"The yoga community is so different than a typical gym. It?s warm, friendly and inviting." This is just one of the many accolades shared by Akasha Yoga's happy members who revel in the sense of community the studio fosters. One of the reasons for the close-knit feel?heated classes where students commiserate as they challenge themselves and others to push through the high temperatures. Though possibly overwhelming at first, the raised Fahrenheit helps students sweat out harmful toxins and loosens their muscles so that they can achieve deeper stretches and poses that resemble the flexible animals they're named after. Students can also opt for non-heated classes such as Yin Yoga in which a series of floor postures are held for several minutes making it one of the more challenging classes. Another reason for the close-knit feel?teachers who have discovered the power of yoga after injuries, unwanted weight gain, or career stress and who patiently lead students toward their goals, whether the goals be weight loss, relaxation, or working as the body double for a pretzel.
Since its 1965 founding in Venice Beach, California, Gold's Gym has dotted the globe with more than 600 locations where professional athletes and exercise newbies gather under the umbrella of personal strength. Nearly 3.5 million Gold's members chart and aim for their fitness peaks, perspiring beneath the gaze of certified personal trainers or pedaling beside peers at cycling sessions. In a diverse lineup of group classes, patrons strengthen cores with Pilates, finger-paint pictures of ninjas in martial arts, and amp up heart rates. Many Gold's Gym locations stockpile futuristic amenities, such as cardio machines with individual iPod docks and televisions that help keep patrons motivated.