With machines set up in rows to encourage competition, many ordinary gyms cater to men's bodies and psychology, right down to the urinals that were "accidentally" installed in the women's locker room. At Curves, you'll move around a circuit of hydraulic resistance machines that have been designed to work with women's bodies to promote weight loss, protect against osteoporosis, and deal with arthritis. An experienced trainer is always nearby to help manage your machine maneuvering and your muscle making. Instead of fiddling with weight stacks and losing your momentum, the hydraulic machines use your body weight and fitness level to create resistance that matches your abilities, decreasing the risk of soreness or injury. Because traditional lift-and-lower motions create bulky muscles, each machine uses push-and-pull motions to create toned, lean muscles perfect for crushing a grapefruit without looking like you can.
Speckled fish swim languidly through turquoise-blue water beneath an orange sky. Nearby, a pair of white cranes stretch their long necks toward the sun, and sea turtles glide past fronds of kelp looking for their lost keys. But this isn't an exotic animal sanctuary—rather, these natural scenes are captured in gleaming stained glass. The charming images are the work of the craftsmen at D & L Art Glass, a studio specializing in stained and leaded panes. They shape artistic pieces to adorn windows or doors, form colorful pendants, and etch eye-catching patterns into metal or stone surfaces. Instead of keeping their crystalline knowledge to themselves, the experts instruct others in the glass arts during classes and multiday workshops.
Fit-for-Her beckons guests to a facility designed from a woman's point of view, pampering them from cranium to phalange with a full array of spa services. The Forever Young facial spends one hour tinkering with the body's flux capacitor as it attempts to firm skin tone and reduce the appearance of fine lines. All facials bathe visages in a refreshing cloud of steam and exfoliate the porous epidermis, layering on a customized mask to address individual skincare needs and guarantee admission to the spa's midnight costume ball. In addition to facial buffing, sure-handed staff members coax stress out from the neck and shoulders with a thorough massage, aiding and abetting the facial by firmly turning frowns upside-down.
The artists at Wine and Canvas awaken their students’ inner Rembrandts and Van Goghs with classes that pair a featured painting with specialty cocktails and wines. The mobile studio’s monthly calendar includes themed classes in which instructors expound on the nuances of painting Parisian street lamps, Japanese flowers, or Venetian cityscapes. The master painters—many of them local artists—provide step-by-step instructions while students mimic each stroke and periodically dip their brushes into glasses filled with crimson cabernet. Each of the studio’s various drink-friendly venues boasts a specialty libation selected to incite creativity or conversations with fellow painters. When the artistic frenzy concludes, students return home with a finished masterpiece large enough to conceal any wall safe or mirror portal.
The instructors at City Yoga of St. Augustine take relaxation seriously. They invest in the translation of asana that means "at ease," a phrase that sums up their noncompetitive atmosphere and approach to each class. During lessons that encompass aspects of Vinyasa, Hatha, Ashtanga, and Lakulish yoga styles, they guide students through multiple versions of each pose. Fundamental postures can blossom into advanced holds or serve as meditative stretches for yogis of all experience levels. Rather than pushing their guests toward more difficult tableaus on smaller and smaller Twister mats, the teachers stress the value of awareness and introspection in comfort. They hope that their pupils can then transport the convivial spirit of the studio outside its walls, whether they are signing up for a full-moon beach yoga workshop or simply smiling on the walk home.