At Yoga Shelter, you won't hear esoteric chants echoing through the halls or meditation music reverberating from rock-shaped speakers. That's because founder Eric Paskel wants to make yoga accessible for all students, whether they're searching for inner peace or a more toned bod. Contemporary and classic music accompanies classes that range from Yoga Rocks, which focuses on sequenced postures, to classes like Xflowsion, a combination of yoga, martial arts, and dance that can be repeated at home or at your boss's wedding reception. There is no hierarchy of classes; each 60- to 75-minute session is open to all skill levels. As Paskel himself puts it on his about page, “What's different about us is that we admit we have issues, we know we have work to do—if you can relate to that, you'll love this place.”
"When we teach—from babyhood—people to move well, they'll enjoy doing it, and they'll continue doing it." Such is the philosophy of Gymco president and co-founder Doreen Bolhuis, which she relayed to the New York Times in a 2010 video report. The importance of starting young kids on the road toward athleticism is something Bolhuis is passionate about, especially as a former elite-level gymnastics coach who's been teaching for more than 35 years. It's a concept she calls "physical literacy," and she's appeared on news outlets such as Today, CNN, and ABC News to discuss how young children's physical training and development is just as important as their mental growth. Along those lines, Bolhuis created the GymTrix line of DVDs to help parents develop babies' fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
And Bolhuis's enthusiasm for childhood fitness is apparent at Gymco, where her staff undergoes a four-step technical and philosophical certification protocol on sports development. She has transformed what began in 1980 as a few classes held in a barn behind a local retirement home into a 5-acre, 16,000-square-foot first location and a second, state-of-the-art facility on the north side of town.
When you walk into either site, you'll see kids scaling rock walls, doing back flips, and defying imaginary pirates as they walk the plank-like high beam, improving their physical skills in sports, gymnastics, and cheerleading classes. What aren't as obvious are the internal changes that begin to manifest, from improved self-confidence and perseverance to the gradual building of character. Fulfilling her start-them-early mission, Bolhuis also offers classes designed specifically for preschoolers and kindergartners.
Since 1976, the instructors at Dance Scene have been improving the dance-floor navigational skills of students ranging from beginners to seasoned pros—the latter being any professional dancers covered in black pepper and basil. In a private or group environment, teachers share the basic steps and advanced moves of ballroom and Latin styles. They also lead regular social dance parties that begin with a specialized lesson covering moves from styles such as the Argentine tango before diving into a free-form celebration of movement. In addition to their time spent at the studio, the Dance Scene team members can lend their services to offsite events.
Patients who visit Dr. William Massey at Elise Laser & Medical Spa know one thing: they won't be in for a long recovery period after undergoing one of his cosmetic procedures. That's because the doctor sticks to treatments that require minimal—if any—downtime, from photofacials and Botox to chemical peels and Aluma skin renewal. A particular attraction is fractional-laser skin resurfacing, a treatment that makes the skin seem firmer and decreases wrinkles after just 10–20 minutes.
High cholesterol and high blood pressure—the doctor who gave trainer Emeka Umeh this diagnosis unknowingly lit a fire beneath a patient already tired of his XXL-sized wardrobe. Emeka worked to overcome the unhealthy habits that had fallen into, completing hardcore workouts that eventually slimmed him down to a mere 10.3% body fat. With compassion for those in similar plights, Emeka now guides patrons of all fitness levels through intensive workouts designed to boost their metabolism and tone their musculature at Fit Body Boot Camp. Each session combines both cardio and strength training, drawing together innovative suspension training and battling ropes with primal strength-training techniques that hark back to when early humans first drove their Camaros out of the primordial soup. Over the course of camp, many patrons see slimmer physiques and beefed-up brawn emerge. In addition to leading boot campers, Emeka also offers personal-training services, conducts body assessments to chart his clients' progress, and outlines nutritional plans, pushing his patrons to live healthier lifestyles.
One of three devoted dancers who founded Studio 3 Performing Arts Center, Megan Stanley told the Dexter Patch that she wanted a venue where "girls or guys of any skill level feel they can have a place to dance." Today, the center has broadened her dream by teaching visitors how to become a triple threat onstage. Lessons in music, dance, and theater place its students—some as young as two years—on the road to self-expression, while an atmosphere of fun and acceptance keeps them practicing.
The owners teach most of the classes themselves, building a community of students and parents that trust their expertise and attend regular recitals. This convivial spirit carries over to theater performances, where audience participation and Samuel Beckett's famous call-and-response cheers ensure everyone's involvement. Classes welcome all-comers to try their hand at intuitive cardio workouts and competitive choreography alike, the latter of which has led the studio's crew to a Best in Studio award at the 2012 JUMP dance convention.