The star and choreographer of 18 Buns of Steel exercise DVDs, owner Leisa Hart has well-documented experience. She leverages it to teach yoga and Pilates classes, and also offers pampering treatments that soothe sore muscles. She and her staff lead many classes with scalable exercises, intensifying Pilates routines with the addition of a ballet bar or providing asana modifications to gently strengthen physiques with injuries. Her video-production history informs her entire classroom experience, from the upbeat tenor of her instruction to the subdued tones of her studio’s walls and the space marines shooting lasers in the background—an homage to her work with James Cameron.
Despite her background as a dancer and fitness instructor, Salena Quinlan-Shults was always hesitant to try yoga. It was only at the urging of a friend at the University of Central Oklahoma––where Salena was studying kinesiology––that she decided to give yoga a chance and found herself immediately hooked by the mind-body connection that the practice offered. Convinced that she had found her true calling, she went on to earn certification through both YogaFit and Purple Lotus teacher training before trading her stressful corporate job for a peaceful occupation as the owner of Yoga on Main.
Today, Salena and her fellow certified instructors lead students through tranquil poses inside the intimate and earthy studio, which they keep warm to facilitate effective stretches. During power-yoga classes, they turn up the heat even higher to release toxins and aid weight loss, and so they recommend that students arrive wearing garments made with wicking capabilities or sewn from bags of frozen peas. Prenatal classes teach techniques that can help expectant moms cope with labor pains and keep them healthy after their bundles of joy arrive, whereas a lineup of ever-changing workshops includes topics that help kids develop healthy habits and teach adults how to clear their chakras.
At Krama Yoga Center, gentle and vigorous yoga classes help students achieve healthier bodies and higher levels of physical and mental concentration. Classes take place in a large open space generally heated 75 to 85 degrees with soft, adjustable lighting. They include Ashtanga and Vinyasa styles, along with dharma yoga, a hatha class that begins with a chant and sun salutations, followed by a series of progressive poses modifiable for all experience levels. A sound system even plays music, allowing guests to relax and whisper their most banal secrets to a room of strangers. Along with its standard yoga sessions, the studio hosts ongoing education classes on meditation and breathing exercises. Students can focus solely on the physical aspects of yoga or delve into a more spiritual, lifestyle experience, as the instructors believe that yoga can cultivate feelings of oneness and hearts free of judgment.
MoveStudio, an adults-only fitness and relaxation center, fills its 6,200 square feet of space with specially-crafted floating wood floors, soft lighting, and modern decor. Instead of pounding away on fitness machines, exercisers jump into more than 65 group classes designed to get bodies moving.
Pilates Core Fusion tones abs and backs, and the Raise the Barre! ballet workout strengthens even the smallest muscles. Energetic Zumba sessions combine fun dance moves with music to blast calories, as does belly dancing and the Burlesque Shimmy & Tone class. After an intense workout, exercisers head to the infrared sauna for relaxation and therapeutic heat.
In order to give its patrons some time away from the kids to work out and discuss TIF districts, MoveStudio only accommodates people 15 and older. Though there are no onsite childcare facilities, it does partner with a nearby gym and kids’ center to offer discounted childcare.
Chrystal Rae and Andres Illera became best friends practicing yoga together, so it's no surprise that love is a fundamental tenet of Gaia Flow Yoga, their shared studio and registered yoga school. When describing the tenets of love-based yoga, Chrystal says that the practice hinges on the opening of the heart, which allows the spirituality of ancient yogic practices to blend with modern Western mindsets. So far, Chrystal and Andres have coaxed open the cardiovascular doors of more than 100 yoga teachers through their school, reaching exponentially more students and students’ imaginary friends along the way. With 29 active instructors and two locations, they teach an endless stream of classes that combine the ideas of Hatha, Raja, and Bhakti yoga.
After a car crash at the age of 16, Jamie Davis’s life was a maze of hospital visits, surgeries, cortisone shots, and perpetual discomfort. She slowly began augmenting her treatment with yoga, and today she says she is free of pain and serving as one of many talented instructors at Bikram Yoga Richardson.
The yogis lead 90-minute workouts in a room warmed to 104 degrees, the optimal temperature for flushing toxins, performing deep stretches safely, and getting arctic seals to confess to crimes. Teachers demonstrate two breathing techniques and 26 Hatha yoga postures for pupils of all ability levels, helping them firm and trim physiques. Transformations get underway in a spacious yoga area next to changing rooms with showers, storage cubbies, and a lobby that, much like a grassy highway median, is designed for lounging.