Like mounting an HDTV on a terra-cotta warrior, Excel Yoga blends the ancient and the modern, shepherding students of all experience levels through serene yoga sessions, sultry belly-dancing lessons, and high-energy kickboxing and boot-camp fitness classes. A sense of community weaves throughout the studio, from the eco-friendly bamboo flooring to courses that bring families into the fitness fold, such as Kids Yoga and Mommy & Me Yoga.
Beyond its slate of exercise classes, workshops deepen yogis’ relationship with various aspects of yoga. The Anatomy Workshop, for example, blends discussion and practice to explore how certain poses can relieve physical disorders. Excel Yoga even cultivates its own fleet of enthusiastic instructors through intensive teacher training that outfits prospective pedagogues with the knowledge, poses, and sweat-proof grade books they need to lead classes.
The ASA-certified instructors of New York Sailing School have been teaching the exhilarating art since 1968. With access to a fleet of beginner-friendly Sonar 23 skiffs, they instruct courses both on land and water, venturing out into the Long Island Sound with tender-footed aquanauts and Waterworld fanboys alike. NYSS alumni and ASA-certified sailors are also welcome to rent boats for daytime jaunts across the water.
One of the oldest tennis-only clubs in the United States, New Rochelle Tennis Club serves up professional tennis teachings as well as a wide range of racket-friendly amenities. A one-hour private lesson assists players in perfecting shots from the forehand to the overhead smash, helping bring players' games to the next level and opponents to the brink of frustrated tears (a $100 value). After a session of spheroid slinging, players can refresh themselves at the snack bar, scrub up in the ample shower facilities, or meditate in the comfort of the TV lounge. The full-service pro shop—stocked with shirts ($20+), rackets ($100+), and hats ($22), and staffed by the club's own expert racket restringer and technician, Chris Tripodi—keeps court commandos from having to craft their own equipment from household items and stolen office supplies. Put newly acquired skills and tennis tackle to the test with a one-week trial of full-time membership, providing access to the club’s eight scrupulously maintained Har-Tru courts at any open time (a $235 value).
Retro Fitness, named one of Entrepreneur's Top New Franchises in 2011, unfurls with 13,000 square feet of vintage-styled workout space that leads visitors to physical peaks in a sunny setting marked by red and yellow fitness equipment and an encouraging team of goal-oriented personal trainers. The capacious gym's sound system blasts energetic jams from the '80s and beyond as exercisers hoist weights or watch TV shows on the 17-inch screens affixed to every cardio machine. Classic flicks such as Grease and Ferris Bueller's Day Off claim screen space in the cardio theater, where guests manufacture sweat by pedaling, jogging, and rewinding hundreds of VHS tapes. Checkerboard pathways venture toward the Retro Blends juice bar with baristas who blend made-to-order fruit smoothies using whey protein and yogurt.
Winston Buddle, founder and director of Golden Touch Soccer, has worked with thousands of young soccer players over two decades of coaching?including his son, Edson, an MLS All Star. Winston's own career began in Montego Bay, where he was a feared striker at every level he played. That success snowballed into an impressive professional career in the U.S., Greece, and Cyprus. Since trading in his cleats for a whistle, Winston has helped transform youth soccer players into Division I athletes, regional and national stars, and potential Olympians. Students soak up his wisdom during camps, classes, and one-on-one training sessions, during which Winston not only teaches them skills and techniques, but also the game's strategic aspects, ensuring they'll be able to navigate the field like a young Napoleon.
A veteran of 10 triathlons, Laurie Parkinson knows the fitness benefits of biking firsthand. At L Train, Laurie and her fellow instructors help students of all skill levels reap those benefits during intensive, bike-fueled cardio workouts. Set to upbeat music, every indoor group cycling class burns fat, increases rider stamina, and improves strength and flexibility. But L Train's workouts aren't confined to Laurie's intimate studio. Her outdoor group rides whisk bikers everywhere from the mansion-lined streets of New Rochelle to the shoreline of Rye, named for the scent of bread lingering over the whole town.