Armed with equal parts passion, dedication to the practice, and wisdom gained through teaching certifications, Blissful Yoga Studio's instructors help students achieve lithe, flexible bodies with classes catering to all activity levels. Introductory classes help beginners pay special attention to their alignment and breathing, and hot Vinyasa-flow classes challenge the mind as well as the muscles with a continuous series of empowering postures performed in a room that's heated up to 97 degrees. Instructors also incorporate the studio's specially outfitted wall, using its system of straps to sink students into deeper supported postures during yoga wall stretch sessions, which help them better impersonate the lowercase letter q. In addition to classes, the studio hosts workshops for seniors and those recovering from injuries that cover the basics of the yoga sutras.
The instructors lead students through Bikram yoga's 26 challenging poses and two breathing exercises in a heated room, which helps purge the body of toxins and allows limbs to sink deeply into stretches. Within a studio heated to more than 100 degrees, students flow through poses that strengthen and stretch muscles, ligaments, and joints. Each posture is designed to work muscle groups needed for the next pose, building a series of interconnected movements. By temporarily decreasing blood flow to specific areas of the body, the poses send in a rush of freshly oxygenated blood to joints, organs, and limbs when yogis unfold from folds and twists, unblocking the tiny traffic jams of hemoglobin. Most yoga classes are 90 minutes long, and most studios offer flexible early morning and evening classes. Visit the individual studios' websites to see their schedules.
Daisy Anten loves fitness so much that she came out of retirement to teach it once again—even after a long career owning two fitness centers. With her business partner, licensed professional counselor Donna Peck, she opened Women's Fitness with Daisy: a women-only gym where Daisy could teach Pilates, yoga, circuit training, and her newfound passion, Zumba.
The center creates a supportive environment for women not only through group classes, but also through nutritional counseling and massage therapy. A mother-daughter membership program fosters fitness across multiple generations better than a pull-up bar bolted to a family tree.
After earning a degree in kinesiology in 1991, Jill Dailey McIntosh gravitated toward Pilates. She began training other teachers and helped run a personal-training and Pilates business, but she wasn't completely satisfied. She wanted her clients to be able to shape their bodies more aggressively without losing the proper alignment and form in a classroom-like setting. After visiting New York several times and training under Lotte Berk instructors, Jill was inspired to create her own fitness modality. Combining her background in kinesiology, personal training, and dance, she developed The Dailey Method at Barfitness Ballet Bar Studio. Today, her method has spread to more than 40 locations throughout the United States, Canada, and France.
A blend of Pilates, ballet, and yoga, The Dailey Method helps students strengthen and stretch the body's major muscle groups. Jill designed the low-impact classes to challenge bodies, minds, and spirit alike as students build their cores, align their spines, and tone lean muscles. Instructors help students master the proper form for each motion, whether they're swinging dumbbells or bellying up to the barre to work their quadriceps.
Jenny and Rachel spent years trying workout programs ranging from running to Tae Bo, but they couldn't find an exercise regimen they actually enjoyed. That is until Jenny stumbled across Pilates+. She was immediately hooked by the innovative workout program, which fuses Pilates, cardio, and strength training, and it wasn’t long until Rachel jumped aboard too. Today, the duo helms The Body Lab, where they and their staff of certified trainers spread the word about their favorite workout regime, which has been written up by numerous members of the press.
Each 50-minute Pilates+ class uses a machine called the Megaformer—a modern take on the traditional Pilates reformer that is designed to strengthen and tone both the upper and lower body. Performing slow, controlled movements, students move through a series of more than 50 exercises per class, exercising multiple muscle groups “to failure” each session to produce quicker results than traditional Pilates sessions. The Body Lab also leads group classes a la carte, as well as monthly memberships and one-on-one training for clients.
Together with her fierce team of trainers at IM=X Pilates Studio, owner Melissa Murray leads classes in IM=X Pilates' signature workout, IM=X, which is short for Integrated Movement Xercize. The class combines strength training, cardio exercises, and accessories such as the IM=X ring and Body Bar for a high-energy session profiled in Fitness Magazine, Mademoiselle, and the New York Times. The IM=X schedule of classes includes Pilates floor sessions, as well as yoga, TRX suspension, and classes focused on cardio or abdominal work. IM=X also offers private personal training with customized workouts to help clients speed up muscle development and tone hard-to-reach places such as the upper arms and inner ears.