The experienced instructors at Stray Dog Yoga Studio shepherd body benders through a series of Vinyasa movements executed in a heated room. Pupils stretch and sweat their way through the flow, which unites movement with breath the way a magnet unites Dad's finger paintings with the refrigerator door. Each class challenges partakers to push their bodies, find the limits of their flexibility, and discover a sense of peace within themselves. Stretching students of all levels can participate, as modifications for difficult poses allow beginners to follow along and work toward improvement.
Dominique Ponko sits at the head of the class, leading yogis through muscle-lengthening postures with the steady flow of her deep, rhythmic inhales and exhales. It’s been a long journey for Dominique. She first sought out yoga at the age of 26 to help her cope with life-threatening seizures and a slow-growing brain tumor. Yoga comforted her through three difficult years, welcoming her into a space for healing spiritually before she was able to find the proper medicine to help her heal physically. Though still a little shaky, Dominique has triumphed and opened four yoga studios—voted Best of the ‘Burgh in 2010—to inspire her students to ease their ailments, build strength, and find inner peace.
During her studio's heated Vinyasa-flow classes, an enthusiastic and supportive instructor guides students through a series of strengthening postures that work to increase flexibility and build muscles. Warm, balmy air courses through the studio, pricking beads of sweat on brows to help detox bodies and loosen stiff muscles into deep, soothing stretches.
Pulse Studio Group Fitness makes a sedentary lifestyle nearly impossible to keep up, since clients can find encouragement in a range of group fitness classes. Whether learning new yoga poses, a calorie-blasting Zumba dance routine, or how to kickbox your way out of a locked bathroom, Pulse Studio's classes cultivate a fun, social atmosphere that makes workouts a bright spot in your day.
Focused Fitness' licensed and certified instructors help their clients stay in shape with personal-training sessions and a variety of group classes. Students can tone their muscles during Ab Blast, dance to Latin rhythms during Zumba classes, or exercise their entire body during boot-camp classes.
The team at Evolve Wellness Center is as multifaceted and well rounded as the integrated holistic and wellness services it provides. In addition to preventive healthcare treatments, the center offers clients fitness classes that aim to promote good health. Certified yoga and belly-dance instructor of more than 13 years Melanie Wood leads classes and sells her own handmade items and yoga accessories at the onsite boutique. Other classes include hula-hoop-based Hooperobix meditation, which facilitates self-discovery, and Capo-X-Fit sessions combine the African and Brazilian art of capoeira with functional movements such as running, crawling, and climbing a wall to escape bear hugs.
Staff members include a chiropractor, licensed acupuncturist, and practitioner of Chinese medicine. The center's ambiance mirrors its diverse approach to wellness: a glass case within the bamboo-inspired front desk displays folk instruments and Eastern-inspired art, and the spacious yoga studio's exposed-brick accents give a rustic feel to the warm, red walls.
The stretching savants at Laughing Lizard Yoga Studio have constructed a diverse schedule of ligament-limbering classes to welcome students of all skill levels and a host of yogic passions. Dynamic sessions challenge experienced yogis, and a gentle series helps beginners cultivate a safe and fulfilling practice with sessions including Beginner Level I/II, which combines the respiratory-based transitions of Vinyasa flow with elements taken from a variety of yoga styles to create a physically invigorating sequence.
Adrenaline Barre Fitness's new, upscale fitness boutique hosts dynamic classes designed to shape both mind and body. Using a ballet barre for support, students perform small, isometric, dance-inspired movements to tone the body from head to webbed swan toes. Open gym time is available seven days a week for students who would rather bench-press to the beat of their own drum. Separate showers and changing areas are available.