Drive dashing pretzel makers and snake handlers wild with fetching feats of flexibility cultivated at Olney Yoga & Wellness. Managed by a talented staff of professionally trained instructors that qualify as cougars and pumas, Olney Yoga provides soothingly stretchy guidance in a relaxing atmosphere. Students receive personalized attention while enjoying warm, open-aired décor featuring lustrous wood floors and stained-glass windows. Olney offers several different classes, including beginner yoga, vinyasa flow, gentle yoga, tantric qi gong, and praying-mantis back scratching. Additionally, a versatile schedule offers daily class options from morning to evening, making visits to Olney Yoga convenient in between hectic bird-watching itineraries and Bonanza reruns.
While some may view yoga as an effective way to mock the movements of household pets, Thrive Yoga's instructors delve into the art form’s fitness, spiritual, and meditative aspects. A stone pathway snakes through lush foliage growing from walls and decorative rocks, leading the way to a studio with spacious open ceilings and hand-painted artwork on the walls. Here, more than 40 classes and weekly workshops are taught by a staff well versed in making hands-on adjustments to individualize the experience for their students. Studio owner Susan Bowen leads a team of more than 20 instructors, each of whom bring their own expertise and backgrounds to bare as they teach.
In addition to traditional Hatha, Vinyasa flow, and hot-yoga sessions, instructors lead specialized workshops in styles such as prenatal yoga. Another specialty class, aerial yoga, employs the use of silk hammocks to suspend limbs from the floor, which is safer than tying dental floss around a light fixture and hoping for the best. The studio even offers teacher-certification training and engages small private parties with a yoga lesson, meditation, and Reiki healing. Thrive also maintains a boutique of yoga supplements such as mats, props, DVDs, books, and clothing.
Inside the spotless studio celebrating its 11th year of providing instruction, the heat swirls around the students of Bikram Yoga Rockville, lending to a warm, dynamic setting as they bend and pose. Each 90-minute session sends students flowing through a set of 26 postures, lead by the guidance of a certified, experienced, and nurturing instructor and wise words carved into the floor by previous students. The instructor provides students with comprehensive instructions for each pose—one building on the next to strengthen all the muscle groups—while offering corrections or modifications so all levels can practice together. Mats and towels are available for rental should students not have their own.
Personal trainer Brandon Todd whips bodies into shape via one-on-one, custom sweat sessions. Personal-training sessions are ideal for individuals just starting a consistent, optimized exercise routine, or for those who've reached a plateau in their regular workouts and are looking to take their training to the next tier.
For Shauna Simon and her family, yoga is more than just a workout or stress-reliever—it's an integral part of their daily lives. She first discovered the transformative powers of yoga when she was a teen and later lived in an ashram for many years, traveling to India to deepen her knowledge. At her yoga studio, she creates a nurturing atmosphere for adults and kids so that each student can leave feeling energized and peaceful.
High-energy beats from artists such as Flo Rida, B.o.B., and the Black Eyed Peas bounce forth from the spinning studio at Rock Creek Sports Club, where nationally certified trainers lead stationary cyclists through challenging routes. In addition to these pop-powered workouts, the studio hosts more than 50 other fitness classes, an array of options that prompted the editors of Bethesda Magazine to name the studio 2012’s Best Neighborhood Gym. Zumba classes encourage students to boogie away calories to latin beats, and boxing clinics incorporate one-on-one attention from Golden Glove winner Russell Davis. The team of trainers can also coach visitors through the weight-loss process, or helm small group workout sessions capped at eight participants. The gym also welcomes independent workouts, with equipment such as treadmills, benches, and weights awaiting a few breathless reps of their own.