Kristin was nervous before her first pole-dancing class. Sure, she?d spent years as a fitness specialist with a background in classical dance, but she was also working as the volunteer director at her church. What would people think? At her first turn around the pole, however, her fears vanished. ?I felt like a goddess and an acrobat,? she says.
Today, Kristin is a certified pole instructor, a master trainer for Pole Move, Inc, and a member of the Pole Fitness Association. Inside her 3,400-square-foot studio, she works alongside 16 PFA-certified instructors to teach women body acceptance through pole dancing. More than 3,000 female students so far have sampled the studio's liberating, confidence-boosting classes. There's a broad selection of class types, including eight stages of pole dancing, burlesque, aerobic classes, core conditioning, aerial silks, and aerial yoga. Each class caps attendance at 10 students to ensure instructors know everyone?s name and favorite sandwich, and that they can keep an eye out for safety and technique.
Inside Bikram Yoga Plainfield’s cozy studios, soaring temperatures allow students contorted in muscle-building postures to deepen their stretching and expel toxins through perspiration. Expert instructors lead students through a series of 26 postures, each building off the next to help them build flexibility, strength, and enough confidence to never again be intimidated by a pretzel. Parents can drop off mini-yogis for childcare five mornings a week before stretching out muscles on their own mat or one rented from the studio.
Inner Elements owner Charlotte Trux and her staff of highly trained instructors fortify core muscles with Pilates and Gyrotonic techniques, as well as attending to overall wellness with massage, acupuncture, and weight-management coaching. Sturdy, wooden Pilates machines stretch and strengthen muscles with varying levels of resistance under the supervision of an experienced instructor. The Gyrotonic expansion system strengthens ligaments and keeps hesitant planets on their axes with a combination of rotation and support. Gentle massage kneads loosen tight muscle knots and alternative medicine techniques such as reiki and acupuncture work to realign the body's energy flow to work to treat a variety of ailments.
Jill Dailey McIntosh has always been intrigued by the human body and how it moves—so much so that she graduated in 1991 with a kinesiology degree and soon thereafter decided to open her own Pilates teaching studio. But it wasn't until years later that this curiosity would manifest itself in a single question: "How can one aggressively transform the shape of their body while still maintaining proper alignment of the spine?" Eventually Jill began to examine her diverse fitness background, pulling low-impact movements from ballet, Pilates, and even orthopedic-exercise routines to create the basis for her fitness style, The Dailey Method.
Now, more than a decade later, Dailey's fitness routine has ballooned into studios sprawled across more than 10 states and gained praise from Self, Allure, FitPregnancy, and InStyle magazines. Regardless of the location, instructors remain true to Jill's mission of offering a diverse series of exercises that focus on toning and lengthening the body while lengthening the spine and building strong core muscles.
Colleen Patrino completed her master teacher certification studies under the direction of Jill Dailey McIntosh, and she brought the technique to Naperville, founding The Dailey Method's first location in Illinois. Shortly after opening, Colleen met Michelle Waranoski—a fitness enthusiast with more than 15 years of ballet training and Pilates teacher certification—and the duo became partners, eventually expanding with a second location in Wheaton. These two studios still embrace Jill's original vision for The Dailey Method, although each location also caters to its attendees' needs with amenities such as spa-like locker rooms, onsite childcare, and horse-hitching posts in the parking lot.
Divine Power Yoga is helmed by founder Mary Frances, who parlayed her ten-year stint of practicing yoga and her studies with famed yogi Baron Baptiste into the birth of her own studio. The soothing confines envelop students of all experience levels as they undulate through power Vinyasa yoga poses in rooms heated up to 90 degrees, building flexibility and endurance while introducing their minds, bodies, and spirits to each other through firm chakra handshakes. A smattering of classes stretch across each week, while intermittent events such as a Yoga for Two workshop or an all-day yoga boot camp help participants enhance their regular practices.
For more than fifteen years, Universal Spirit Yoga’s experienced instructors have taught yoga, curvy yoga, hot yoga, and meditation classes at their Naperville studio. Classic hatha yoga offers an introduction to alignment and basic technique. Several specialty classes target all age groups—there are Baby and Me, kid, and pre-teen classes as well as yoga sessions designed for those age 50 and above. During the Yoga Scents class, an instructor uses music and aromatherapy for a multisensory lesson that’s far more effective than yoga with periodic foghorn blasts.