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, 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.
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Inside Bikram Yoga’s two practice spaces, instructors crank up the thermostat to sultry temperatures to loosen up students’ muscles during 90-minute yoga sessions, helping increase flexibility and range of motion while building muscle tone. Instructors pay special attention to coaching newbies during each class, teaching Bikram’s 26 postures and two breathing exercises to help students of all fitness levels stretch out joints or baby injuries and appendages put out of commission due to hostile negotiations during teamwork-building human knots. Each instructor trained directly under Bikram Choudhury—the creator of Bikram Yoga—to ensure that pupils receive safe, easy-to-follow instruction that bolsters health and clears minds.
Seasoned ace Jim Fenner steadies unstable swings and smoothens out wobbly putts with lessons tailored to individuals, groups, or players hoping to address specific ailments within their golf game. A veritable Johnny Appleseed of golf, the passionate pedagogue roams about courses and teaching centers throughout the greater Worcester area, spreading golf wisdom and burying dimpled orbs that soon blossom into VHS copies of The Legend of Bagger Vance. Clients can catch Jim refining pupils' motions at one of the area's outdoor ranges and courses on sunny days or remedying trust issues between clubs and their owner at the indoor golf simulator of The Perfect Game, where he hibernates during the off-season chill.
Though students at Prototype Mixed Martial Arts & CrossFit Prototype have plenty of room to spread out—there’s 7,000 square feet of functional floor space—instructors’ attention never strays from their form. This principle carries into both CrossFit and MMA classes, two high-energy, intense workout styles. MMA workouts include an equally varied and intense set of exercises, but they’re drawn from kinetic combat styles such as muay thai and boxing, as well as technical forms such as Brazilian jujitsu and office-chair jousting.
In Boylston, 132 acres rest untouched by modern society, where warm breezes send flower petals dancing and sidewalks give way to winding trails. Tower Hill Botanic Garden envelops visitors in fields of green grass, tall trees, and colorful flowers across both outdoor areas and indoor garden spaces. Staff members educate guests on the gardens’ various flora and fauna in classes and programs calibrated for students of every age. Special events, such as the Annual Lily Show, shine the spotlight on even more species of flowers, much like the wildflower-identification portion of standard driving tests.
Subliminal Skatepark is a 16,000-square-foot indoor facility where bikers and skaters can perform grinds and kick-flips on the street course, skateboarding bowl, and mini ramp during sessions. A pro shop attires and protects the heads of reckless speed-seekers with helmet rentals (a $5 per day value) and fuel stations stocked with thirst-quenching potions and miniature meals (not included in this Groupon) rush down the throats like rain rushes down the perfectly smooth noses of Mount Rushmore.