Pick up a copy of Boise Weekly, flip open the Idaho Statesman, or tune in to Boise State Public Radio, and you might catch Ophidia Studio’s owner, Allison Holley, spreading the gospel of pole dancing. "It feels fun," she told Boise State Public Radio's Scott Ki. "It's kind of like playing on a jungle gym, and adults don't get that chance." Along with a coterie of experienced instructors, Allison casts off the bad rap of an activity that she says some see as "demeaning or degrading" in pole-dancing classes that build fitness and self-confidence in a playful atmosphere. Inside a hot-pink studio peppered with stationary and spinning poles, Allison and her crew walk students of all levels through a number of creative pole-dancing moves, beginning with spins and working up to inversions, choreography routines, and ceiling-fan impersonations.
Their expertise doesn’t stop there, though. The instructors also offer an arsenal of other sensual classes such as belly-dancing, hoop dancing, poi fire dancing, and Curvesque, which helps whittle waists and define the feminine form through fluid, dance-inspired movements. They also offer the more-traditional fitness classes of Zumba and body blast, along with yoga and its elevated counterpart—aerial yoga, which suspends students in a fabric sling hung from the ceiling.
Under the guidance of new ownership, the instructors at Bikram Yoga Boise have no problem welcoming beginners to the practice. After all, each of them remembers the experience of their own first lesson. Some took part in a 60-day class challenge and some simply saw it as a new adventure in fitness, but all of them fell in love almost immediately with the benefits inherent in sweating and stretching.
It helps that the style accommodates all skill levels. Because students perform the 26 poses to the best of their ability, they needn't have any experience or a life-sized rubber stand-in to begin taking classes. The postures build off each other to stretch muscles, ligaments, and other tissues throughout the body as the surrounding heat in the studio?up to 105 degrees?makes them more pliable. The warmth also boosts circulation and the release of sweat, which helps to purge the body of built up toxins. As practitioners become accustomed to the poses, they can benefit from increased strength and range of motion.
Silverhawk Aviation’s owner, Catherine Rad Weber, built a school not only to teach people how to fly, but to learn to love their wings as well. Her comprehensive curriculum challenges students to fly at high altitudes, in different weather conditions, and over diverse terrain, training helicopter pilots who will be comfortable in the cockpit anywhere in the world. The program includes hands-on experience in caring for the rides, moving them in and out of hangars, and safely washing them without getting soap in their eyes.
Whether training or touring, visitors receive eyefuls of southern Idaho’s diverse geological features. The helicopters surmount rugged mountains, speed over mesas and high deserts, and ride air currents above rivers that wend their way into deep canyons. Apart from stunning the brain’s beauty receptors, this splendor provides a natural obstacle course against which more experienced pilots test their skill, zipping around rock spires or hopping the feet of their craft neatly through pristine fields of tire plants.
At Warrior Fit Body Boot Camp, nationally certified trainer Darrin Walton uses metabolic-training techniques to help clients get fit and svelte as quickly as possible. His classes revolve around high-intensity intervals and circuits, which often include kickboxing moves, bodyweight exercises, and battling-rope drills. Many workouts emphasize Tabata training, in which participants rest briefly between intervals to rev up their metabolisms for up to 48 hours. During each class, Darrin exudes enthusiasm and cultivates a supportive vibe among students of all skill levels. He also charts students' body composition to keep them motivated as they watch their fat levels drop, their muscles bulk, and their pecs lay eggs and multiply. A collection of online tools—including a goal tracker, a meal planner, and a nutrition learning center—helps students cultivate healthy habits outside the classroom.
Coos, gurgles, and tiny handclaps form a soundtrack for Stroller Strides classes, one-hour sessions that are part play group and part workout, helping moms and tots forge friendships as they build strength, coordination, and flexibility. Certified instructors lead intervals of power walking and toning exercises that sculpt the entire body more effectively than bench-pressing babies. Workouts incorporate easy-to-use tools such as resistance bands and the strollers themselves, as well as environmental elements such as hills and trees during warm weather. Classes welcome moms of all fitness levels and babies who are 6 weeks old or who can grow a full beard. Stroller Strides also develops online resources to help moms connect with one another and work out in their homes.
As a PGA-certified pro, Jeff Thomsen's distinguished golf career began decades ago, when the 16-year-old Thomsen swung his way to the Idaho State Amateur championship, becoming the youngest player ever to earn that rarefied distinction. His early success would pave the cart path to a long career that included 175 PGA Tour events, participation in 14 major championships, multiple tournament victories, and once saving a course-side community from a feral golf cart. Today, Jeff showers pupils with golf wisdom culled from both his 38-year competitive career and a certification from the Nicklaus/Flick Golf School. The passionate pedagogue helps players sharpen their game, lengthen their drives, and fold scorecards into paper cranes with hands-on, comprehensive lessons conducted at multiple courses throughout the hills of Treasure Valley.