Sunlight filters through the windows of Core Essence Yoga?s loft-style studio, reflecting off the rare patch of hardwood floor that remains uncovered by a colorful yoga mat. Stretch-induced groans escape the lips of students as they lift their legs high into the air or arch their backs and touch their palms to the floor behind them. The studio?s instructors?all of whom are registered yoga teachers and many of whom have achieved 200-hour certifications in their chosen style?look on approvingly and illustrate subsequent poses with their own lithe bodies.
The above scene typifies the classes offered at Core Essence Yoga, a studio on the east side of town that caters to beginners and experienced yogis alike. Music diffuses throughout the semi-heated room during Slow Flow classes that introduce new students to the Vinyasa style with gentle movements and focused breathing techniques. Instructors crank up the thermostat for advanced Power Vinyasa classes, which establish stronger ties between breath and movement and experiment with challenging poses such as arm inversions and downward-facing octopuses. Muscles strained during these sweat-inducing sessions regain their vitality during relaxing Thai bodywork. An ancient form of bodywork that draws on the collected wisdom of 2,500 years, Thai bodywork balances the body?s energy channels, releases emotional blocks, and evaporates stresses.
At Metro Eye, Drs. Amy Jankowski and Kaelyn Zaporski strive not only to outfit their patrons with precise prescriptions but also to educate them about their overall eye health and proactively assess their ocular condition. The doctors' digital eye photography helps to detect any signs of ocular diseases and the hideout of renegade bands of eyelashes, and an epic refraction system maps corneal topographies for a highly accurate prescription. Located in the historic Third Ward amid charming brick buildings and geometric street lamps, the minimalist optical lounge’s contemporary interior provides a streamlined contrast to its surroundings. Natural light floods in through floor-to-ceiling windows, illuminating the built-in display shelves, which encase more than 1,000 designer frames waiting their turn to balance atop equally stylish noses. The optical stylists spend ample time discussing their art with each client, helping them to find frames that match their personal style while satisfying any parrots living on their shoulders.
Light ricochets off the Milwaukee River, sending twinkling photons into Invivo Wellness, a gym and wellness center. On the roof, groups of students drink in the fresh air during seasonal yoga classes, their faces warmed by the sun and hair teased by the cool breezes that jump off the river below. Inside the bustling studio, certified instructors—with backgrounds as diverse as dancing and business—lead students through intense fitness classes. They also coach guests during one-on-one personal-training sessions within the sunny space. Whirring cardio machines comprise just one section of the space's equipment selection upon which clients might train.
Adjacent to the fitness center is Invivo's spa, a quiet and relaxed haven to counter the bustle of its next-door sibling. Populated by certified staff, the spa pampers guests with various massages to complement yoga.
Healthy bodies aren’t born—they’re built. Construction commences at Le Club, where exercisers hone physiques in a fitness center stocked with more than 80 pieces of resistance strength-training and cardiovascular equipment—including treadmills and rowing machines—and a spinning studio with 21 stationary bikes. Ten climate-controlled tennis courts and three racquetball courts await the sound of whizzing spheres, and pools, including the 25-meter indoor and outdoor lane pools and the warm-water-therapy pool, welcome aquatic athleticism.
Spa massages and facials whisk away stress, and locker rooms induce relaxation with attached saunas and recordings of Maya Angelou reciting the phonebook. While parents work out, kids can explore Le Club’s youth offerings, which include a teen space maze and an outdoor playground for younger children.
Dean Farrell believes that anyone can enjoy the benefits of yoga practice. After building a large base of private clients in the Milwaukee area, he opened Yoga Ward–a bright, clean spacious studio that boasts exposed Cream City brick. Here, Farrell guides students of all levels through body-limbering poses while balanced atop colorful mats on polished hardwood floors. He and his staff offer a wide range of Vinyasa-based classes including Vinyasa Groove and Detox Flow, in which instructors boost the temperature to relax muscles, flush out toxins, and melt away the mini snowmen hiding from the sun in your pockets. Through it all, Farrell upholds his mission of providing a warm and non-intimidating environment for people of all backgrounds and levels to explore mind, body, and soul.
No matter the hour, the rhythmic beat of sneakers hitting treadmills resounds in Snap Fitness's 24-hour studio. The network of gyms stretches across the country, each housing state-of-the art cardio and strength-training equipment that scorches huge batches of calories, like an Easy-Bake Oven scorches cookies when it's souped up with nitrous oxide. IPod hookups and TVs turn treadmills and stair steppers into personal entertainment centers. Unlike impersonal big-box gyms, Snap Fitness's staff subtracts intimidation from the experience with free equipment orientations, custom workout plans, nutrition tips, and hand-crocheted workout shorts for all members. During staffed hours, peppy instructors lead fitness classes such as turbo kickboxing, plyometrics, and aerobic blast.