Imagine for a moment that, less than three months before planning to hike the Grand Canyon, you fall 20 feet out of a tree and break your back. Eight weeks of rest and physical therapy helps, but you're nowhere near as recuperated as you'd hoped. What do you do? For one individual, the answer was simple: hot yoga at Yogamed. The studio adapted their program to this actual individual's sensitive condition, with stunning results?the student's spine showed signs of complete healing, and the hike went off without a hitch. The testimonial serves as a particularly dramatic illustration of Yogamed's motto: "Yoga is Medicine."
That philosophy is put into practice every day at Yogamed's studio - one of the largest in Omaha - which hosts 45 weekly classes in a variety of forms. Attendees can reap the benefits of each particular style, whether they seek the deeper stretches provided by heated Bikram sessions or the flowing sequences of vinyasa yoga. Combining Western medicine with traditional yoga, Yogamed even has a board-certified internist on staff to provide assessments. But Yogamed is equally dedicated to the second half of its moniker?massages provide stress relief, and regular workshops educate students on how yoga can help combat joint pain, backaches, and even symptoms of breast cancer. The inner and outer healing takes place in a spacious venue built with eco-friendly materials, such as bamboo floors and signs politely asking pandas to refrain from snacking on those floors.
While teaching jazz dance in the 1960s, Judi Sheppard Missett decided to step away from tradition by offering an experimental class that allowed her students to simply dance without the judgment of mirrors or the constraints of rigid technique. In these sessions, she began infusing popular dance moves with specific fitness workouts to forge a distinctive blend of cardio exercise, strength training, and dance instruction. Little did she know that this “just for fun” class was the prototype for what would become the national fitness sensation known as Jazzercise.
Today, Jazzercise takes its aerobic techniques from a variety of sources that include jazz dance, hip-hop, resistance training, Pilates, yoga, and kickboxing. The class formats, which vary according to different toning goals, are just as diverse as the program's move set. Two-time Dancing with the Stars champion Cheryl Burke is a big fan of the improvisational routines, although her advanced skills aren't needed to get the most out of classes. Instructors cultivate a noncompetitive atmosphere where all exercisers—with the exception of those marked as cursed by jazz-hand palm readers—are welcome regardless of age, build, or fitness background.
Lance Farrell drew from his extensive background in tae kwon do to take down opponents in the ring for many years before he realized he could use his powers to help others combat obesity and health issues. He developed Farrell's Extreme Bodyshaping to provide patrons of all fitness levels with a comfortable place in which to undergo a mental and physical transformation, much like a crushed-velvet cocoon. He stripped away the sparring and contact drills from his fighter training, leaving just the components that burn fat and build muscle. When students sign up for a program, they're grouped into teams of peers who encourage one another through moments of weakness and provide a sense of accountability. The instructors and coaches guide these teams toward fitness on a 10-week quest based on four pillars—cardiovascular exercise to burn fat, strength training to build muscle, nutrition coaching to map out a healthy diet, and enthusiastic trainers to provide motivation. At the end of each session, each of Farrell's locations rewards a student with a $1,000 prize—or a year’s worth of high-fives—congratulating them on their dramatic physical transformation. Students who stick around and strive to get healthy over the course of a year get a shot at the $10,000 prize, though winners have reported that leading a healthier life is a greater reward than the money.
Today, it's undeniable: Jazzercise is a worldwide empire, spanning more than 1,800 locations and 32,000 weekly classes across the globe. It's also hip; gone are the leotards and legwarmers of the 1980s, replaced with a high-intensity blend of cardio, strength training, kickboxing and power yoga performed to hits by chart-toppers from Shakira to Justin Timberlake. The class formats, which vary according to different toning goals, are just as diverse as the program's move set, with recent additions such as Fusion, Core, and Strike broadening the workouts' variety and application. Instructors cultivate a noncompetitive atmosphere where all exercisers are welcome regardless of age, build, or fitness background. This sense of community keeps Jazzercise devotees coming back, but so too do the results; benefits ranging from weight loss and boosted core strength to increased flexibility and stress relief.
Jazzercise's continued success can be traced to the innovation of its founder, Judi Sheppard Missett. While teaching jazz dance in the 1960s, she decided to step away from tradition by offering an experimental class that allowed her students to simply dance without the judgment of mirrors or the constraints of rigid technique. Little did she know that this ?just for fun? class was the prototype for what would become the Jazzercise sensation.
Trent Meyer and Derek Bergman are committed members of the United Methodist Church, and sometimes choose to practice their faith through tree climbing, zip lining, swimming, and laser tag. They direct the United Methodist-run Camp Fontanelle, a year-round outdoor camp sprawled across more than 180 wooded acres of donated land. Both Trent and Derek draw from backgrounds as campers?and Trent from six years as a teacher?to lead summer camps for preschool through high-school students. They lead a team of camp counselors who coordinate harnessed-rope tree climbing, activities on low-ropes courses, archery lessons, and outdoor laser-tag matches.
They also draw visitors at different times of year with water slides, a 35'x65' jumping pillow and bounce houses, a petting barn filled with alpacas and goats, and pony rides. During the autumn-harvest season, they unveil the annual theme of a 10-acre corn maze filled with 5 miles of trails. A 3-acre pumpkin patch contains small and large carving pumpkins, gourds, mums, and Indian corn, which visitors can harvest and stuff into a large, horn-shaped wicker basket.
Kayakjak's and Sage Hill Vineyard have joined forces to create an idyllic escape for twosomes, including outdoor escapades, scenic vineyard views, and tasting fermented fruits. During the romantic overnight, customers visit the family-owned vineyard's tasting room to swish and sip 10 Nebraska-grown libations, including three red wines, five whites, two dessert wines, and unlimited melted-ice wines. The lodge where twosomes stay overlooks the vineyard and boasts a full kitchen, bath, living/dining area, and sleeping space for up to six people ($25 extra per person). Kayakjak’s will bestow each occupant with their own kayak, for either leisurely paddling or fishing, and set them free for a full day on the placid Rock Creek Lake. After spending a day trying to paddle away from the person in the back of your kayak, visitors reboot with a dinner of either enchiladas or beef stew cooked in an outdoor Dutch oven and finished with a dessert of peach cobbler. Duos have flexibility in planning their stay and may opt to have their wine tasting the day they arrive, spend the night in the winery’s lodge, and then kayak the next day, or arrive early for a day of kayaking and stay the night afterward.