Exhale Spa seeks to transform its clientele inside and out. The founding team of fitness professionals and aestheticians sought to create an environment where they could empower visitors with pampering spa treatments, invigorating fitness classes, and lifestyle education, helping clients attain a sense of control and holistic balance. Now with 19 locations across 11 cities, Exhale Spa and its signature services have earned mentions in numerous national publications, including People magazine, the New York Times, and O, The Oprah Magazine.
Exhale's signature Core Fusion classes incorporate dance-inspired stretches, yoga poses, and Pilates exercises into total-body workouts that build long, lean limbs and sturdy abdominal muscles over time. For an even more varied workout, the instructors introduce boot-camp techniques, cardio exercises, or multiplication tables to select sessions. Yoga classes present a similar amount of breadth and variety, drawing inspiration from a number of introspective and physically oriented styles. To help hasten physical transformations, nutrition and wellness coaches teach attendees about the impacts of diet. These sessions build an awareness of healthy eating habits through custom meal plans and by teaching clients how to identify the edible parts of a fruit basket.
Many of the center's traditional spa services seek to inspire confidence. Facials pamper and refine skin using everything from green tea and fruit extracts to microcurrent technology, and mani-pedis revitalize digits before glazing nails with a vibrant new coat of color. Bodywork treatments look beyond physical relaxation and focus on holistic concerns. Massage therapists can use Eastern or Western modalities to soothe overstressed musculature, and acupuncture treatments and reiki sessions jump-start natural healing processes by encouraging the free flow of inner energies.
Karmany Yoga's two studio locations, 14 instructors, and seven days a week of class are impressive, but the numbers alone didn't earn it D magazine's award for Best Yoga Studio. That honor belongs to the teachers' passion. They all came to yoga from diverse backgrounds, having worked as fashion-magazine editors, full-time moms, or high-school band conductors. As different as their outside interests are, they share one main quality—a great drive to aid others in discovering the balance that yoga helped bring to their lives.
They teach three primary forms of class. Slow flow gently coaxes the body toward greater feats of flexibility. Power flow, taught in the style of Baron Baptiste, challenges athleticism with a much faster-paced series, best performed in a movie montage leading up to an incredible victory that defies all odds. They also teach traditional Iyengar yoga, a style that almost exclusively focuses on perfecting the alignment of postures and bringing health to the skeletal and muscular systems.
Tucked away from life's daily barrage of appointments, meetings, and expectations, Dallas Yoga Center provides a tranquil haven for self-discovery and the mental truces that achieve inner peace. An arched Indian doorway marks the threshold between the outside world and the refuge of the 8,000-sq.-ft. facility, which houses four spacious, naturally lit studios.
Inside, instructors lead groups through more than 65 classes per week, which focus on a variety of yoga styles. During the studio's Beginners Yoga classes, aspiring yogis learn the basic motions and breathing techniques that serve as the jumping-off point for their yogic journeys. From there, they can explore the gentle calmness of Yin Yoga, the intense exertion of a hot Ashtanga Yoga class set at 85 degrees, the prop-aided poses of Iyengar Yoga, or the ab-toning workouts of Yoga Core. They can also take part in t'ai chi sessions that leave minds spry and energies recentered. After class, students can propel their practices forward by stocking up on the center's selection of yoga clothes, jewelry, props, accessories, and DVDs. For those seeking even deeper enlightenment, the center also sponsors yoga teacher training, and even arranges retreats to India, where students study ayurveda and yoga straight from the source.
When Karen and David first met at the Bikram College of India in Los Angeles, they could barely believe that they had grown up within spitting distance of one another in their hometown of Houston, Texas. Through their intense nine-week, 500 hours of training, they grew closer, swapping stories about the unfulfilling corporate lives they had left behind. It wasn't until David returned to Texas and Karen to Portland that they realized they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together. After Karen returned to her home state to be with David, the pair embarked on the biggest adventure of their lives: scouring the earth for scissors big enough to cut the grand-opening ribbon to Bikram Yoga Dallas in tandem.
The duo outfitted their spacious 2,300-square-foot sanctuary with soft, eco-friendly flooring and gigantic windows that flood the heated studio with sunlight. They corralled a troupe of passionate, Bikram-certified instructors to help lead the 90-minute classes that strengthen students with 26 postures. To keep the space community-oriented, Karen and David offer special events such as new student orientations, posture workshops, yoga challenges and celebration parties.
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.