Owner Richard Lanza began Open Doors as a metaphysical healing center and store in 1992, and he carried that healing spirit into the yoga studio he opened in 2003. At Open Doors Yoga Studios, Richard's goal is to create a space where people feel empowered to explore their personal beliefs on a path toward self-healing. Thus, yoga instructors at the studio's numerous locations help practitioners achieve their personal goals through accessible classes, each designed to build core strength while quieting the mind and increasing body awareness. From slow-flow heated classes to unheated Hatha sessions, students can participate in a variety of yoga styles geared toward beginners, more experienced participants, and those who only feel comfortable in a 98-degree room.
Fists fly amid a regulation sized boxing ring as the stern commands of an on looking coach keep the fighters in check. Though there may be gravel in his voice, each demand is intended to motivate students of all levels as they hone their boxing skills during small group boxing sessions at Peter Welch's Gym. And leading the pack of coaches who "… will motivate you, but never intimidate you," as told to the Boston Common by Melinda Sarkis—is the owner himself, Peter Welch, a Golden Gloves champion and fighting coach for UFC fighters Kenny Florian and Brock Lesnar. With decades of "old school" boxing experience tucked into his belt, Peter has developed a hands-on boxing program that teaches novice fighters using the same workout as professionals, while instilling confidence through effective conditioning and coaching.
His namesake gym recently moved to a new location that boasts a free weight area, flat screen TVs, and spacious locker rooms. The gym's week-long schedule is open to all including men and women of any age, and has even had visitors such as Anthony Bourdain.
At Strike First Krav Maga, the first job of co-owners Adam Gleason and Ilya Akhter is to create a highly stressful atmosphere in order to replicate a realistic self-defense scenario where senses are heightened. Once students are sufficiently stressed, the duo begins teaching the tactics of Krav Maga, a self-defense technique used by the Israeli Defense Force. Akhter—a former sergeant in the Israeli Defense Force’s anti-terrorist special forces unit—has years of hands-on experience and Gleason’s background includes 5 years of Krav Maga training, along with experience in Kung Fu, and American kickboxing. And though each instructor strives to maintain an intense environment, they treat each student respectfully and tailor their lesson to fit all levels of skill, physical fitness, and experience.
Though her fleet of standup paddleboards may still bear some of the sand of Los Angeles beaches, Jill Link outfits Bostonians with the equipment and skills to traverse New England waters. Jill extols the sport as not only a way to get a good workout, but also as a chance to relax while drifting atop calm waves. Renters ride away on Riviera boards, using adjustable carbon fiber paddles to leisurely steer or exchange paddle-fives. Visitors seeking more intensive exercises can try SUPilates and SUPfit classes, which take place on the water on standup paddleboards, providing a change of pace from normal workout routines.
Exhale Spa seeks to transform its clientele inside and out. The founding team of fitness professionals and aestheticians sought to create an environment where they could empower visitors with pampering spa treatments, invigorating fitness classes, and lifestyle education, helping clients attain a sense of control and holistic balance. Now with 19 locations across 11 cities, Exhale Spa and its signature services have earned mentions in numerous national publications, including People magazine, the New York Times, and O, The Oprah Magazine.
Exhale's signature Core Fusion classes incorporate dance-inspired stretches, yoga poses, and Pilates exercises into total-body workouts that build long, lean limbs and sturdy abdominal muscles over time. For an even more varied workout, the instructors introduce boot-camp techniques, cardio exercises, or multiplication tables to select sessions. Yoga classes present a similar amount of breadth and variety, drawing inspiration from a number of introspective and physically oriented styles. To help hasten physical transformations, nutrition and wellness coaches teach attendees about the impacts of diet. These sessions build an awareness of healthy eating habits through custom meal plans and by teaching clients how to identify the edible parts of a fruit basket.
Many of the center's traditional spa services seek to inspire confidence. Facials pamper and refine skin using everything from green tea and fruit extracts to microcurrent technology, and mani-pedis revitalize digits before glazing nails with a vibrant new coat of color. Bodywork treatments look beyond physical relaxation and focus on holistic concerns. Massage therapists can use Eastern or Western modalities to soothe overstressed musculature, and acupuncture treatments and reiki sessions jump-start natural healing processes by encouraging the free flow of inner energies.
Above all else, Sifu K.L. Brown understands two things: first, that a physical change can trigger a spiritual change; and second, that most martial-arts training caters more to men than to women. K.L. discovered that first truth as a boy in the Bronx, where his passion for the Boy Scouts, martial arts, and dance led him to several defining accomplishments. Namely, he was one of first African-Americans from his borough to earn the rank of an Eagle Scout and won both Silver Mittens and Golden Gloves titles before going on to a career as a professional boxing coach.This experience contributed to his second realization, that women needed a style of martial-arts training tailored for their fitness needs and style of learning.
Thus, K.L. designed Sweat Box, a form of martial-arts-based fitness training that dispenses with the rigidity of formal training studios in favor of a high-energy, celebratory atmosphere. As he leads participants through exercises, he also mixes in hip-hop moves and gymnastics. Leading each class, he adjusts exercises for all fitness levels, scaling difficulty where needed. In addition to helping students attain an improved physique, his fitness programs—which include classes, personal training, and competition training—encourage students to expand their perceptions of who they are and what they're capable of.
Still upholding the humanitarianism he learned with the Boy Scouts, K.L. also uses Sweat Box to promote community mindedness. Through his philanthropic venture Sweat Box, Inc. Rose Foundation, he donates proceeds from Sweat Box and Sweat Box Couture toward research into breast cancer, diabetes, and how to make donuts less delicious.