At Sunstone Yoga, students radiate calm and self-awareness as they practice ancient poses designed to stretch, strengthen, and purify the body. Instructors complete 500 hours of training in yogic techniques, teaching, and physiology before leading classes, so they can hand out researched, tested tips on safety and alignment. Most classes come in 30-, 60-, and 90-minute varieties and focus on energy or restorative relaxation. A two-class introductory series welcomes beginners with basic standing poses, and the popular fire series explores up to 34 poses in a 99-degree room that loosens muscles to facilitate deeper stretches as it ousts toxins. Filled with soothing music and 90-degree temperatures, the water series cultivates more serenity than getting a massage from a singing whale.
Allen Yoga Center founder and certified instructor Brook Cheatham believes that "Yoga is more than an exercise. It gets into you at the very core of your being … your emotional baggage is stripped away along with your ego.” After years spent as an instructor at various studios, Brook decided to open her own space, where students can reflect on themselves while cultivating their physical and mental well being. The mocha-stained hardwood floors complement the yoga center's warm plum-and-gold walls, which are intentionally bare, hosting only a single portrait of a multilimbed deity, Gary the Octopus. Brook leads classes ranging in intensity from the cardiovascular-stimulating Vinyasa to the restorative and meditative Hatha. Regular workshops welcome guest instructors to educate students on a variety of wellness topics, and the teacher-training program grants knowledge to those who wish to someday lead their own classes.:m]]
Cathy Moses Baldasserini studied dance and therapy and received full scholarships to New York dance conservatories such as Martha Graham and Alvin Ailey. She began practicing Pilates as a way to hone and refine her body, the instrument of her self-expression. Now, she teaches it full time at her fitness-dedicated studio, Pilates for Life.
Joined by nine other teachers, Cathy reforms students' bodies with both basic and machine-assisted Pilates, yoga, kettlebells, and tai chi classes. She uses Pilates for its renowned ability to strengthen the site of injuries or chronic pain and to provide conditioning for weak joints, problem backs, and those who have osteoporosis. She also implements devices such as reformers—a system of pulleys and sliding platforms that enhance Pilates's classic horizontal exercises—and towers, which incorporate the natural resistance of gravity into Pilates movements.
Owners Dusty Solis and Emily Scoville and their team of eight instructors teach dance to students ages two and up at Pure Movement Dance and Fitness. They start tykes off with short classes to teach rhythm and coordination, before delving into specific styles such as ballet, jazz, or tap. Ultimately, they help prepare young dancers for competition, or at least arm adults with moves to blend in at a party or when they fall onto the stage at a musical.
While dancers work in the studios, family members can wait in the lobby, observing all the action on flat screen televisions synched with cameras in each studio. They can even purchase gifts to give each tiny dancer after class from the in-studio boutique, tucked neatly into a corner of the 8,800-square-foot facility.
The star and choreographer of 18 Buns of Steel exercise DVDs, owner Leisa Hart has well-documented experience. She leverages it to teach yoga and Pilates classes, and also offers pampering treatments that soothe sore muscles. She and her staff lead many classes with scalable exercises, intensifying Pilates routines with the addition of a ballet bar or providing asana modifications to gently strengthen physiques with injuries. Her video-production history informs her entire classroom experience, from the upbeat tenor of her instruction to the subdued tones of her studio?s walls and the space marines shooting lasers in the background?an homage to her work with James Cameron.
Despite her background as a dancer and fitness instructor, Salena Quinlan-Shults was always hesitant to try yoga. It was only at the urging of a friend at the University of Central Oklahoma––where Salena was studying kinesiology––that she decided to give yoga a chance and found herself immediately hooked by the mind-body connection that the practice offered. Convinced that she had found her true calling, she went on to earn certification through both YogaFit and Purple Lotus teacher training before trading her stressful corporate job for a peaceful occupation as the owner of Yoga on Main.
Today, Salena and her fellow certified instructors lead students through tranquil poses inside the intimate and earthy studio, which they keep warm to facilitate effective stretches. During power-yoga classes, they turn up the heat even higher to release toxins and aid weight loss, and so they recommend that students arrive wearing garments made with wicking capabilities or sewn from bags of frozen peas. Prenatal classes teach techniques that can help expectant moms cope with labor pains and keep them healthy after their bundles of joy arrive, whereas a lineup of ever-changing workshops includes topics that help kids develop healthy habits and teach adults how to clear their chakras.