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.
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.
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