Synergy Yoga holds small gatherings of passionate yogis as they stretch and build muscles in 1 of the 50 classes offered each week. Various styles of yoga, including traditional Hatha flow, focus on deep breathing, and more rigorous classes, such as hot core Vinyasa or hot power yoga, combine the sweat-inducing powers of a heated studio with moves that can makes tummies tighter than an elf's shoes on a pro basketball player.
A wrought-iron gate opens into an alley wall lined with bright verdant foliage and skinny trees. This greenery snakes onto a stone path, which leads to Synergy Yoga’s curved red doors. The first thing that hits visitors inside the yoga sanctuary is the color: mustard-yellow and two-tone green walls, red accents up the stairs, and crisp white moulding. The main studio swims with light filtered in from high windows set in the towering two-story ceilings, light that bounces off the white walls and cascades down to the wood flooring.
Focused on supporting the community, Synergy Yoga aims to include all walks of life. Kids' yoga invites youngsters to develop their flexibility, and very advanced yogis can turn their passion into a living with teacher training. Healing arts such as psychic medium reading, meditation, or massage soothe guests in need of some extra care.
Fitness industry veteran Dulcinea Lee Hellings's goal is to bring a high-quality, effective exercise regimen to people who don't love big gyms or can't afford personal trainers. In 2004, she realized that mornings could be used for more than hitting the snooze button over and over for two hours, and founded Boot Camp "Morning Crunch!" to help fledgling exercisers whip into shape.
She designs her all-levels programs to be scream-free morning motivators⎯the first stop in her patrons' journey of daily accomplishments. The fast-paced, ever-changing circuit of strength and cardio exercises keeps bodies guessing and minds from becoming bored. Each of the boot camp's 12 outdoor locations has a different dedicated trainer who gets to know each student personally, remembering their names and memorizing any interesting freckle patterns. They complement their morning routines with a smattering of evening options for those who prefer to work out after the day's activities.
It's hot and humid in Bikram Yoga Miami's studio—the temperatures reach 105 degrees—but not because the air conditioner is broken. Here, the heat and humidity coax muscles to sink deeper into the stretches and cause students to release toxins via beads of sweat during Bikram yoga classes. Certified in the yoga style's 26-posture sequence, the instructors lead students through the poses, helping them increase their strength, flexibility, and range of motion, which comes in handy when one gets the urge to backwards-crabwalk up a wall. Within the balmy studio, sun streams in from the windows and bounces off the full-wall mirrors, illuminating the rows of students as the instructors offer adjustments to the postures to accommodate varying ability levels.
At Sobekick, a boutique boxing studio, wrapped-knuckle students wallop a partner’s punch pads, pummel punching bags, or high-kick invisible targets. Despite all of the aggression in the air, the atmosphere remains friendly as professional fighters and certified trainers help exercisers of all skill levels achieve their fitness goals. To do this, they use personal-training sessions, kickboxing routines, and "wildcard" workouts that could consist of hardcore cardio drills or sincere apologies to bruised punching bags. Sobekick slows things down with yoga classes and tones bodies with specialized classes designed to tighten abs and derrieres.
As a community, Green Monkey is thriving. Across its three locations, it's taken on dozens of instructors who lead more than 36 types of classes, including meditation classes that rely on breathing techniques and silent affirmations to quiet the mind. As if all those class varieties weren't enough, the instructors also put together frequent workshops, many of which teach specific skills such as handstands and inverted backbends.
At first sight, David Barton Gym might appear to be an art gallery or swank pad complete with pounded steel plating and leather-wrapped door handles, but a second glance reveals a 30,000-square-foot fitness haven overlooking the Chicago River. The designer gym is loaded with free weights, cardio machines, a spin studio, steam rooms, a Russian bath, and a space for yoga class. Meet up with an experienced hardbody personal trainer and melt fat like a George Foreman grill with a barrage of pushups, sit-ups, or 20 minutes on the TV-topped elliptical machine. Renew your will with a massage from one of Barton's three full-time therapists and let them unkink the knots that prevent you from having the strength needed to throw a dictionary through a thicker dictionary.