Yoga can instill its practitioners with inner strength and peace, and Real Life Yoga helps students capture these qualities through more than just sun salutations. The studio conducts its classes in an environment designed to be non-competitive, welcoming, and lighthearted. Owner Dee Lyon and her team of accomplished teachers welcome brand-new students as well as yoga aficionados, providing mats to those without. The certified instructors encourage safe, healthy sessions, suggesting modifications that can ease stress and prevent discomfort, injury, or getting stuck that way. They offer non-yoga classes, too, including tai chi, self-defense, and a high-energy combination of boxing, dance, and Pilates.
Though Christopher Bopp has won first place three times in a row at the New England Regional Yoga Asana Championships, he does not consider yoga a sport. For him, the art is a daily practice, one that assists with the regular upkeep of his body and mind. He and the certified instructors at Bikram Yoga Quincy hope to pass the basics of the technique on to others, who will in turn interpret them to suit their personal credos.
Because everyone's perception of yoga varies, Christopher encourages guests to attend classes from different instructors. The 90-minute class structure—26 asanas in a toasty studio—remains the same, but each teacher's character illuminates the lesson from a fresh angle. As the instructors’ personalities coalesce under a single yoga style, the end result is a diverse but dedicated community. Familial vibes fill the lobby after every class, when students and instructors can share crisp bites of fruit and figure out who was and was not a heat mirage.
Owner Richard Lanza began Open Doors as a metaphysical healing center and store in 1992, and he carried that healing spirit into the yoga studio he opened in 2003. At Open Doors Yoga Studios, Richard's goal is to create a space where people feel empowered to explore their personal beliefs on a path toward self-healing. Thus, yoga instructors at the studio's numerous locations help practitioners achieve their personal goals through accessible classes, each designed to build core strength while quieting the mind and increasing body awareness. From slow-flow heated classes to unheated Hatha sessions, students can participate in a variety of yoga styles geared toward beginners, more experienced participants, and those who only feel comfortable in a 98-degree room.
After a fast-paced 20-year career working in public television, Fay Sutherland shifted her focus to her other passion: yoga. Drawing from 19 years of practice and multiple yoga certifications, she opened Dancing Crow Yoga with her husband, aspiring to help others to increase their fitness level while striving toward inner freedom. Fay and her fellow certified instructors teach Vinyasa, Yin, Restorative, Gentle, and Eclectic Hatha yoga styles. Each can be just as challenging for the body as they are nurturing to the soul. Vinyasa’s high-intensity series of continuous postures is linked by deep, mindful breaths, helping practitioners of all shapes, sizes, and Baldwin-brother preference to build strength and flexibility while achieving a state of serene relaxation. Calling themselves "The hidden sanctuary of yoga at the Derby Street Shoppes", the team at Dancing Crow Yoga strive to teach correct and safe alignment postures so that everyone may experience the benefit of each class.
Exhale Spa seeks to transform its clientele inside and out. The founding team of fitness professionals and aestheticians sought to create an environment where they could empower visitors with pampering spa treatments, invigorating fitness classes, and lifestyle education, helping clients attain a sense of control and holistic balance. Now with 19 locations across 11 cities, Exhale Spa and its signature services have earned mentions in numerous national publications, including People magazine, the New York Times, and O, The Oprah Magazine.
Exhale's signature Core Fusion classes incorporate dance-inspired stretches, yoga poses, and Pilates exercises into total-body workouts that build long, lean limbs and sturdy abdominal muscles over time. For an even more varied workout, the instructors introduce boot-camp techniques, cardio exercises, or multiplication tables to select sessions. Yoga classes present a similar amount of breadth and variety, drawing inspiration from a number of introspective and physically oriented styles. To help hasten physical transformations, nutrition and wellness coaches teach attendees about the impacts of diet. These sessions build an awareness of healthy eating habits through custom meal plans and by teaching clients how to identify the edible parts of a fruit basket.
Many of the center's traditional spa services seek to inspire confidence. Facials pamper and refine skin using everything from green tea and fruit extracts to microcurrent technology, and mani-pedis revitalize digits before glazing nails with a vibrant new coat of color. Bodywork treatments look beyond physical relaxation and focus on holistic concerns. Massage therapists can use Eastern or Western modalities to soothe overstressed musculature, and acupuncture treatments and reiki sessions jump-start natural healing processes by encouraging the free flow of inner energies.
South End Yoga owner-instructor Patrice Flesch has been studying yoga for nearly four decades, but it was Kripalu yoga that finally inspired her to become a certified yoga instructor. Extremely accessible to newcomers and people with physical limitations, the discipline is distinguished by an extensive system of pose modifications that build flexibility gradually. Flesch applies these principles outside the studio in work with Alzheimer’s, cardiac, and cancer patients at her home base, a tucked-away space on a leafy street lined with row houses that all have excellent posture. Many of the classes at South End Yoga are tailored to accommodate students of all backgrounds, and most are limited to a small number of students.
Among other styles of yoga, Iyengar classes incorporate lightweight props to methodically tone muscles. Some classes are designed specifically with moms and moms-to-be in mind. During prenatal yoga, expectant mothers work on focused breathing and gentle stretching, whereas Mom & Baby classes incorporate tiny tots in a series of toning stretches.