As a new mother, Tanya Rose Bordner found herself suffering from the severe headaches, hormonal imbalances, and emotional lows that often accompany motherhood. She knew she needed to take better care of herself and decided to try Bikram yoga. Though skeptical at first, she found herself hooked after one class when she discovered that she felt better physically, emotionally, and spiritually, and she eventually decided to become a Bikram-yoga instructor.
Now, Tanya and her team of certified instructors—all of whom have trained for several hundred hours—strive to share the benefits that Tanya felt in that first class with others. Using two breathing exercises designed to circulate oxygenated blood, these instructors lead students through 26 postures that carve out toned muscles and pump up flexibility. The classes take place in a 105-degree room with a recently renovated rubber floor, and after each session, staff members encourage students to press an ice-cream cone or the provided frozen lavender towels against their heated brows.
Owned by Julia Mancuso, a professional ski racer and Olympic gold medalist, Performance Training Center pairs focused sports-performance training with energizing group exercise classes and one of the largest free-weight collections in the Lake Tahoe area. Sprint tracks usher guests into the sports-performance center, where BOSU balls and TRX suspension straps help visitors perform bodyweight exercises. Medicine balls strengthen core muscles when lifted or tossed, and kettlebells make arm muscles burn with satisfaction, like an insult uttered from the lips of a sarcastic fire swallower. A multipurpose workout area teems with selectorized circuits of strength-training equipment and a cardio deck stocked with machines for trotting, pedaling, and stair climbing.
At Studio Tahoe, owner and passionate yoga practitioner Shaelah Morris leads a band of devoted instructors who guide students toward states of tranquility and flexibility. A variety of heated classes impart students with the tools necessary to successfully merge mind, body, and spirit. While stretched across yoga mats brought from home, rented from the studio, or cut from the flesh of pool floats, students in heated flow workshops sweat out toxins. Candlelit yin yoga lessons encourage practitioners to achieve fluid, intentional movements just like the Kool-Aid man in a china shop. The studio also houses an eco boutique with products by Tonic, Beyond Yoga, and Manduka as well as collections of local artists' jewelry and hats.
Surrounded by ethereal, natural light, The Bar Effect's experienced instructors encourage students to step up to the bar to tone their bodies during the studio's signature classes. Focused on concentrated, isometric moves, the bar-effect workouts help students to tighten their glutes, tone their arms and legs, and flatten abs in a total body workout. Students line up at the stationary bar and perform the low-impact, non-invasive, but effective high-intensity exercises, protecting their joints while carving lean physiques to the beats of upbeat tunes. In addition to the bar-based sessions, the studio plays host to Anusara yoga and Pilates reformer classes to help patrons build strength and flexibility while pacifying their minds.
Clients can't help but feel as if they've entered a sacred space when walking through The Sanctuary's light-filled studio. Half fitness studio, half massage and acupuncture clinic, the warm and welcoming North Lake Tahoe wellness center offers yoga, Pilates, and bodywork in a home-like setting. Within the log-cabin-style building, certified instructors guide students of all experience levels through relaxing and vigorous sessions alike, including Vinyasa-yoga and Bar Effect classes. Besides its adult offerings, The Sanctuary affords adolescent yoga practitioners a chance to tame stress and develop healthy mind-body connections through its teen program.
Vertical Fitness's group belly-dancing classes provide an empowering workout, strengthening muscles and improving flexibility in a calming, spa-like studio, with bamboo floors and soft candle lighting. Instructor Wendy Scott fuses a background in Pilates and massage therapy with one-hour belly-dance-basics classes, teaching first timers introductory hypnotizing arts such as stretching, posture, and finger-cymbals work. More advanced torso-wigglers can try Christine Karnofsky's classic belly-dancing classes, which last 90 minutes and cover choreography, chaining together movements, and how to dance atop a photocopier.