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.
To help students of all ages and abilities stave of injuries and retain youthful flexibility, instructors turn to Bikram Choudhury’s unique spin on yoga, leading a fixed series of 26 postures in 105-degree heat. The heat helps deepen each stretch, kick start circulation, detoxify the body, and disguise any chronic sweating conditions. Bikram Yoga Milwaukee's instructors host more than 50 weekly classes between both locations.
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.
Seven days a week, the instructors at Milwaukee Power Yoga draw from their own extensive yoga trainings to conduct classes for all experience levels, from a beginner's class for newbie yogis to an advanced class for yoga pros. On the wooden floors of a 95-degree studio, they shepherd perspiring students through vinyasa flow poses, connecting postures to breath in a continuous flow that flushes toxins from the body. Through stretching, balancing, and strengthening exercises, instructors help their pupils build muscles, bolster stamina, align spines, and increase flexibility. The heat assists connective tissue with elasticity, which decreases the risk of injury.
The teachers also encourage students to replenish electrolytes after class, whether by drinking sports beverages or licking the salt off snowplow bumpers. Everyone should feel free to work at their own pace, a mindset further promoted by the instructors' willingness to offer variations for each pose, making classes accessible to everyone.
Riverwest Yogashala focuses on Iyengar yoga, a composite of ancient yoga practices and contemporary innovation, in its weekly classes for all experience levels. Master molders lead body-bending sessions that incorporate a series of standing poses to improve flexibility, increase strength and balance, and align spines for easier overcoat maneuverability. Props such as blocks and straps buoy pose performance throughout each muscle-strengthening class level. Expectant mothers and newly minted moms can attend pre- and post-natal classes to embrace bodily forms and boost personal health. A nonprofit yoga center, Riverwest Yogashala schedules multiple classes daily, and offers free sessions every month to encourage first-time yogis to reap the benefits of regular back bends, downward-facing dogs, or salami salaams.
As a former professional MMA fighter and seasoned personal trainer, Adam Von Rothfelder, owner of Drench Fitness Boutique, knows how much dedication and sweat go into a truly effective workout. That's why he takes care to add a personal touch when working with each client?leading a team of trainers with advanced fitness certifications in developing custom personal-training programs. Group classes also help students sculpt muscles and shed pounds by blending boxing or strength training with intensive cardio-interval training. TRX equipment, kettlebells, and Woodway Curve treadmills enhance exercise sessions.