Before she took her first yoga class in 2003, Kelly O'Connell led a very different life than she does today. According to a story by Leigh Medeiros of Seekonk-Swansea Patch, O'Connell spent her days stretching herself thin as a principal in a stock brokerage firm before she decided to try a new kind of stretching: heated yoga. Through the practice, O'Connell found herself growing not only more physically flexible, but also more mentally adaptable. She told Medeiros, "I used to get lost in my emotions, but now there’s space between me and everything else that happens in the world. In that space there’s peace.”
To share the inner harmony she had discovered, O'Connell earned her yoga-instructor certification in 2008. She went on to complete several advanced trainings, including becoming a certified yoga life coach, a certified yoga personal trainer, and an Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher (E-RYT 500) through Yoga Alliance. Today she owns and operates Yoga One, where she and her team guide adults and kids toward finding balance both in and out of the studio. They also host teacher trainings and events, including a book club, Reiki sessions, and meditation workshops featuring chocolate tastings that stimulate the mind and taste buds better than eating a haiku written in alphabet soup.
Riverside Dance Center's teachers have helped fledgling dancers shimmy with precision for nearly 30 years. The studio's owner leads each adult class through a series of steps, emphasizing technique as students explore clicks, stomps, and shuffles. Kids strut to beats and rhymes in Hip-Hop I and II, learning how to ignite a rap battle in case of emergency. Today's Groupon may also be used for Stretch & Tone exercise classes or a Zumba workshop, which shows fitness seekers dance-inspired moves that burn calories when paired with Latin-style rhythms.
All four Total Fitness locations hold a variety of up-to-date fitness equipment and more than 25 energetically instructed classes. From cardio-kickboxing and spinning to Pilates and strength training, the fitness curriculum readies muscles and cardio systems to take on new challenges, such as running a marathon at the bottom of the ocean. Aspiring Zumbalinas can opt for Zumba classes to learn Latin dance moves; time-hindered humans can choose the power half-hour class, a core strengthening and high intensity cardio blast that burns calories like a flaming donut; and those in search of motivation can take boot camp, which comes complete with a military-esque instructor.
Bally Total Fitness enshrines exercise classes, calorie-burning equipment, and a fitness-focused staff within its sanctuaries of health. A 30-day guest pass includes access to a spread of group exercise classes, including Pilates, Reaction Cycling, Step Fitness, and High-Impact Hopscotch (class offerings vary by location). For self-guided worker-outers, cardio equipment such as treadmills, elliptical machines, cross-trainers, and stair climbers torch calories while entertaining the brain with video entertainment and integrated music systems that occasionally whisper quotes from Charles Atlas. Bally also boasts a bulk-building army of strength machines, free weights, and small-apparatus equipment, and grants gym-goers access to on-site locker rooms, showers, and, at some locations, a pool and steam room. Visit each location's webpage for a list of specific amenities and the lineup of classes.
Though Breathing Time Yoga is housed within an old jewelry textile mill built in the 1800s, its classes hearken back to an even earlier time. Beneath the lofty 20-foot ceilings, seasoned instructors—many of whom have completed several hundred hours of teacher training—practice ancient poses and breathing exercises designed to promote strength, flexibility, and inner peace. During heated yoga classes, they turn up the infrared heating system to deepen stretches, help bodies sweat out toxins, and prevent arctic penguins from waddling in and interrupting class. Within this communal practice area illuminated by the sunlight drifting through the oversize windows, they also host non-heated classes that explore the breath-fueled sequences of Vinyasa-style yoga and the lengthy, alignment-focused poses of the Iyengar tradition.
In addition to leading yoga routines for students of all levels, the instructors supply free spring water, tea, mats, and props. After class, they encourage students to socialize in the reception room or browse the onsite library. Those interested in bolstering their mind-body connections may also schedule private meetings with a certified yoga therapist or personal coaching from yoga teachers.