The Union's instructors like to remind their students that for every expert yogi, there was a first class. They hold on to this humble philosophy at three studios, where high temperatures help both old hands and newcomers stay limber. The staff cautions their students against aiming for perfection during the 90-minute courses; instead maintaining that, by simply trying each of the 26 postures and two breathing exercises, bodies and minds achieve the maximum benefit.
To highlight the value of consistent practice, they encourage visitors to take the 60-day challenge, which charges students to attend one class every day for 60 days. Those who accomplish this task are immortalized by writing their name on the Challenge Wall, which doubles as the police force's superhero directory. The studios also honor individuals in their class community with the yogi of the month feature, a series of interviews with students about their Bikram yoga practice.
Pilates Authentica's Cecilia Dominguez may not have studied Pilates directly under its founder, Joseph Pilates, but she came pretty close. Working at a scant distance of one remove from the legendary exercise engineer, she studied with his former protégé, Romana Kryzanowska and her daughter. Under the two acolytes, Cecilia learned Pilates the way the original plyometric pioneer intended, and she continues that same tradition at her studio, where she leads private and group lessons. She follows his philosophies and exercises to the letter, helping her students reap the slew of benefits that Pilates has to offer: boosted energy and circulation, increased flexibility, decreased stress, and posture straighter than a protractor that saw a ghost.