Despite many obvious differences, new yogis and fighter pilots share a common fear: turning upside-down for the first time. At Yoga Sakti, however, instructors have installed a yoga wall that acts as a fail-safe for students who want to practice their inversions. A system of straps and props support pupils as they attempt advanced postures or strive to overcome physical difficulties, such as back problems. An aid for beginners and experts alike, the wall also acts as a symbol of the large studio's welcoming, encouraging atmosphere.
When they aren't manning the wall, yoga instructors lead classes in a wide variety of styles, from heated Vinyasa sequences to mellow gentle-stretch sessions or even mellower Nap in Your Parked Car seminars. Variety is a major theme running through the gym's curriculum: TRX routines bookend spin classes and ballet-barre workouts or combine with kettlebell swings to form one of several combo classes. For a more meditative visit, guests can explore the onsite wellness center, where massage, acupuncture, and hypnosis therapy aim to calm the mind.
Marlena Bruno, the founder of Mantra Yoga, jumped on the PranaVayu yoga bandwagon early. Nowadays?10 years, more than a 1,000 teaching hours after she discovered the Boston-based yoga style?she and her team of certified teachers guide students through a variety of weekly classes that impart powerful and gentle flow sequences and meditative exercises to students inside a warmly lit, brick studio. To help warm students' muscles for the flexibility-improving postures, Marlena and company keep the studio's thermostat set between 80 and 85 degrees. The staff uses a combination of time-honored yoga traditions coupled with contemporary practices, including creative sequencing, contempo-based music, and meditative teachings so that their classes evoke a sense of peace and well-rounded being. The studio also regularly hosts workshops and other events.
Bikram Yoga Danvers' hot yoga sessions are sweaty and intense?but that doesn't mean beginners should be intimidated. The team encourages first-timers to take breaks whenever they need to, and to consider their first class a success if they can manage to stay in the studio for the full 90 minutes. More seasoned yogis, meanwhile, set out to conquer the entire Bikram sequence, which is comprised of 26 hatha poses and two breathing exercises. The poses, often named after cute animals like rabbits and tortoises, have benefits that go way beyond cute. Some improve balance, for instance, while others massage internal organs, saving practitioners the hassle of sending their spleens to massage school.
Sifu Anthony Pasquale and his wife, sifu Rita Rose Pasquale, team up to teach kung fu classes at United Martial Arts Center for Health & Well Being. These two talented instructors have achieved fifth-degree and third-degree black belts, respectively. Classes promote fitness in students of all ages and experience levels and build confidence through discipline and respect.
The diverse team of practitioners at Eternal Balance helps to tune out the chatter of the outside world and rejuvenate the mind, body, and spirit with reiki, massage, and private yoga services. The intimate healing studio, tucked away in the Cummings Center, contains a private massage treatment room where the therapist tenderizes sore muscles and unties braided tendons with Swedish, deep-tissue, and prenatal techniques.
A nearby classroom hosts groups of students during life-enhancing workshops, such as The Art of Natural Breathing. The studio's owner, Olga, a trained reiki practitioner and yoga instructor, concludes each session with an improvised haiku to brighten each client’s aura.
Newcomers need have no fear of strain or overstretching at HotCore Yoga. Founder Peter Sklivas designed the 33-posture series to lengthen and strengthen the core while protecting the muscles from injury. Long, slow ujaya breaths help call up the body's healing faculties, and the warmth of the heated studio helps increase range of motion and free tension from the limbs. This attention to detail makes his 90-minute classes as appropriate for grandparents as they are for elite athletes or aspiring pretzel impersonators. As popular music from one of over 350 playlists fills the room, students of all levels move into ever-deeper poses, freeing the mind and fostering a sense of connection to the soul.