After graduating from Penn State, sisters Jessica Bajoras and Jamie Malinowski went into pharmaceutical sales. Sharing a passion for healthy living, both sisters eventually found their way to yoga and were studying with instructors across the country. Though they achieved success in the sales world, Jessica and Jamie decided to realize a lifelong dream of opening a business together when they founded Prima Yoga. Today, they offer classes in Bikram yoga, a hot-yoga style that involves 26 postures—participants simply must contort their bodies into all the letters of the alphabet, i.e., a hyper-charged version of the “YMCA”—and two breathing exercises over the course of 90-minute sessions. The sisters teach these sessions in a heated room with antibacterial flooring.:
The experienced instructors at Stray Dog Yoga Studio shepherd body benders through a series of Vinyasa movements executed in a heated room. Pupils stretch and sweat their way through the flow, which unites movement with breath the way a magnet unites Dad's finger paintings with the refrigerator door. Each class challenges partakers to push their bodies, find the limits of their flexibility, and discover a sense of peace within themselves. Stretching students of all levels can participate, as modifications for difficult poses allow beginners to follow along and work toward improvement.
For Kelly Meeder, the owner and founder of Smokin' Hot Yoga, hot yoga is about more than just meditation. She views her brand of hot yoga as a way to not only center oneself but to also lose weight, increase flexibility, and enhance athletic performance. In fact, many of the poses resemble calisthenic maneuvers, such as pushups and pull-ups. Kelly and her fellow instructors teach a broad range of classes for all ability levels. Level-one classes are best suited for beginners, whereas level-two sessions are ideal for seasoned yogis and types of bread that need to bake longer.
Take Yoga wants all of its students to pour as much yoga into their lives as possible, which is why the studio offers classes at every level. If you're just getting started, Take Yoga offers an absolute beginner workshop to teach the basics of breathing and poses. The classes progress from there, featuring more difficult techniques along with specialty styles such as restorative yoga, hot yoga, and yin yoga. Pilates classes, meanwhile, build a solid core and increase flexibility through controlled movement.
Rebecca Rankin and Lisa Lau came out of college prepared to be an architect and an engineer, respectively. Today, they own Bikram Yoga Squirrel Hill. Their goals haven't changed much, though—Rebecca specializes in the architecture of the human body, and Lisa studies its engineering, teaching students how to bend and breathe during each 90-minute class.
These classes are held in a studio heated to around 105 degrees. But newcomers to the practice needn't worry—as the space's website says, "The heat is not there to make it tough, it is there to help." As participants move through the 26 asanas, or postures, of Bikram yoga, the heat loosens up their muscles and encourages a detoxifying sweat, allowing for deeper stretches and a smoother post-workout slip-and-slide ride. Rebecca, Lisa, and their fellow instructors limit their class sizes to better personalize their guidance, and welcome guests of all skill levels to attend any session.