Dancer, teacher, lawyer, salesperson. These were the titles held by Functional Strength Pilates’s staff before they ditched their day jobs to pursue their passion for the more-than-80-year-old practice. Out of two Denver–area locations they teach traditional Pilates, which shows students how to breathe mindfully while aligning their spines to strengthen their cores. Continued practice can help students to decompress their joints so they can move more fluidly than the Vitruvian man doing the backstroke. The exercise also integrates well with rehabilitation regimens, which explains why the staff works closely with area physical therapists, orthopedic doctors, and chiropractors and their patients. Each of the two studios bolsters the Pilates curriculum with different supplemental practices—personal training at the Lone Tree location and yoga classes in Castle Rock.
Yama Yoga Village's certified yoga teachers combine their individual specialties and years of experience to foster a community where practitioners of all experience levels can work toward honing their health and wellness. During rigorous Vinyasa classes, students build strength, balance, and flexibility by performing a continuous sequence of postures, transitioning from one to the next using mindful breathing techniques.
For a more detoxifying practice, the teachers bump up the studio temperature to a moderate heat during hot-yoga sessions, taking advantage of heat’s ability to spur on sweating to purge pupils’ bodies of toxins in preparation for the more enjoyable toxins of the weekend. Students recovering from injury, those with a limited range of motion, or pupils who own extremely shy sticky mats can develop their yoga practice through private lessons. Yama Yoga Village also offers a menu of massage services including Swedish, deep-tissue, and sports modalities.
At Hard Core Pilates and Yoga, each instructor guides small classes of no more than 15 students, mediating inner harmony and peace treaties between yoga mats and gym shoes through the serene practice of yoga. Instructors introduce the basics for building lean, flexible bodies in a balmy room in Not Too Hot Yoga or boost the effects of Vinyasa flow by adding hand weights in the Sculpt class.
Aside from the studio's yoga classes, instructors also offer Pilates sessions held in groups or one-on-one sessions imbue similar concepts with an extra component of quick movements and emphasis on rehabbing muscles after an injury incurred at home or at work at the loose-marbles-and-falling-scissors factory. Once athletes have sweat out toxins in class, they can enlist the studio's resident massage therapist to work out any lingering knots and evict lactic acid that builds up during workouts.
Inside Pilates Denver’s "movement studio"—a name adopted from its always-in-motion instructors—students draw both knowledge and inspiration from tenured masters, whether working to shed fat or unwind after a long day. Six days a week, students strengthen their cores during private, semi-private, and group-equipment classes in the Pilates studio. In the movement studio, instructors teach pupils traditional Pilates mat exercises to strengthen, tone, and elongate muscles. Meanwhile, other groups make use of a ballet barre while moving to high-octane music, or flow through sun salutations during Vinyasa and Hatha yoga classes.
At Sunstone Yoga, students radiate calm and self-awareness as they practice ancient poses designed to stretch, strengthen, and purify the body. Instructors complete 500 hours of training in yogic techniques, teaching, and physiology before leading classes, so they can hand out researched, tested tips on safety and alignment. Most classes come in 30-, 60-, and 90-minute varieties and focus on energy or restorative relaxation. A two-class introductory series welcomes beginners with basic standing poses, and the popular fire series explores up to 34 poses in a 99-degree room that loosens muscles to facilitate deeper stretches as it ousts toxins. Filled with soothing music and 90-degree temperatures, the water series cultivates more serenity than getting a massage from a singing whale.
In an extra-hot studio, students hold 26 poses meant to simultaneously tone and detoxify the body. In another studio, an instructor teaches ways to deeply relax and breathe through meditation. Nine other class styles fill in the yoga spectrum that spans from rigorous to restorative at Littleton Yoga Center. Many of the center?s classes welcome yogis of all experience levels, with instructors providing modifications to make moves easier or more challenging, depending on one?s abilities. This falls in line with the staff?s mission to help as many people as possible to forge a path to wellness as well as a stronger connection between the mind, body, and spirit.