Though its name may conjure fantasies about sprinting down crowded streets or bench-pressing buses stalled in traffic, Urban Active Fitness grants its members abundant space in which to spread out and follow their workout proclivities. At dozens of locations across the Midwest and South, members can sculpt their bodies in whichever manner they choose—from personal training with resistance machines and free weights to group classes in cycling, Zumba, and Pilates. A number of group classes draw on the gym’s urban theme for inspiration. Urban Iron, for example, focuses on building muscles that resemble the cast-iron beams of skyscrapers, and Urban Yoga closely imitates the poses necessary to squeeze onto a subway train at rush hour.
Instructor Denise Ellis combines her background in education with her training in Hatha, Vinyasa, and Ayurveda practices to offer students a variety of yogic opportunities. Awaken muscles and joints in gentle beginner’s sessions designed to teach basic breathing techniques, fundamental poses, and advanced methods for protesting gravity. The postures that encompass the intermediate Hatha classes raise the bar for students’ disciplines as the instructor adds more poses while emphasizing proper body alignment and introducing yoga philosophies into the mix. The schedule boasts both morning and evening classes to provide students with varying lifestyles a chance to downward-dog in a socially acceptable manner.
Caring for oneself is a necessary part of caring for others, according to Joe Sparks, the former triathlete who helms Hot Yoga With Joe. To encourage others to devote more time to their health and loved ones, he and his staff of certified instructors fill fitness classes with both fun and restorative relaxation. Joe channels more than 10 years of teaching experience to lead hot-yoga workouts featuring gentle yet powerful poses that aim to forge cast-iron muscles capable of hurling a paper airplane into orbit. The 95- to 100-degree temperatures unspool tight ligaments and encourage sweat glands to flush toxins out of the nearest pore. New students prepare for their first sessions by completing a mandatory waiver and hydrating themselves thoroughly beforehand.
Integration Yoga Studio offers a packed calendar of holistic fitness options taught by experienced instructors. Yoga classes bring an ancient practice to contemporary efficacy with poses and flows that build flexibility and strength, a sense of well-being, and the ability to forgive picnic-pillaging ant colonies. A variety of class levels is available, from gentle yoga to hatha yoga
Though the certified instructors at Zen in the District – Yoga each lay claim to different style specialties—Hatha, Vinyasa, Sanga, and Amrite among them—they share the aim of heightened self-awareness. Their classes cater to all fitness levels, focusing on introspection more than flawless posing technique or perfect nostril positioning during breath work. Whether they are inside the studio or on the courthouse lawn across the street, the teachers strive to downplay stress with caring vibes. They also apply their compassion to community projects, demonstrating yoga for interested Girl Scout troops and regularly donating to the Seagate Food Bank.
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