A subtle heat spreads throughout Fuel the Soul, distinct from the scorching air at hot-yoga studios that warm the room with thermostats. The muscle-melting energy seeps into muscles, coaxing tension away. This brand of heat comes from a system that emits infrared rays, capable of penetrating deeper into tissues and detoxifying patrons while they move through classic yoga poses. Co-owner Greg Fine explains to Patch.com, "Exercising … in an infrared heated sauna can help you burn calories much faster." The heat emanates from lamps that, according to Greg, are identical to those used by surgeons in neonatal hospital units and fast-food line-cooks in NASA space vessels. Customers can reap the heat's benefits, which include a faster metabolism and easier healing, whether they’re attending yoga classes or simply steeping in the far-infrared sauna.
Another offering as unusual as a cat and dog that only fight about who loves the other more is the Gyrotonic workout, "a unique method that uses movements found in swimming, yoga, and tai chi and helps improve strength, flexibility, balance, and coordination." Greg—who studied under Juliu Horvath, the Romanian dancer and exile who developed the exercise to recover after tearing his Achilles tendon and rupturing a few spinal disks—teaches the technique to students of all fitness levels and ages, whether they’re recovering from injuries or courting greater flexibility.
The more than a dozen brick-and-mortar locations that make up Ultimate Champions Taekwondo Association share not only a style of combat, but a teaching philosophy as well. Tracing the lineage of their combative art back to Grandmaster Sang K. Oh, the instructors adhere to his teachings, exemplified by the quote, "The person who can defeat others with flashy techniques but is without love toward his fellow man will in the end defeat himself." Students use the physical empowerment of mastering jumps, kicks, and weapons to arm themselves with discipline, confidence, concentration, self-respect, and courtesy for others.
Outside of the classroom, the organization reaches out to the tri-state community with ample demonstrations of some of their most exciting techniques. Practitioners soar skyward in flying kicks or fill the air with the whirring blows of nunchakus, bos, and kamas. Fists slam through boards, balloons, and bricks to demonstrate the striking power of tae kwon do and the structural flaws in the Three Little Pigs' panic room.
Jem Yoga's seven experienced instructors strengthen mind, body, and soul via a wide-ranging array of classes, offering instruction to all skill levels. Jem Yoga specializes in Hatha yoga, a holistic practice that connects poses, postures, and meditative practices. Classes range from Level I beginner classes to open and intensive yoga classes and a yoga-Pilates hybrid, with each drop of sweat releasing stress, restoring serenity, and perfuming the air with peace. Whether dexterous as rubber bands or unbending as 1950s gender roles, muscles can achieve maximum stretch with minimum pain thanks to the availability of free yoga mats, blocks, and straps, and neither previous experience nor lotus tattoos are necessary to join in the bendy fun.
At Integral Ballet School, a staff of professional dancers leads students of all ages and ability levels in learning the art of movement. Instructors teach children and adults the skills needed to elegantly perform ballet and tap dances, or entrance onlookers with more experimental modern and hip-hop moves. For adults, they also lead a series of fitness-focused dance classes, including ballet boot camp and belly dancing, along with yoga and Pilates sessions to help students achieve lithe dancer bods.
At CrossFit Strong Island, a collection of fitness specialists, athletes, and coaches lead training programs within a sprawling 7,500-square-foot strength and conditioning facility. Their programs combine weightlifting, gymnastics, and high-intensity cardio exercise for an efficient overall-fitness routine. Additionally, each program is held in a group setting for extra camaraderie and social support.