Nine teachers. Twelve styles of classes. Seven days of class per week. Whether they’re expectant mothers, 7-year-old children, or lifelong power-yoga practitioners, yogis come to Om Yoga’s studio to practice their chosen ancient body-bending art. In each class, the instructors adhere to the eight-limbed philosophy of Ashtanga yoga, modifying the poses and stretches for students of all experience levels.
Many studios focus solely on two principles of yoga: asanas (poses) and pranayama (breath control). However, Om Yoga’s teachers focus on a practice that involves all eight aspects of this traditional art, which include such intangibles as morality, self-observation, and even the ability to control the senses, a helpful trick when staring into the sun while standing next to an angry skunk.
YogaFlex employs 16 accredited instructors to bend limbs and minds into harmonious configurations. Choose from more than 35 weekly classes, offered in tissue-tweaking styles including deep stretch, therapeutic Ashtanga yoga, and toxin-wicking hot yoga. All sessions are lead in a friendly and comprehensive manner, with overtones of constant challenge and encouragement. Because the studio’s supply of yoga mats is limited, students are encouraged to bring their own cushy rectangles from home.
Five different classes beckon benders to the peaceful, rejuvenating atmosphere at Yoga Palace. The friendly, experienced teachers draw from varied backgrounds to help acclimate aspirant rubberbods to the variety of styles. All levels of yogi can test their appendages in the Yoga Basics course, while parents can join kids over the age of four and immortalize their sweat dynasty in the lighthearted family yoga course. Channel your breath, balance your muscles, and oxygenate thirsty organs with the Vinyasa course, or build stamina and practice your contemplative statue stances in the slow flow course. Whatever class you choose, you'll leave feeling at ease, stable, and confident, ready to brave a week on an evil swivel chair or a month in a labyrinth of limbo parties.
Growing up in a family of competitive wrestlers, Quinn Reynolds paved her own road away from the sport. She diverted from her father and brothers by pursuing swimming, ballet, and soccer, the latter of which won her a scholarship to the University of Illinois. When she began hot yoga, however, she realized that she was destined for a career on the mat after all. She completed her certification and brought her flexing expertise to Arrichion, a training facility for wrestlers and mixed martial artists where her specialized classes challenge yogis and help to round out the workout routines of seasoned athletes—including the wrestlers on her dad's team.
In class sessions named after different gemstones, Quinn and her team of instructors emphasize approachability and sound technique. They refrain from potentially distracting practices such as chanting or applying mascara to third eyes during the purposeful flow sequences and core-tightening stretches. The hybrid Tiger's Eye class even begins with a fighter's circuit-training component, lending credence to the gym's claim that "real fighters do yoga."
Flex + Fit cultivates an environment focused on well-being, from sweat-inducing fitness classes to habit-changing cooking classes. This effort was lauded by Charlotte Magazine in its 2012 Best of the Best feature. The group fitness curriculum includes sweat-inducing hot yoga, in which limbs bend and stretch in a studio stoked to the ideal temperature, and air classes that suspend students from the ceiling to execute mid-air yoga, ballet, or fitness moves, or—as recently featured on CNN—to nap.
Complementing the fitness classes are lessons in culinary exploration, hosted by head chefs and tour guides that teach small gatherings to craft meals and sip complimentary libations in an on-site kitchen. The fitness studio’s natural-wood floors give way to a wall-mounted Buddha figurine at the head of classes, and his-and-hers locker rooms lavish hard-working muscles with a soothing downpour from overhead showers bred from two prize-winning Amazonian rain clouds.
Let a sense of calmness drape your body like the linens of a Grecian princess by feeding yourself the grapes of today's Groupon. For $30, you get access to any five group yoga classes at 8th Street Studio, a $75 value. Bring your Groupon into the studio to receive your punch card so you can track your remaining sessions.