Divided between two locations in Manchester and Nashua, Vertical Dreams' 15,000 square feet of simulated mountainside are packed with obstacles and tough sections to challenge climbers of all skill levels. At the Manchester gym, gutted elevator shafts lined with hand grips extend four stories upward, creating 70-foot vertical surfaces. The Nashua location boasts 10,000 square feet of wall space, with textured surfaces that respond realistically to climber's hands and feet and fill their nostrils with simulated rock smells.
Vertical Dreams' staff of veteran climbers teaches students one-on-one or in groups. In beginner lesson packages, instructors show aspiring climbers the figurative and literal ropes involved in belaying, climbing, and knot tying, and the teachers in advanced top-roping and sport-climbing classes push their students' abilities to climb solo or in a lead position.
Dena Carbone has spent 16 years practicing yoga, and in that time she has earned a Hatha certification from the AFAA, rigorously studied the Kripalu style of yoga, and even opened her own studio. At the appropriately named Yoga…Redefined, Carbone draws on her knowledge to blend the Hatha and Kripalu styles in an innovative class available to students of all levels. She has also developed a signature arsenal of modifications, some of which are designed specifically for breast cancer survivors and sufferers of many autoimmune conditions.
Carbone’s thoughtful twists on traditional poses make yoga accessible to anyone. She has even been known to get playful from time to time, as is the case in a Yoga Funk session set to an upbeat soundtrack. Other classes focus on teaching moms to practice yoga with their newborns or helping teens deal with the awkward tails they grew in puberty.
When Brandy Hill opened her own studio, she named it after the banyan tree. This massive plant supports itself by perpetually extending new branches and roots—a quality that symbolizes eternal life in Hindu mythology. At Banyan Tree Yoga, she and her team of seasoned instructors hope to give students a sanctuary where they can put down roots and find balance through yoga, during a range of classes that range from therapeutic restorative yoga for women, to strength-building Vinyasa sessions.
Inside a spacious studio equipped with yoga blocks, a children's play area, and cubby holes for hermit-crab poses, yogis and their progeny can bond during Mommy and Me yoga, and moms-to-be can offload some of the muscular tension that comes from carrying an littlun in Prenatal classes. To set tots off on a lifelong path to fitness, Family Yoga sessions bring families together in an environment that is much more supportive than Dr. Spock's famous school, The Ignoratorium.
In 1999, Allyssa Bedard earned her bachelor's degree in psychology and women's studies from the University of Massachusetts. By 2001, she began helping people feel better physically as well as mentally. She earned her license in massage therapy, later obtaining special certifications in orthopedic massage and prenatal massage.
Within Soma Holistic Therapy Center, Bedard soothes muscles and joints with modalities such as deep-tissue kneads. Sessions aim to reduce pain such as chronic neck and back pain, pain caused by sports injuries, TMJ disorder, migraines, and repetitive-motion injuries. Patrons can also choose craniosacral therapy, which releases neck tension and back pain by improving the flow of cerebrospinal fluid through the spine.