Experienced staff at Quick Tone Fitness & Tanning Center takes over solar duties with a variety of services to bronze skin. During spray-tanning sessions, specialists cloak physiques in even coats of paraben- and perfume-free Sun FX potions brewed from purified water and natural ingredients. Sun FX tanning solutions react with the amino acids in skin to leave a tan with the even gold hue of King Midas' stress ball. In traditional UV-tanning sessions, guests may swaddle complexions within Level 3 beds or high-intensity Level 6 beds with 360 degrees of glowing rays. Patrons gain evening access to Quick Tone Fitness & Tanning Center, which requires only a personal security code that doubles as a Morse-code theme song.
Above all else, Bikram Yoga emphasizes personal growth and development?not competition and comparison. That means newcomers are welcome to attend alongside experienced practitioners. Although the sessions at Bikram Yoga St. Louis may seem like a more physical challenge at first, the goal is for students to recognize and strengthen the connection that exists between the mind, body, and spirit. This progress does bolster physical fitness, but also creates a restorative and relaxing experience.
####What is class like?
Every 90-minute session consists of the exact same sequence of [two breathing exercises and 26 standing and seated asanas](http://yogastlouis.com/class-info/bikram-yoga-postures/). These physically demanding postures use deep bends and twists to work muscle groups and organ systems throughout the body, pushing oxygenated blood where it's needed most and building strength and stamina. If you're having trouble with any pose, that's no problem: the instructors can recommend slight modifications. For more advice, [visit the studio's website](http://yogastlouis.com/new-students/faq/).
####Why is the studio so hot?
The instructors heat the practice space to sweat-inducing levels for each class, increasing circulation and aiding in the release of toxins. In addition to loosening tight muscles?which allows students to sink deeper into each stretch?this heat also has profound mental benefits. The extra challenge encourages attendees to focus on each posture's alignment and orientation while learning how to accept the heat, concentrate on breathing, and practice a calmer mental state. After class, separate changing rooms with showers are available for those looking to refresh themselves.
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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.
Having practiced since 1997, training under leaders in the field, and serving as the sole yoga instructor for the Kashi company in 2008, owner Brigette Niedringhaus opened Southtown Yoga with the goal of bringing a unique approach to the city yoga-studio concept. In doing so, Brigette built up a schedule replete with a variety of classes held in a warm and welcoming environment for students of all skill levels. The Riverfront Times recognized her efforts by naming Southtown Yoga its Best Yoga Studio in 2008. The staff that helped earned that award features 11 highly trained instructors who guide students through a series of poses during 45- to 90-minute group classes. Slow-paced Basics courses pave the way for Mixed Level sessions that expand on the fundamental concepts, and rooftop classes enable students to mix up the workout scenery, like lifting weights in a phone booth. Classes are available seven days a week, with some sessions beginning as early as 6:30 a.m. and as late as 7:30 p.m.
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.
To join a class at Urban Breath Yoga is to join a family of fellow students and encouraging mentors. The studio's blog tells you just how tight-knit the community is: birth announcements alternate with featured member bios, and the vibe is always congratulatory. And, far from being isolated, the group seeks out new practitioners with lessons that cater to yoga beginners. There's a yoga basics class that covers the fundamentals of hatha poses, a beginner series that meets for four weeks, and even a free two-hour intro session.
From these classes, students can progress to more advanced hatha and vinyasa techniques, such as inversions and folding your mat into an origami swan. The studio also hosts specialty workshops on prenatal yoga, as well as teacher-training classes, children's classes, and immersive yoga weekends.