With machines set up in rows to encourage competition, many ordinary gyms cater to men's bodies and psychology, right down to the urinals that were "accidentally" installed in the women's locker room. At Curves, you'll move around a circuit of hydraulic resistance machines that have been designed to work with women's bodies and promote weight loss, protect against osteoporosis, and deal with arthritis. Instead of fiddling with weight stacks and losing your momentum, the hydraulic machines use your body weight and fitness level to create resistance that matches your abilities, decreasing the risk of soreness or injury. Because traditional lift-and-lower motions create bulky muscles, each machine uses push-and-pull motions to create toned, lean muscles perfect for crushing a grapefruit without looking like you can.
The instructors at Improvement thru Movement believe in promoting health and wellness by dance-based movement. Inside their unique dance studio, bedecked with custom-made barres and a spring dance floor with a nonslip surface, the instructors lead ballet, ballroom, and dance-based exercise classes. Classes are available for all ages and all levels of ability.
The Little Gym fosters the healthy growth of children by allowing them to progress at their own pace in a nonthreatening, nurturing environment. As wee ones from 4 months to 12 years-old tackle challenges, overcome fears, and learn to confidently express their opinions about Platonic theory, The Little Gym's original music graces their ears and supports their lessons. The month includes four classes that let tots develop through weekly, age-specific curriculum, with programs including pre-school/kindergarten gymnastics, dance, sports-skills development, and karate.
The Pilates Body’s team of certified instructors empowers musculature with yoga and Pilates classes using machines and mats that stretch bods, decompress spines, and calm minds. Pilates mat classes chisel midsections with a 55-minute regimen of resistance workouts that force bodies to reckon with the indefatigable scourge of gravity while focusing on Pilates fundamentals such as mindful breathing, correct spinal and pelvic alignment, and awareness of the body’s desire for pineapple shaved ice. Beginners can attend open-level mat classes and ease into training methods that move at a pace as gentle as a young Bambi, and experienced practitioners challenge limbs in the more rigorous high-intensity Pilates mat class. Students stave off bodily boredom by mixing Pilates with the salubrious stretching of Vinyasa yoga classes or therapeutic hot-yoga classes, where instructors guide pupils through a series of asanas in sweat-breaking 95-degree heat, ideal for purging the body of toxins and the mind of John Mellencamp lyrics.
Though he has studied, practiced, and taught yoga in such far-flung locales as Mexico and Southeast Asia, Zeb Homison counts his childhood living room in western Pennsylvania as the site of his fondest yoga memory. That's where, as a tottering pre-kindergartener, he worked through poses alongside his mother. After studying dance and theater, Homison—now the owner of Bikram Yoga Pittsburgh— moved to San Francisco, where he rekindled his relationship with yoga while working at a Bikram yoga studio.
The heat, combined with the repetitions of the postures, focused his mind while conditioning his body, and he was hooked. Studying under Bikram Choudhury, the father of Bikram yoga, was another clarifying experience and one that taught Homison to open up and accept the inevitable. That could mean working through intensely fatigued muscles to push toward greater flexibility, or performing all 26 poses at a black-tie dinner party whenever guests clink their glasses and shout "Pose!"
"When studying yoga, you have to be patient with yourself," says Homison, echoing the philosophy that his staff repeats to encourage students to take their time learning the practice. Together, the team works with patrons, inspiring them through bouts of frustration. "Yoga can be a lifelong process," Homison says, "and you just have to be open to it."