Led by more than 1,000 wellness experts at locations in Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, and Tennessee, the more than 30,000 members of Prairie Life Fitness have discovered why the company slogan is "Fitness for the Entire Family." The certified trainers and instructors cater to exercisers of various ages and abilities, all within an upscale, welcoming atmosphere. Kids take advantage of engaging childcare activities and youth programs, including swimming lessons, martial arts, and story time. Meanwhile, parents can workout on the latest equipment, including stationary cycles and Pilates machines. Guests can also relax with amenities such as massage therapy, tanning beds, and a whirlpool powered by wholesale bags of Pop Rocks.
While their toes dig into the glossy bamboo floors, students stretch their arms to the ceiling, feeling the hot air curl around their fingertips as their muscles relax into the posture. As light streams in from the windows, an instructor leads the students through one of many classes held at Radiant Yoga, which are designed to suit all fitness levels. Newcomers starting in Yoga Basics get a feel for the proper alignment and foundational asanas before graduating to the titular Radiant Hot Yoga, which covers core- and strength-building moves in a studio heated to 90–95 degrees. Yoga therapy also helps those with musculoskeletal imbalances or painful childhood memories of playing a perfectly still tree in a school play.
For Emily and Sarah Darling, owners of Darling Yoga, helping students experience the present is both an art and a gift. They team up with 16 other seasoned instructors to guide students toward physical wellness and inner peace through the practice of ancient poses and breathing exercises. Emily and other instructors lead classes for all levels, during which stress melts faster than a snowman in a mosh pit. Their sessions range from beginner-friendly Yoga Basics to Vinyasa and Ashtanga routines for intermediate and advanced students. The expert tandem also hosts children's classes during many of the adult sessions, helping young yogis build strength, flexibility, and focus as their parents do the same in the classroom next door.
In one of their studios, natural light flows through large windows, bathing groups in uplifting sunbeams during challenging bends and balances. After class, students can unwind in onsite showers or browse a boutique brimming with yoga mats, props, and apparel.
Yoga School's charming Overland Park studio is 3,000 square feet of stretching and strengthening space fitted with custom bamboo floors and a spacious changing room. Classes last 60 to 90 minutes and are offered for all levels, as well as a few special classes such as yoga for golfers, therapeutic yoga, and YogaFun classes for kids and families. Yoga School focuses primarily on therapeutic classes to treat illnesses, offering restorative classes to help those with chronic pain and special focus classes for those with neurological and autoimmune disorders such as Parkinson's, arthritis, fibromyalgia; they also offer standard yoga classes. Because class sizes are small, Yoga School's 17 eagle-eyed, certified and licensed instructors will spot and correct any improper form or foot wobble that might cause you pain or prevent you from getting the most out of each pose, be it downward-facing dog, warrior 1, or Highlander 2: The Quickening. Yoga School of Therapeutics has been in business for 25 years and offers a teacher training program, so seasoned yogis and nervous novices can expect comprehensive, compassionate help from experienced instructors.
A Reformer machine utilizes reconfigurable resistance bands to build a rock-solid body without turning users into Rocky. Easy on the joints but hard on flab, a Reformer can be adjusted to fit any level of fitness. In Reformed's 50-minute circuit class, you'll blend sessions on the machine with light free weights, general resistance drills, and exercises on Bosu and Swiss balls. With experienced instructors as your guides and six classes a week to choose from, you'll soon be flawlessly flinging yourself over the hotdog carts that run amok in city streets.
Pilates enthusiasts might recognize Kahley Schiller from the cover of Pilates Style magazine, while pageant enthusiasts might recognize her as 2013's Ms. Kansas United States. It's not surprising that she's become so visible, as she's been involved with everything from releasing her own mat and reformer workout DVDs to training dancers for the popular Las Vegas show Le Reve.
At her own studio, Pilates by Kahley, she's taken her experience as a teacher of dance, aerobics, cardio, and Pilates and put together a diverse schedule of classes. Beyond Pilates staples such as mat and reformer sessions, students can also take jump-board cardio, power barre, and BOSU challenge classes.