When Lesley Powell founded Movements Afoot, she knew the fitness world was changing—in line with her own evolving views on the necessity for a grounded, whole-body philosophy of movement. After working in a physical therapy office for the better part of a decade, she discovered Pilates as a means of rehabilitation. Movements Afoot was founded on that discovery, and everything that goes on at the studio focuses on integrating breath with movement and spinal alignment.
Classes rely mainly on reformer Pilates and tower to strengthen bodies. In every variety of class, experienced teachers customize the core-strengthening lessons to each student's needs, whether they're exercising for osteoporosis rehabilitation or athletic training. They also encourage students to follow in their footsteps with a Balanced Body teacher-certification course for people hoping to launch a fitness career or fill in one last space on their wall of certificates.
Guided by a mission of embracing every student's quest for personal growth, the team at YogaWorks offers programs for all ages and walks of life. Harnessing a minimum of 500 hours of Yoga Alliance training, expert instructors build lean muscles with traditional Ashtanga, Iyengar, and Vinyasa flow classes enhanced by inspiring music, ambient candlelight, meditation, and props. Their fitness classes further the body-shaping results of yoga, strengthening core muscles with Pilates, increasing endurance and lean muscles with TRX classes, and building stamina with resistance-based SculptWorks.
Instructors also host exotic yoga retreats, which marry the excitement of travel to far-away locales with the benefits of yoga to bestow students with the confident grace required to approach a foreign yoga mat without startling it. Those in search of further training can access online videos by subscribing to myyogaworks.com, which offers a free, 14-day trial for new users. Students can search for videos by workout duration, skill level, and the targeted area of the body.
New York City Photo Safari coordinates year-round educational excursions that blend hands-on photography lessons with tours of NYC's most famous locales. Owner Diem "Zim" Pham—who works as a travel photographer, a position that often requires the skills to create compelling images in less-than-ideal conditions—and Zim’s team of instructors are all professional photographers currently working in the industry. Safari sizes stay cozy at no more than eight people, allowing for a wealth of personalized feedback and troubleshooting advice for each apprentice. The Metropolitan Museum of Art safari employs the lauded museum halls as a setting for lessons in the use of light and how to overcome difficult lighting challenges, whereas the avant-garde High Line Elevated Park course instructs eyes in the art of composition. Aspiring politicos can embark on the City Hall safari, which fills memory cards with crisp shots of neo-classic architecture and caped superheroes flying to and from the mayor’s office.
Though Michiyo Fukushima was a successful photographer in her native Japan, she felt that something in her art form was lacking. It wasn't until she moved to New York City and discovered watercolor that she found the medium where she could fully express herself, transferring the interplay of light and shadow she knew well from photography onto her canvases.
In classes, Michiyo and her associates give students a taste of the techniques behind the luminous washes and precise shapes of her nearly photorealistic work, which finds her captivated by humble fire escapes and ethereal stone cherubs alike. Ranked among the "5 Best Casual Art Classes in New York City" by CBS New York, Fukushima's lessons in watercolor and drawing are designed for artists of all levels, from casual hobbyists to those who dream of having their work displayed on the Louvre's fridge. In addition to sessions held in a cozy red-brick building, she also teaches at the New York Academy of Art.
Spotlighted in Time magazine and the New York Times, Music for Aardvarks and Other Mammals is a nationally renowned program offering a unique take on musical education for children 3 months to 4 years old. Classes consist of 45 minutes of singing, dancing, musical storytelling, and jamming. Children's songsmith David Weinstone designed a curriculum celebrating the urban environment as well as universal concerns of youth via his classes, which have exploded into the national spotlight since their humble beginnings in 1997. Rather than being strict and results-driven, the teaching style at Music for Aardvarks is based on adult modeling and exposing children to ideas and sounds without dumbing them down. Parent participation is strongly encouraged for atonal squealers and former Yes drummers alike. Check the Music for Aardvarks website for the drop-in sessions and 10-class series schedules.
When Sheila Kelley broke into the fitness scene, fitness pole-dancing classes were unheard of. However, in just a few years, the S Factor—her unique fusion of yoga, ballet, Pilates, and striptease—became renowned for its physical benefits and confidence-boosting ability. Due to this focus on both mind and body, the S Factor garnered widespread acclaim, with endorsements from Oprah, Ellen DeGeneres, and Martha Stewart. The workout's mission is clear: engendering female empowerment, confidence, and respect through sultry pole dancing. The S Factor's healthful impact on its students' bodies can be attributed to its combination of diverse workout methods, all of which build lean muscle mass. The course's six levels build on one another, relying on stretches, pole work, and traditional dance to get students twirling around the pole safely regardless of their athletic experience.