After forging a friendship during a yoga class for breast-cancer survivors, Kellie Moreland and Therese Blomberg joined with Michele Taylor to bring yoga’s restorative powers to their families and neighbors. Their signature class, Yoga Core and More, sculpts limbs, abs, and backs with a lineup of back bends, arm balances, and inverted poses. Ideal for seasoned yogis, this class raises the heart rate to burn calories and foster cardiovascular health. Sweltering temperatures draw students of all skill levels to hot yoga classes, loosening tight muscles and drawing out toxins as the group stretches between exposed-brick walls and wooden floors. Mom and Me'a classes, filled with songs, stories, and playful movements, help yogis aged 2–5 liberate the peace, joy, and Capture the Flag prisoners that lie within.
Lotus Arts Studio's classes are a medley of swinging hips, frolicking feet, and flittering fingers. Owner Lauren Haas, a professional belly dancer, shares her Egyptian-style training with students who are interested in belly dancing and possess their own bellies. Highly skilled yoga instructors help yogis and neophyte benders pose, stretch, and sweat while Zumba, the Latin-inspired cardio dance class, spicies up stale workout routines and Bollywood classes fuse classical Indian dance styles with popular Western styles. At Lotus, wallflowers learn to gleefully waltz, tango, cha-cha, and bunny hop onto dance floors, as classes are ideal for individuals with no dance experience or more than one left foot. Registration is required and classes convene once a week. Check out the class schedule for a full list of classes and times.
Having practiced since 1997, training under leaders in the field, and serving as the sole yoga instructor for the Kashi company in 2008, owner Brigette Niedringhaus opened Southtown Yoga with the goal of bringing a unique approach to the city yoga-studio concept. In doing so, Brigette built up a schedule replete with a variety of classes held in a warm and welcoming environment for students of all skill levels. The Riverfront Times recognized her efforts by naming Southtown Yoga its Best Yoga Studio in 2008. The staff that helped earned that award features 11 highly trained instructors who guide students through a series of poses during 45- to 90-minute group classes. Slow-paced Basics courses pave the way for Mixed Level sessions that expand on the fundamental concepts, and rooftop classes enable students to mix up the workout scenery, like lifting weights in a phone booth. Classes are available seven days a week, with some sessions beginning as early as 6:30 a.m. and as late as 7:30 p.m.
Yoga's ability to facilitate deep inner relaxation while building strength can seem as paradoxical and profound as the Zen koans of Yogi Berra. Attain a Yogi-yogi's level of enlightenment with today's Groupon: for $19, you get five drop-in yoga classes (a $55 value) at Urban Breath Yoga in Dogtown. Bringing your own yoga mat and yoga security blanket is recommended, although Urban Breath will have several mats available to use in case of emergency. Students must use their remaining four classes within six months of their first class.
When thinking of gym equipment, most people imagine whirring treadmills and racks of free weights. The names of Pilates machines are more innocuous—chair and barrel, for example—but to the uninitiated, these tools might seem more like pieces in an art gallery. Thankfully, the certified instructors at The Pilates and Yoga Center of St. Louis help to demystify them. They guide clients through exercises that enlist the gliding platform of the Reformer, or the malleable ring that is the Magic Circle, hosting group and private classes for all skill levels.
Owner Karen Prechtl and her team ease new clients into a Pilates practice by customizing their guidance and keeping class sizes small. They emphasize the importance of breath work, proper form, and body awareness during each lesson, helping students to achieve a leaner, more bendable physique without simply telling them to "be the rubber band." For those who prefer a highly personalized approach, one-on-one training utilizes weights, kettlebells, and mat-based floor exercises in addition to the Pilates equipment.
Bikram yoga is a demanding series of 26 postures (asanas) that works the entire body for 90 minutes. The class is conducted in a heated room to improve circulation, help eliminate toxins, and significantly reduce the risk of injury during deep muscle stretching.