Within City Fitness Philadelphia's sprawling, warehouse-style facilities, the energetic and passionate staff motivates patrons to burn fat and build muscles to reach their fitness goals in a supportive environment. Within the open gym's vibrant walls, guests torch calories on the Star Trac cardio machines while keeping cool with built-in personal fans and staving off boredom with personal LCD TVs. For group sweat sessions, up to 12 students synchronize their workouts in small group classes, during which motivating instructors lead their wards through such regimens as as ab-chiseling routines and high-energy cardio kickboxing. Patrons pair up with a certified personal trainer for the one-on-one iTrain program, powered by MBSC Thrive, which sends them on a fitness journey focused on nutrition, cardio fitness, core strength, and functional performance training to enhance day-to-day activities such as lifting heavy boxes and protecting your young from silver wolves. After a grueling workout, guests can chug no-sugar-added fruit smoothies packed with natural proteins at the juice bar or complement a beach-ready body with a beach-ready bronze with onsite tanning services.
Though he has studied, practiced, and taught yoga in such far-flung locales as Mexico and Southeast Asia, Zeb Homison counts his childhood living room in western Pennsylvania as the site of his fondest yoga memory. That's where, as a tottering pre-kindergartener, he worked through poses alongside his mother. After studying dance and theater, Homison—now the owner of Bikram Yoga Pittsburgh— moved to San Francisco, where he rekindled his relationship with yoga while working at a Bikram yoga studio.
The heat, combined with the repetitions of the postures, focused his mind while conditioning his body, and he was hooked. Studying under Bikram Choudhury, the father of Bikram yoga, was another clarifying experience and one that taught Homison to open up and accept the inevitable. That could mean working through intensely fatigued muscles to push toward greater flexibility, or performing all 26 poses at a black-tie dinner party whenever guests clink their glasses and shout "Pose!"
"When studying yoga, you have to be patient with yourself," says Homison, echoing the philosophy that his staff repeats to encourage students to take their time learning the practice. Together, the team works with patrons, inspiring them through bouts of frustration. "Yoga can be a lifelong process," Homison says, "and you just have to be open to it."
More than 100 fitness classes pack the schedule at Steel Fitness Premier Health & Wellness—and that's just for one week. From indoor cycling and kettlebell training to pool exercise for arthritis and Vinyasa flow yoga, the group classes span the entire spectrum of intensity and workout routines. Giving exercisers a wide array of options is a running theme at the gym, which boasts amenities such as three pools (a four-lane lap pool and heated pools for classes), an indoor track, two spacious group fitness studios, and cardio machines and free weights.
Daralyse Lyons, founder of Emotional Yoga, knows the recovery powers of yoga firsthand. After struggling for years with an eating disorder, anxiety, and OCD, she began practicing yoga to help release some of her emotional pain and trauma. But yoga alone wasn't enough—it helped her recognize the pain, but not release it. So she combined her yogic work with the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), an emotional acupressure method developed by Gary Craig. EFT helps unblock negative energy through talk therapy and pressure-point tapping. With the joint help of yoga and EFT, she had a healing breakthrough. Today, she shares the benefits of what she's experienced with students at Emotional Yoga. Students can opt for private, couples, and group sessions—both for emotional yoga and yoga sessions.
Though they each come from different backgrounds––including training in various types of yoga––the certified instructors at Totally Yoga share a dedication of getting their students enthusiastic about yoga. To accomplish this, they foster an encouraging and convivial atmosphere at their studio, where students of all skill levels participate in Vinyasa workouts held in a heated studio. With regular practice, they help them to achieve a boost in flexibility, athletic performance, and weight-loss efforts.
Even when Dawn Smelser began the one-year teacher training program at the YogaLife Institute, she never intended to teach—just deepen her understanding of the practice. But just four months in, she started co-teaching the program; eight months in, an anonymous donor funded a scholarship so she could attend the Yoga Institute of Mumbai in India. That was more than a decade ago. Today, Dawn brings these and many other experiences—including her training as an interfaith minister—to MotherHeart Studio, where she teaches alongside Samantha Gowan, a yogi of five years. Together, they lead yoga classes rooted in classical yoga prana flow, kundalini techniques, and the Vinyasa style.