness practices. These are meant to bring self-awareness not only to the practice of yoga, but also to students’ overall lives. The center’s life coach uses compassion and guidance to help clients reach their full potential. In addition to regular weekly yoga classes, students can also learn the basics of heated, power-flow yoga at an eight-week workshop.
To help women achieve their fitness goals, the certified personal trainers at Get In Shape For Women focus on four areas: weight training, cardio training, nutrition, and accountability. In small group sessions, trainers modify exercises to suit up to four ladies' fitness levels, beginning by calibrating strength-training sessions—such as free weights, lunges, and squats—to each client's abilities while still ensuring they are challenging themselves. Then comes high-intensity cardio interval-training sessions in which trainers encourage exercisers to achieve optimal results on the treadmill or elliptical.
The trainers supplement the group workouts with nutritional planning centered around the concept of eating six small, balanced meals six days a week. They set aside the seventh day as a "free day" for a bit of indulgence, be it eating a favorite sweet or lusting openly after bacon. To hold their women accountable, trainers talk nutrition on the floor during scheduled appointments, and the ladies' progress toward reaching their goals is measured by trainers each week.
Newcomers need have no fear of strain or overstretching at HotCore Yoga. Founder Peter Sklivas designed the 33-posture series to lengthen and strengthen the core while protecting the muscles from injury. Long, slow ujaya breaths help call up the body's healing faculties, and the warmth of the heated studio helps increase range of motion and free tension from the limbs. This attention to detail makes his 90-minute classes as appropriate for grandparents as they are for elite athletes or aspiring pretzel impersonators. As popular music from one of over 350 playlists fills the room, students of all levels move into ever-deeper poses, freeing the mind and fostering a sense of connection to the soul.
You'll get five adult group lessons, which convene in the evenings several times a week (click here to see the Boston schedule and here to see the North schedule). Schedule a ballet, jazz, or tap class to pick up where you left off twinkling your childhood toes, or start learning ballroom dance; it's easier to stay motivated and appreciate classical dance techniques as an adult, when waning Cinderella-fascination is compensated for by the twin feet of patience and discipline.