Push Pilates owner Val Russell draws from her 10 years of experience studying human physiology and lifelong practice of dance, gymnastics, and circus arts to construct the studio's curriculum of movement-based workouts. During Pilates sessions, students can either learn to perform floor-based mat exercises or opt to work out on the spring-loaded Reformers, Cadillacs, and Wunda Chairs. Yoga-class instructors incorporate athletic poses into flowing Vinyasa-style sequences, linking one pose to the next with balance-challenging movement and breathing exercises. During aerial-arts lessons, students learn to reenact scenes from 2001: A Space Odyssey as they dangle from ceiling-mounted silk slings or metal hoops. Outside of the classroom, the center's massage services can soothe and rejuvenate any weary muscles or vestigial wings.
It takes an extensive, nine-week training program—during which one must attend yoga lectures, practice Bikram yoga in a 105-degree-room at least twice a day, and complete a comprehensive training regimen—to achieve a license to teach Bikram yoga. Renowned yogi Bikram Choudhury passes down his wisdom during this program, and every single member of Bikram Yoga Memphis’s staff has been there to receive it. Today, in classes taught seven days a week, they share the exercises and lessons they learned in that fiery classroom.
The recently renovated 1,400-square-foot classroom at Bikram Yoga Memphis features industrial-heating equipment capable of melting stiffness in muscles as if it were a popsicle on the sun. Students of all skill levels work up a sweat as they bend, twist, and stretch through Bikram’s 26 asanas and two breathing exercises.
Innovation is alive and well at Pilates of Collierville, a wellness studio whose instructors specialize in Stott Pilates, an updated system based on the original Pilates technique developed in the 1920s. Stott augments the original core-strengthening workouts of Pilates with new forms of resistance, building students’ muscles with equipment such as exercise mats, resistance bands, and wading pools filled with half-churned butter.