Wherever Sonia Kang has gone, she has always found a place to exercise. While earning her business degree from Arizona State University, she always managed to squeeze a few dance classes into her schedule—a mental and physical flexibility she continued to hone while working at a PR firm in Boston and enrolling in classes at the B.K.S. Iyengar Center. Ultimately, Kang supplemented her bachelor of science with an avalanche of certifications, including those from the Pilates Method Alliance and the Yoga Institute. After digging her way out from the mountain of paper, Kang founded Weon Keyong Health Center, where she and a team of instructors help others keep their own planners filled with Pilates classes that challenge physiques with a full-body workout. For more personalized attention, the teachers offer semiprivate classes—capped at four students each, as most end up stretching their torsos to become 10 feet tall—and host an array of workshops that focus on topics such as nutrition and working out with specially designed towels.
Dance can be healing. Studio founder Christie knows this better than anyone, having turned to sensual dance as an outlet after being diagnosed with a brain tumor. Her newfound practice not only set her on a healthier path, it also made her feel more confident and feminine as well. She was hooked, and opened Express MiE to share that same feeling with other women.
Today, Christie and her staff start each of Express MiE’s sultry fitness classes with a guided meditation. That’s because the studio prioritizes finding and trusting inner beauty over learning snazzy pole tricks. And while the moves are certainly sensual, they’re inspired less by the promiscuity of romance novels or flirtatious barbershop poles than by techniques from ballet, ballroom, and belly dancing. This winning combination led the Phoenix New Times to name the studio Best Place to Learn to Pole Dance in 2010, noting that the instructors “are serious about developing core strength and six-pack abs by wrapping and gyrating around poles and cheering each other on.”
While working as a personal trainer, Skye Roberts stepped back and surveyed the fitness scene. She saw a needle of female personal trainers in a haystack of male personal trainers. She heard her female clientele complaining about the bodybuilding culture at male-oriented gyms. Having seen and heard enough, she felt compelled to create a female-oriented fitness regimen and open a women-only health club. Today, at Luna Fitness of Tempe, she and her all-female staff preach the Luna Fitness Program, which strives to help women understand their monthly cycles and alleviate their symptoms through diet, exercise, and awareness of the lunar phases. Underneath this comprehensive umbrella, staff members stage their mix of physically, mentally, and emotionally centered services. They schedule Zumba, yoga, and signature fitness classes when calories are napping to catch flab off-guard, and they offer an array of services, such as acupuncture, life coaching, hypnotherapy, spray tanning, and massage therapy, to round out well-being.
The experienced staff at Jab Fitness help patrons sculpt shapely physiques, imparting strength and discipline with a curriculum of fight-inspired class styles. Focusing on high-energy, combat-sports training, instructors enhance each session with adrenaline-pumping music, motivational pep talks, and punching bags that bear a striking resemblance to your fifth-grade bully’s henchmen. Jab Fitness also boasts a number of highly structured fitness programs for children, so energetic tykes can tire themselves out while learning the self-defense boxing tactics necessary for uppercutting the monsters beneath their beds. The fitness-centered yoga classes sculpt bodies in a variety of classes that blend traditional moves with high-energy workouts set to music.
At Hegel Yoga, instructors delve deep into yogic study, teaching not only poses and breathing, but also the science at work within the body. The studio offers a unique, twelve-week yoga anatomy class that teaches how the muscles, blood, and respiratory systems interact with each other during each movement and pose throughout a yoga practice. [Instructors] (http://www.hegelyoga.com/AboutUs.html) also nurture each student’s exploration of Ashtanga technique, with beginning level classes that focus on foundational postures, movements, and mindful breathing. As students progress they build strength and endurance through standing poses, while slower floor postures help release tension in the hips and spine. Hegel also offers mysore, open-style sessions without instructor. These sessions allow students to come in and work at their own pace, making them ideal for yogis who march to the beat of their own feet drumming on the ceiling.
Climbers cling to large, composite structures, strategizing their way up the side of a rocky cliff. They have come to conquer Climbmax Climbing Gym's myriad rock-face combinations and master the art of blindfolded belaying on thick, padded floors. Before challenging themselves on the climb-through cave or scaling an overhang, climbers slip into a harness and climbing shoes for safety.
In addition to climbing areas geared toward beginners and advanced climbers, a children's area features its own pint-sized climb-through cave where youngsters learn to appreciate all aspects of the stimulating sport. Thick padding covers the floors of each climbing area, ensuring safe landings and comfortable, celebratory belly flops from the wall's summit.