When viewed through the wall of mirrors at Bikram Yoga Rochester, the studio's wood-paneled ceiling and walls seem to go on forever. In 105-degree heat, a team of experienced instructors leads students through intensive yoga poses that systematically engage the entire body. Students can watch themselves twist and bend during 90-minute classes selected from the studio’s schedule. The temperature of the steamy studio space is engineered to soothe muscles, loosen joints, and encourage detoxification, and provides a challenging setting for students to launch bodies into modifiable postures that accommodate all skill levels from novice to expert and even pregnant women. In addition to yoga, Bikram Yoga Rochester also employs a certified holistic health and nutrition coach, massage therapist, chiropractor, and acupuncturist.
Within Sole Pilates & Yoga’s beet-red walls, instructors lead small groups of students through rigorous postures on Pilates reformer machines. With just five machines in their studio, the instructors can ensure that each student benefits from personal adjustments and individual attention. The machines' pulleys, bars, and sliding carriages add extra resistance to traditional Pilates postures, testing students' strength against their own body weight to develop lean, toned muscles. In addition to the Pilates reformer, the instructors lead mat Pilates classes to carve strong core muscles, and yoga sessions that flow through strength- and relaxation-inducing poses, resulting in enough flexibility and body control to squeeze into a milk carton.
Members of Synergy Fitness Clubs thrive on choice. Choice of location? There are nine. Choice of activity? Instructors lead classes in almost any form of exercise imaginable, such as power sculpt, full-body circuits, and intense cycling. To make sure that members are making the choices that will help reach their fitness goals the fastest, the clubs are staffed with more than 100 lifestyle coaches. These pros are continually educated in their fields of specialty—which might mean nutrition counseling, yoga, or boxing.
A wide slate of equipment and amenities makes it as easy as possible to fit in workouts. Most locations are open 24 hours, and while parents lift free weights or dance a beautiful tango with a Precor elliptical, their kids can hang out in a free childcare room.
The supportive staff at the women's-only Kelly Lyn North specializes in issues such as menopause, teaches kicks and crunches in energetic group classes, and also works one-on-one with members to assess body stats and create healthy goals. After joining, a one-hour personal-training session with a fitness guru helps members build personalized workouts and dish about nutrition, or focus on issues such as toning muscle, losing weight, and building bone density. Complimentary body assessments track progress with a body-fat test, measurements of target areas, and a BMI calculation, which divides each guest's weight by height as they jump on a pogo stick. Group classes let students sample a range of calorie-blasting maneuvers, from swiveling hips to Latin beats in a 60-minute Zumba class to kicking and jabbing in a 45-minute Taebox session. A 45- to 60-minute Turbo Kickbox Challenge class packs kicks, punches, and cardio circuits into a comprehensive workout, and the 15-minute Abs Express class hones in on cores. Strength-training equipment, cardio machines, and skateboards strapped to treadmills ensure convenient solo exercise. Groupon holders can jog through the online schedule for a full list of class times.
For more than 25 years, Drama Kids International has nurtured thousands of thespian students and kids simply searching for an engaging activity, instilling children with the ability to speak clearly and confidently. Classes focus on sharpening articulated speech and encouraging creative expression. Children are placed in classes according to their age group: the Lower Primary (ages 5–8) teaches kids how to deliver lines and hone social skills, the Upper Primary (ages 9–11) delves into improvisation and dramatic movement, and the DKI Acting Academy (ages 12–17) preps scene-stealers on how to audition for their dream role. Each class includes a variety of activities for kids to unleash their imagination, which develops their dramatic abilities in a fun, easy-going setting. Drama Kids instructors foster an open, comfortable acting environment. Call ahead to schedule the first class and start your child down the path of becoming one of the more notable Baldwin brothers.
Pete Lawson's passion for the martial arts is more than 30 years old, reaching all the way back to when he took his first karate lesson in Jamaica when he was 13 years old. His love for the discipline blossomed, eventually earning him five black belts, a spot in world tournaments, and the opportunity to spar against master martial artists. He also studied Brazilian jiujitsu under renowned master Renzo Gracie, one of the sons of Brazil's famed family of martial artists. As a believer in the saying "to whom much is given, much is required," Lawson decided to put his accolades and experience to good use founding and teaching at his own academy, Brooklyn Martial Arts. Today, he offers classes for all levels of Brazilian jiujitsu and mixed martial arts, preparing students for everything from self-defense to competition.
Lawson also imparts lessons of discipline and perseverance to little ones in kids' classes, using martial arts as a platform to improve their schoolwork, teach them nonviolent ways to deal with bullies, and strengthen their listening skills by having them perform pushups with their ears. They even host birthday parties for kids, where the birthday boy or girl cuts the cake with a real sword and competes in fun and friendly martial-arts-based games and activities.
With more than three dozen instructors leading more than 100 classes each week, New York Yoga requires more than a little elbow room. And so the business splits its classic-yoga and hot-yoga classes into separate studios, ensuring its throngs of beginner and advanced students have enough room to really stretch out. The separation also allows the 85th and Lexington location to keep itself programmed to 105 degrees at all times, helping students boost their stamina and discouraging abominable snowmen from loitering around the exits. Restorative classes forgo strenuous physical exertion in favor of a slow, calming practice performed at a comfortable temperature and enhanced with props, whereas a slew of one-time workshops introduce yogis to specialized forms of practice, such as prenatal yoga or introductory sessions for first-timers.