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.
Before sisters Erica Whalen and Cynthia Rayner
purchased mang'Oh yoga, it was a fledgling yoga studio struggling to find a following. But with determination, a focus on community, and no help from either of their fairy godmothers, the duo transformed it into a haven for Hatha Vinyasa yoga. Now, students practice asanas on its sunlit floors, strengthening their cores as they sync their breath with flowing movements.
These practitioners are not just fortifying their bodies. In keeping with the goal of the studio, they immerse themselves in a holistic approach to health, feeding their minds and spirits through classes and workshops. They can even give back by becoming instructors themselves, thanks to the studio's yoga teacher training.
Malenna Saunders grabs her ROTC and Air Force experience by the horns when she leads intense indoor and outdoor boot-camp or fitness classes. Warrior boot camp prepares patrons to slay unwanted fat during a 60-minute romp through plyometric and cardio conditioning melded with strength training and calisthenics routines, and Bowery Babes boot-camp sessions cater to moms or three toddlers standing on one another's shoulders dressed as a mom. Meanwhile, kettlebell workouts and functional exercises tone everyday muscles.
Certified instructors helm other group fitness classes, such as Vinyasa yoga and Zumba cardio-dance classes, within studios fully stocked with workout-enhancing props. Patrons of all fitness levels shimmy into Zumba sessions to hip-shake away excess poundage, mastering easy-to-follow Latin dance moves, which can add spice to tired chimney-sweeping routines.
Fitness Cell Collective's disciples don't work out in a gym. Dubbed "The Compound," the Collective's roomy studio encompasses familiar fitness devices, such as kettlebells, as well as some unconventional equipment. Olympic-style rings dangle from the ceiling alongside suspension systems and ski machines, and a 40-foot-long set of monkey bars facilitates intense workouts and high-speed banana relays. With these tools, the certified trainers?who range from martial artists and professional weightlifters to dancers and triathletes?lead classes for all fitness levels. The classes?featured in New York magazine?range in scope to include kettlebell fitness, mixed martial arts, yoga, Pilates, and boot-camp training. The Compound houses more than just modern fitness equipment; postworkout, exercisers can purchase and refuel with fresh, locally made, organic snacks and signature protein drinks.
Sally Blenkey-Tchassova (alias
Lady Chardonnay) had a singular vision when she founded Burlesque Bikini Boot Camp: empower women and free them from being overly critical of their bodies. "The essence of burlesque dancing is to have fun, to play a character, and to … express yourself in a different way," she explained in a segment on the Today Show. Her innovative burlesque dancing is grounded in the rigorous technicality of ballet, largely due to her partner Teresa Kliokis (alias Pink Champagne), an acclaimed ballerina, as well as her collection of spinning tops. The two teach sultry moves to female students, blending the duo's diverse backgrounds into a new burlesque dance. The classes are suitable for dancers of all skill levels, and they often end with yogic stretching to relax muscles post workout.