Red mats cover the floors at Vitale's Karate Academy, softening falls and protecting joints as students spar with each other or attack invisible foes. Seasoned instructors impart their knowledge of martial arts to kids, which can foster a lifelong practice that builds discipline and encourages positive attitudes while keeping them active. Adults who study martial arts also grow in discipline and confidence as they lose weight and gain self-defense skills. Similarly, cardio-kickboxing classes combine martial arts, boxing, and aerobics to burn calories and tone muscles. When they aren't teaching classes, instructors facilitate karate-themed birthday parties that add educational drills and games to the festivities.
The yoga instructors at The Family Yoga Center Inc. help practitioners of all ages and skills center their minds and relax their bodies. Directed by Jennifer Orobello, who specializes in alignment-based yoga, classes involve mastering one pose at a time. First, students achieve the pose, and then they hold it in order to foster deeper mind-body connections and increase strength and flexibility. Confident that yoga is accessible to everyone, the instructors encourage using yoga wedges, blocks, or walls in order to help with holding poses.
Classic blue-and-red mats span from wall to mirror-covered wall inside Wards ATA Martial Arts. That room is where kids and adults alike convene while wearing crisp white uniforms cinched at the waist with colorful belts. Students learn martial-arts techniques, including tae kwon do and karate.