Mahatma Gandhi once spoke the words, "Be the change you wish to see in the world." Yoga instructor Kimberly strives to live by this motto. Though she holds degrees in civil engineering and finance, she chooses instead to volunteer in the community, coach young female runners, and support education programs. At Yogacentric, Kimberly helps students of all ages manage stress, lose weight, and successfully impersonate a rubber band through 10 classes and counting. Trained in the Ashtanga system of yoga, Kimberly emphasizes breath as the connection between asanas.
Part of a national chain featured on E!, LA Sunset Tan boasts a legion of Smart Tan–certified staff members who help clients select the perfect UV or UV-free options to give their skin a sun-kissed glow. Amid metallic décor and purple-hued walls, the tanning experts lead each customer into private rooms with standup or lie-down beds, aromatherapy, and iPod plug-ins so tanners can listen to their favorite prerecorded static. Spray-tan artists wield airbrushes to accent muscular lines in one of eight custom shades.
A licensed chiropractor and experienced martial artist, Dr. John Surie started practicing hot yoga when he met his future wife, Natalie. Charmed by her Australian accent and passion for the practice, he soon became an avid Bikram student himself, and in 2002, the husband-and-wife duo opened their first studio with Natalie helming her own curriculum of Bikram-inspired classes. Today, their hot-yoga empire has expanded to five studios sprinkled across the United States and Australia, each teeming with certified instructors who lead students through 13 different class styles. Designed to make hot yoga accessible to everyone, classes range from the studio’s signature Ignite series, which introduces newcomers to the foundations of hot yoga, to intense Shape classes that see stretchers melding hot-yoga and Pilates moves while solving Pythagorean equations.
Each studio comes equipped with special flooring tailored to the humid environment of hot yoga, as well as air-circulation and advanced heating systems to keep fresh, hot air blowing.
During Shiva Shanti Yoga School's Vinyasa-style yoga classes, founder Felise Berman guides students toward inner peace with outward expressions of love, joy, and gratitude. Known as Shivadasi to her pupils, Berman draws upon studies at India's Bihar Yoga Bharati Institute for Advanced Studies to fill multilevel routines with ancient poses and meditation exercises. Most sessions begin with Shivadasi's signature sun salutation, which unites 24 asanas that warm the muscles and focus the brain. As the class progresses, deep breaths weave movements into a flow that’s more graceful than a swan's royal curtsy. In addition to hosting Vinyasa classes, Shivadasi and her teaching team lead yoga nidra sessions, which relax the body as the mind explores lucid dreams. The studio also helps pupils deepen their yogic practice with one-on-one tutorials and a collection of instructional DVDs available in its online boutique.
Seeking the formula for an ideal gym, Bob Bonham spent 15 years exploring other fitness facilities, talking to trainers, and studying equipment—all the while taking note of what worked and what didn't. He put all of his research to good use, opening Strong and Shapely Gym in 1984, packing its 25,000 square feet with professional strength-training equipment and cardio machines. He organized the workout areas by body part, an innovative design concept that won praise from Bodybuilding.com.
Today, you can spot fitness seekers of all stripes at the 24-hour facility, from regular moms and dads to famous bodybuilders. A staff of certified trainers inhabit the gym, conducting personal-training sessions and leading group fitness classes, such as yoga and Pilates. The expert staff eagerly supply members with fitness tips and advice, from tactics to prevent workout boredom to instructions for donating old gym socks for use as therapy puppets. The gym boasts a variety of convenient amenities, including onsite tanning, childcare, and a supplements store.
What began in 1975 as one inner-city gym in Highland Park, Michigan, has since evolved into a global health-club organization with locations in 17 different countries. Powerhouse Gym equips weightlifters and cardio bunnies alike with all they’ll ever need to keep—or create—a tight and toned physique. The gym offers equipment outfitted with personal TVs as well as a cast of certified and knowledgeable personal trainers. Depending on location, members will also have access to group fitness classes, such as yoga, Zumba, and Les Mills BodyPump, as well as 24-7 turnkey access to the facility.