Co-owners Cindy Mastry and Jen Lowery forged the studio's varied yoga curriculum by alloying their extensive training histories. Cindy set off toward inner peace in the 1960s, holding poses alongside her grandmother. Combining her early experiences in yoga with years of dance and fitness training, she opened a home yoga practice and joined the Exalted Warrior Foundation to bring yogic healing to injured military personnel. Jen Lowery studied under several yoga masters to perfect her technique. She deepened her practice by completing an 800-hour Yoga Traditions Philosophy course, led by lauded expert Georg Feuerstein, in a single day.
Despite their rigorous training, Cindy and Jen tend to emphasize the relaxing, fun aspects of yoga through classes in Vinyasa flow, stretching, and partner work. Their own 200-hour course for aspiring yoga teachers imparts the values of 8 Limb Vinyasa flow, covering anatomy, pose sequencing, pedagogic techniques, and ways to climb spider webs without alerting the spider.
Having seen an upswing in interest in one of the world’s oldest dance styles, Johanna and Karen started a belly-dancing collective in 2004 as a way to create a community for both professionals and students and an audience for monthly showcases. They gave these enthusiasts a brick-and-mortar hangout in 2008 when they opened their first center for classes and events, which has since blossomed and moved into a new space nearly four times the size of the old studio.
Today, Hip Expressions offers drop-in and ongoing classes led by seasoned instructors. Classes focus on introducing newcomers to the art form’s fundamental isolation techniques that keep hips and waists from arguing over the remote. In addition to belly dancing, classes include a variety of other dances and fitness crazes such as Zumba, yoga for dancers, or active isolated stretching.
The BarreAmped Method enlists the fitness fundamentals of classical dance, Pilates, and yoga to create a full-body workout that works to tone muscles while helping improve body awareness, balance, and coordination. Both studio locations boast physically invigorating classes for a range of fitness levels; click here for the Tampa schedule of classes taught by certified Barre Amped instructor Denise Tini and the St. Petersburg schedule of classes taught by certified Barre Amped instructor Maria Gerelus. A ballet barre props up precarious postures and aligns wayward limbs as classes of up to 16 students arch and bend through a series of held postures that produce effective, enjoyable soreness deep into muscles with tiny isometric movements. Even if they lack formal dance training, attendees can boost their metabolisms to hummingbird levels and cultivate lean, graceful muscles and the flexibility of an empty appointment book.
Since its founding 90 years ago, YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg has shaped the lives of its members and the direction of its neighborhoods with a full fitness facility and a commitment to community programs and services. The not-for-profit organization stimulates active lifestyles with pulse-hiking equipment and amenities including a 25-yard heated pool, waterslide, and indoor climbing wall. More than 90 weekly group aerobics classes inspire members to torch calories or conquer fear of jumping jacks in a supportive team environment, whereas a children's activity room keeps younger members aged 3 months to 12 years safe and occupied. A vast collection of cardio machines maintains healthy heart rates, and a gymnasium with two basketball courts helps members prepare to win games of horse or quash rebellions led by sentient peach baskets.
Invented in 1999 by fitness instructor Tim Ganley, KaYoga combines two invigorating workouts with beautiful scenery and adventure. KaYoga students embark on a three-hour trip, starting when they slide into a Tim Ganley kayak, then paddle it from Ft. Desoto to one of the pristine nearby barrier islands for an hour of yoga on the beach, which is preferable to yoga in a tar pit. Called "an inspired fusion of pastimes" by the Times of London, KaYoga is as invigorating spiritually as it is physically. On the kayak journey, it's not unusual to encounter dolphins, an occasional manatee, other sea creatures, and celebrities who are preparing for their roles as talking kelp.
With machines set up in rows to encourage competition, many ordinary gyms cater to men's bodies and psychology, right down to the urinals that were "accidentally" installed in the women's locker room. At Curves, you'll move around a circuit of hydraulic resistance machines that have been designed to work with women's bodies and promote weight loss, protect against osteoporosis, and deal with arthritis. An experienced trainer is always nearby to help manage your machine maneuvering and your muscle making. Instead of fiddling with weight stacks and losing your momentum, the hydraulic machines use your body weight and fitness level to create resistance that matches your abilities, decreasing the risk of soreness or injury. Because traditional lift-and-lower motions create bulky muscles, each machine uses push-and-pull motions to create toned, lean muscles perfect for crushing a grapefruit without looking like you can.