Exhale Spa seeks to transform its clientele inside and out. The founding team of fitness professionals and aestheticians sought to create an environment where they could empower visitors with pampering spa treatments, invigorating fitness classes, and lifestyle education, helping clients attain a sense of control and holistic balance. Now with 19 locations across 11 cities, Exhale Spa and its signature services have earned mentions in numerous national publications, including People magazine, the New York Times, and O, The Oprah Magazine.
Exhale's signature Core Fusion classes incorporate dance-inspired stretches, yoga poses, and Pilates exercises into total-body workouts that build long, lean limbs and sturdy abdominal muscles over time. For an even more varied workout, the instructors introduce boot-camp techniques, cardio exercises, or multiplication tables to select sessions. Yoga classes present a similar amount of breadth and variety, drawing inspiration from a number of introspective and physically oriented styles. To help hasten physical transformations, nutrition and wellness coaches teach attendees about the impacts of diet. These sessions build an awareness of healthy eating habits through custom meal plans and by teaching clients how to identify the edible parts of a fruit basket.
Many of the center's traditional spa services seek to inspire confidence. Facials pamper and refine skin using everything from green tea and fruit extracts to microcurrent technology, and mani-pedis revitalize digits before glazing nails with a vibrant new coat of color. Bodywork treatments look beyond physical relaxation and focus on holistic concerns. Massage therapists can use Eastern or Western modalities to soothe overstressed musculature, and acupuncture treatments and reiki sessions jump-start natural healing processes by encouraging the free flow of inner energies.
Owner Richard Lanza began Open Doors as a metaphysical healing center and store in 1992, and he carried that healing spirit into the yoga studio he opened in 2003. At Open Doors Yoga Studios, Richard's goal is to create a space where people feel empowered to explore their personal beliefs on a path toward self-healing. Thus, yoga instructors at the studio's numerous locations help practitioners achieve their personal goals through accessible classes, each designed to build core strength while quieting the mind and increasing body awareness. From slow-flow heated classes to unheated Hatha sessions, students can participate in a variety of yoga styles geared toward beginners, more experienced participants, and those who only feel comfortable in a 98-degree room.
On a recent birthday, Shawn Shaw reflected on her life. There had been lessons learned about love, happiness, and the inherent beauty of life that is present even amid disappointment. For Shawn, a dedicated practice of yoga and meditation was the wellspring for many of the lessons learned. The teenage Shawn kept fit as a distance runner, first picking up yoga as a supplementary form of exercise and stretching. It wasn't until a few years later, amid a storm of personal struggles, that she discovered the healing properties of daily practice. Today she credits yoga with transforming her physical and emotional health and cultivating a peaceful attitude. Moreover, her newfound clarity and mental presence become something Shawn had to share. She opened her own studio, Metrowest Yoga, in 2005. Now with two locations in Westborough and Worcester, the curriculum includes Shawn's own invention, Myoga Hot Hatha, which is grounded in stillness and allows students to hold poses longer than usual as they make peace between breath and body.
Metrowest Yoga's studio focuses on building a strong healthy body and cultivating a calm, peaceful mind. The styles offered are mostly vigorous in a heated room but some gentle restorative classes are offered too. Regularly scheduled classes include Vinyasa or Flow, Hatha and Ashtanga styles. Beginner’s classes or a 6 week Brand New Beginner’s course are also offered.
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The pressure was starting to get to Karoun Charkoudian, much like a teakettle when an entire family stares at it impatiently. She had completed grad school and was looking for a corporate gig, and this new phase in life was causing her a lot of confusion. But all of that went away when a friend brought her to a Bikram yoga class in 2003. There, she discovered newfound peace and clarity. In the years that followed, Karoun completed teacher training for several types of yoga, including Vinyasa flow and Iyengar, and became heavily influenced by the meditative movements of Chinese qi gong.
Now she shares her expertise within the bright green walls at Karoun Yoga. The intimate, modern studio is also home to other experienced instructors who approach yoga from the realms of fitness, rehabilitation, dance, and spirituality.
Seasoned boat captains and crustacean prospectors Sig Hansen, Johnathan Hillstrand, and Andy Hillstrand gather to share with audience members their tales of struggle and survival during crab season on the high seas, as partly documented by the Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch. Fishing the Bering Sea in the middle of winter demands strong wills—which can come together in times of treacherous weather and 100-foot waves or come to blows about who performs better in the three-legged crabwalk race. Selected audience members will also have the chance to don the survival suits from the Time Bandit. Following the story-swapping and previously unreleased video footage, greenhorns and avid fans will have the opportunity to launch questions at the captains, wave giant foam claws, and learn how to communicate in claw-snap Morse code.
Between launching city-centric websites like Cambridge Uncommon and Salem Uncommon and teaching journalism classes at Cambridge Community TV, freelance journalist Sam Baltrusis wrote his book Ghosts of Boston: Haunts of the Hub. In its pages he reveals 300 years of city history and ghost stories. He details unexplained sounds and hovering objects seen inside the Hub’s dorm rooms, apparitions witnessed on the Boston Common, and a colonial British solider glimpsed on the tracks at the Boylston station. His deft pen has also led him to become a regional stringer for The New York Times and his second book, Ghosts of Cambridge: Haunts of Harvard Square and Beyond hit shelves in September 2013.
Not content with relegating his words to the page, Sam also brings them to life through seasonal walking tours. Guides lit by handheld lanterns lead guests through the shadowy streets of downtown Boston. They divulge stories of murder and recall Cambridge's ominous history. They also answer questions such as which Harvard hall is the most haunted, which area church is home to the ghost of a British redcoat soldier, and which famously mustachioed ghosts are just wearing fake mustaches. The founder's literary background shows through on the tours, too, which are peppered with the lore of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Charles Dickens, and Edgar Allen Poe. When he's not guiding in-person guests, Sam doubles as a paranormal expert on the Biography Channel's, "Haunted Encounters" and on Ryan Buell's Paranormal Insider Radio.
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