Essential Kneads Wellness Spa Inc.’s owner and proprietor, Billie Jo Stokes, first learned the subtle arts of holistic healing from her Aunt Donna. Aunt Donna’s teachings opened the door to what would become Billie Jo’s life calling: to help clients heal with therapies such as Reiki and without the use of drugs or invasive medical therapies. She welcomes her clients into a realm of relaxation, where an Oriental motif of wall-hung fans and bedspreads combines with abundant plant life, wooden fixtures, and soft rugs. In these spaces, Billie Jo helps clients completely let go of the outside world and all of the anxieties and humanoid robots from the future that reside there.
Clients can't help but feel as if they've entered a sacred space when walking through The Sanctuary's light-filled studio. Half fitness studio, half massage and acupuncture clinic, the warm and welcoming North Lake Tahoe wellness center offers yoga, Pilates, and bodywork in a home-like setting. Within the log-cabin-style building, certified instructors guide students of all experience levels through relaxing and vigorous sessions alike, including Vinyasa-yoga and Bar Effect classes. Besides its adult offerings, The Sanctuary affords adolescent yoga practitioners a chance to tame stress and develop healthy mind-body connections through its teen program.
Vertical Fitness's group belly-dancing classes provide an empowering workout, strengthening muscles and improving flexibility in a calming, spa-like studio, with bamboo floors and soft candle lighting. Instructor Wendy Scott fuses a background in Pilates and massage therapy with one-hour belly-dance-basics classes, teaching first timers introductory hypnotizing arts such as stretching, posture, and finger-cymbals work. More advanced torso-wigglers can try Christine Karnofsky's classic belly-dancing classes, which last 90 minutes and cover choreography, chaining together movements, and how to dance atop a photocopier.
Despite their diverse backgrounds—some have served in the armed forces, while others are former gymnasts and dancers—the coaches at Expedition Crossfit all have one thing in common: until now, they’ve never found anything quite like CrossFit. At Expedition, they designed new Workouts of the Day (WODs) each day based on CrossFit’s pillars of varied, functional fitness. Though the workouts constantly change, they often include a mix of exercises that range from running and weightlifting to rowing, plyometrics, cardio, and unconventional techniques such as rope climbing and tire flipping.
Certified personal trainer Mark Waggoner has been bodybuilding since age 11, but he lacked core strength until he discovered TRX equipment. Using the force of gravity as a resistance-training tool, these sturdy straps fortify the abs and back with customizable body-weight exercises. The movements mesh well with many types of workouts, including yoga routines, circuit-training sessions, and escapes from angry swarms of hornets. The studio's TRX Max boot camp incorporates tools such as kettlebells and jump ropes to cultivate functional brawn and flexibility. To complement TRX's stretches and strength builders, the studio hosts calorie-torching Zumba sessions, which incorporate vibrant international music and up to 15 Latin-inspired dances. Mark also propels exercisers toward their goals during one-on-one training sessions brimming with personalized workouts and goal-setting assistance. :m]]
As a new mother, Tanya Rose Bordner found herself suffering from the severe headaches, hormonal imbalances, and emotional lows that often accompany motherhood. She knew she needed to take better care of herself and decided to try Bikram yoga. Though skeptical at first, she found herself hooked after one class when she discovered that she felt better physically, emotionally, and spiritually, and she eventually decided to become a Bikram-yoga instructor.
Now, Tanya and her team of certified instructors—all of whom have trained for several hundred hours—strive to share the benefits that Tanya felt in that first class with others. Using two breathing exercises designed to circulate oxygenated blood, these instructors lead students through 26 postures that carve out toned muscles and pump up flexibility. The classes take place in a 105-degree room with a recently renovated rubber floor, and after each session, staff members encourage students to press an ice-cream cone or the provided frozen lavender towels against their heated brows.
Owned by Julia Mancuso, a professional ski racer and Olympic gold medalist, Performance Training Center pairs focused sports-performance training with energizing group exercise classes and one of the largest free-weight collections in the Lake Tahoe area. Sprint tracks usher guests into the sports-performance center, where BOSU balls and TRX suspension straps help visitors perform bodyweight exercises. Medicine balls strengthen core muscles when lifted or tossed, and kettlebells make arm muscles burn with satisfaction, like an insult uttered from the lips of a sarcastic fire swallower. A multipurpose workout area teems with selectorized circuits of strength-training equipment and a cardio deck stocked with machines for trotting, pedaling, and stair climbing.