When thinking of gym equipment, most people imagine whirring treadmills and racks of free weights. The names of Pilates machines are more innocuous—chair and barrel, for example—but to the uninitiated, these tools might seem more like pieces in an art gallery. Thankfully, the certified instructors at The Pilates and Yoga Center of St. Louis help to demystify them. They guide clients through exercises that enlist the gliding platform of the Reformer, or the malleable ring that is the Magic Circle, hosting group and private classes for all skill levels.
Owner Karen Prechtl and her team ease new clients into a Pilates practice by customizing their guidance and keeping class sizes small. They emphasize the importance of breath work, proper form, and body awareness during each lesson, helping students to achieve a leaner, more bendable physique without simply telling them to "be the rubber band." For those who prefer a highly personalized approach, one-on-one training utilizes weights, kettlebells, and mat-based floor exercises in addition to the Pilates equipment.
At Z Total Body, trainers lead energizing and up-tempo workouts that help clients burn calories, lose weight, and sleep easy at night. Members select from a diverse menu of group fitness classes that range from traditional cardio and abdominal workouts to inventive classes that integrate belly dance or hula-hooping. Instructors also build brawn via interval resistance training and muscle-confusion classes and Wild Card Workouts, which blend cardio and muscle training with full-contact card games of Crazy Eights.
Something’s making the temperature rise at Bikram Yoga Chesterfield. Perhaps it’s the thermostat, which hovers near 105 degrees during workouts filled with bends, balances, and twists. It could also be owners Farky and Timi Fuszfas, who radiate warmth and excitement along with a staff of certified instructors. Under their guidance, students of all levels build strength and flexibility using the 26 health-focused Hatha poses of yoga master Bikram Choudhury. Coupled with two focused breathing techniques, these exercises pump oxygen through the bloodstream to promote head-to-toe wellness. The heat complements the process, easing muscles into deep stretches while driving toxins from their hiding places. Since classes entail 90 minutes of sweating, students should bring a large bath towel, plus bottled water or a portable glacier.
Pilates of West County, located in Clocktower Plaza in Chesterfield, is a fully equipped Pilates Studio offering private and group instruction in the authentic Pilates method. The studio specializes in personalized instruction for each client in a safe, effective and enjoyable Pilates workout.
The instructors at YogaSource strive to make yoga accessible to everyone, regardless of age or ability. To meet that goal, they offer eleven types of classes split between two studios, which are kept at different temperatures to accommodate those who prefer to stay calm and cool during practice, as well as those who like to sweat as they stretch. Yoga basics and intro to Hatha classes lead newcomers from pose to pose to build a foundation for future practice, and may incorporate props such as straps, blocks, and donuts that dangle just out of reach. Advanced options include power Vinyasa, where students flow through rigorous poses in 90-degree temperatures believed to help increase flexibility and promote detoxification, as well as the open-level class—known as The Practice—in which instructors and students attempt handstands and other challenging feats.
Rather than relying on awkwardly long hugs, Urban Breath instead welcomes yogis of all ages and skill levels with a variety of classes taught by knowledgeable instructors in a downward-dog-to-earth neighborhood studio. Yoga Basics lets absolute beginners take a crack at yoga for the first time and stretch the cobwebs out of their most haunted joints. From there, take the next step with Hatha yoga, which mines the deep core muscles—increasing flexibility, strength, and balance. For a more-meditative discipline that tightens the body, focuses the mind, and dispels the daily stress of being surrounded by chain-smoking coworkers at the fireworks factory, try Kundalini yoga. The Slow Flow Vinyasa class will lubricate squeaky muscle doors and top off your body-fuel tank with basic meditations, whereas the Happy Hour Yoga class uses upbeat music to energize and boost the mind with Vinyasa-style yoga that makes use of breath-synchronized, flowing poses. Classes take place several times a day, with most lasting 75 minutes. Although you can drop in at any time once you've registered, Urban Breath's WebScheduler lets you check for the latest bad-weather cancellations, teacher-rescheduling changes, and minotaur attacks.
With an expansive, 1,200-square-foot sprung hardwood dance floor in its 4,000-square-foot space, Central Studio serves a smorgasbord of healthy lifestyle choices. From Pilates and Zumba to classical ballet, jazz, and hip-hop, its expert instructors lead all manner of dance and fitness classes. Other workouts adopt a rigorous bootcamp style, such as outdoor cardio interval training and cardio barre. Elsewhere, the studio offers massages, Thai healing sessions, and personal training; there’s also an art gallery with work from local artists and a library where you can brush up on the latest health and wellbeing literature.