After more than 15 years of instruction in a multitude of disciplines, senior teacher Donna Trantham finally discovered Bikram yoga. “This is what I had been looking for in my past exercises. Mentally, physically, and emotionally, I feel like Bikram Yoga has made me a better person, all around.” Each of her instructors are certified in the Bikram program, which entails nine weeks of tutelage under Bikram Choudhury himself, senior teacher Rajashree Choudhury, and Emmy Cleaves. Teachers flow through the tapestry of 26 poses within an intimate space that’s decked out in mirrors and a mural of the Florida coastline, as well as heated to facilitate deep stretches and help determine who amongst them are really wax-mannequin spies in disguise.
Initially daunted by the demands of his first Bikram class, Om on Fire! Yoga director Doug Shorts accepted the challenge to his physical ability, returning to class again and again to build his form, technique, and stamina. Once he felt he had truly mastered and become at home with the style, Doug committed himself by training to become an instructor, accruing 1,500 hours of in-class teaching experience to forge a patient, empowering instruction style. Now, during studio classes, he leads students of all skill levels through challenging sequences of yoga poses to methodically strengthen muscles, realign vertebrae, and cheer up dejected mood rings amid a heated practice space.
After training for weeks, runners take their positions at the starting line, wait for the signal, and adjust the regulation sombreros attached to the tops of their helmets. Upon hearing the starting gun, they all bolt forward—only to tumble into a pit that puts them neck deep in oozy, disgusting, glorious mud.
Participants in the American Mud Race replicate this scene as they take on a 3- to 4-mile mud-filled obstacle course, all in the effort to benefit wounded veterans through the Home at Last Project by West Orange Habitat for Humanity. Afterward, racers bring home their mud-caked clothing and costumes to take revenge against their bathtubs, or they can replace them at the race site with a free T-shirt. Food and drink wristbands entitle their wearers to barbecue lunches and beer at the after party, where live music and DJs provide a soundtrack for dancing.
After yoga assuaged her chronic neck and back pain, Kim Bolinger was hooked. She decided to pay homage to the practice by opening a studio of her own. At Merritt Island Yoga, she introduces novices to yoga’s basic poses by breaking them down into simple steps while emphasizing proper breathing and alignment. The studio’s advanced classes move more quickly through Vinyasa sequences, focusing on flexibility, endurance, and fighting off killer mats disguised as regular mats. Despite the studio’s name, yoga is not its only offering—the diverse classes also cover belly dancing, tai chi, and chi gong, a 5,000-year-old practice focused on self-healing and meditative movements.
Bikram Yoga on the Island's founders, Suzanne and Joe Elliott, draw inspiration from their students' physical progress and development each week, ensuring that each session addresses the needs of first-day students, casual practitioners, and lifelong yogis. Ten years of experience fuel Suzanne and Joe's work as instructors, with each tapping his or her encyclopedic knowledge to guide pupils through two breathing exercises and 26 poses. Along with a staff of instructors, the two founders demonstrate and describe the proper execution of each posture with the authority of an Olympic Twister medalist.
As students fold and unfold limbs, each movement helps promote healthy organ function by pushing freshly oxygenated blood throughout their entire bodies. Meanwhile, the studio's heating system helps them safely sink into each stretch and sweat out toxins by raising the temperature to 105 degrees with 40% humidity. After class, attendees can freshen up with the studio's indoor and outdoor shower facilities.
The certified personal trainers at Brevard's Premier Personal Training & Bootcamp are masters of motivation. They enthusiastically coach participants through private and group fitness classes, which start off with an active warm-up session to cultivate flexibility. Then, they turn weak sinews into chiseled muscles through a resistance-training regimen that includes weights and medicine balls.