On a recent birthday, Shawn Shaw reflected on her life. There had been lessons learned about love, happiness, and the inherent beauty of life that is present even amid disappointment. For Shawn, a dedicated practice of yoga and meditation was the wellspring for many of the lessons learned. The teenage Shawn kept fit as a distance runner, first picking up yoga as a supplementary form of exercise and stretching. It wasn't until a few years later, amid a storm of personal struggles and a battle with cancer, that she discovered the healing properties of daily practice. Today she credits yoga with transforming her physical and emotional health and cultivating a peaceful attitude. Moreover, her newfound clarity and mental presence become something Shawn had to share. She opened her own studio, Metrowest Yoga, in 2005. Now with two locations in Westborough and Worcester, the curriculum includes Shawn's own invention, Myoga Hot Hatha, which is grounded in stillness and allows students to hold poses longer than usual as they make peace between breath and body.
Metrowest Yoga's studio focuses on building a strong healthy body and cultivating a calm, peaceful mind. The styles offered are mostly vigorous in a heated room but some gentle restorative classes are offered too. Regularly scheduled classes include Vinyasa or Flow, Hatha and Ashtanga styles. Beginner?s classes or a 6 week Brand New Beginner?s course are also offered.
It's not unusual to walk into Robinson Music Inc. and hear the deep growl of a bassoon or the sweet notes of a violin. Fueled by a common love of chords, this music store invests itself in its customers with lessons in private studios and instrument rentals and repairs. Students can learn under the tutelage of professional musicians from the New England Conservatory of Music or the Berklee College of Music, who teach piano, guitar, and voice techniques or help subjects prepare for auditions in the shower showtunes industry. The music-minded staff can also replace strings, re-hair bows, re-tune pianos, and restore woodwinds.
Arthur Murray has been a leading name in franchise dance since 1912, when the entrepreneur began selling mail-order dance lessons. Expanding his reach, he enlisted teachers to spread his signature dance lessons on first-class steamships and skyrocketed to fame in the '30s after introducing the public to such dances as the Lambeth Walk and The Big Apple. By the 1950s, Arthur and his wife, Kathryn, were hosting their own highly popular TV show on ABC, The Arthur Murray Dance Party, which ran for 12 years. Today, Arthur Murray's team prepares students for rug cutting at special events and weekend nightclub jaunts. Clients who arrive to lessons partnerless will be paired up with other classmates as the instructors assess their current skill level and make recommendations on the most appropriate program. Throughout lessons, instructors teach the foundations of two to four dances from a long list of styles that range from Latin to country-western, helping students to learn basic step patterns, timing, and the ability to lead or follow.
Perhaps as a tribute to the timeless nature of the sword, the Worcester Fencing Club began as a small class held at the Higgins Armory Museum, a collection of arms and armor from medieval Europe and beyond. There, Doug Jacobs—a United States Fencing Association–certified instructor—began imparting his knowledge to a handful of students, giving them a small taste of the age-old sport that, over the years, had become unfairly associated with bullies popping balloons in the streets. Still, many of his students wished to extend their training, and—upon a suggestion of the mother of some of his students—Doug expanded his academy in 1998, forming the Worcester Fencing Club. Today, the school continues to draw fresh blood, introducing students of all ages and experience levels to modern- and Olympic-style fencing in classes still often taught by Doug himself.
Of the 27 varsity teams that comprise the Holy Cross Crusaders, five have been competing at the college level for more than a century. During that time, the men's basketball and baseball teams have taken home NCAA championships, while the football squad has been a mainstay in the Patriot League for more than 20 years. Boasting a 98% graduation rate among all student-athletes, the Crusaders keep fans and students engaged with a variety of sports, as teams in everything from ice hockey to lacrosse try to topple the Division I headquarters' wall of impenetrable brackets.
Professional bartenders teach in classrooms set up as fully functioning bars. The facilities present lifelike conditions for students to learn skills such as the proper shake and pour for a variety of cocktails, muddling raw ingredients, and getting the right amount of head on a draft beer. Courses also cover the technical elements of bartending, which may include setting up drink stations, understanding liquor laws and board-of-health requirements, and operating payment systems that accept both credit cards and gold ingots.