Machines and hybrids line the room. Their creator, the mad scientist of fitness Amy (Sowers) Jordan, has transformed her passion for Pilates and a flair for engineering into the newest incarnation of the Pilates reformer, called the WundaFormer. The patented design combines a Pilates reformer, Wunda Chair, jump board, and ballet barre into a muscle-toning juggernaut that Amy uses in her intense, fast-paced workouts. Obsessed with efficiency, Amy designed the sessions to target as many muscles as possible in the shortest amount of time.
After creating the innovative machine, she took her show on the road, opening studios to showcase what the muscle-sculpting apparatus could do. She now helms a passionate group of certified instructors who lead small groups of 10 guests at a time through the routine.
Julie Bond Rhyne's singing and dancing career took her to Broadway, on tour with Latin superstars, and into recording studios and movie sets. Although her life was filled with the joys of performing, in 1998 Julie found her greatest career satisfaction from an unexpected source—Pilates. Almost immediately, she wanted to teach the empowering exercise form, and after earning her teacher certification, Julie opened X-Treme Pilates as a means of sharing her newfound passion. Today, with a small crew of teachers, Julie fulfills her clients' needs with core-strengthening workouts available daily. In each of their classes, instructors use Joseph Pilates's famed machine, the Reformer, whose system of pulleys and sliding panels deepens core engagement while reducing stress on the joints. To maintain focus, the workout space includes nine machines facing a wall of mirrors, which remind students to double-check their posture and existence throughout the class.
Kristy Tyler leans on her experience as an athlete and her research working with injured dancers to lead Tyler Physical Therapy & Pilates. Physical-therapy sessions pair an injured athlete with a certified trainer who combines massage techniques with restorative exercises to get weakened muscles back to their former car-throwing strength. To bolster cores and stave off future injuries, expert instructors lead Pilates classes using Balanced-Body reformer machines for low-impact, intense stretches. The intimate classes hold no more than four students, enabling teachers to move around the room, doling out helpful tips on posture and how to avoid the machine’s attempts to incorporate its human guest into a bionic hybrid.
In February of 1999, Rose Malmberg, owner of Bikram Yoga La Cañada, woke up without back pain for the first time in years. The day before, she had taken her first Bikram-yoga class in an effort to alleviate a number of back problems, including the results of a car accident years before. From that day forward, Rose devoted herself to Bikram yoga, and experienced full relief of her painful symptoms. After years of taking classes, she achieved Bikram teacher certification, and eventually bought her own studio to share the practice that had helped her heal. Bikram Yoga La Cañada, set against a mountainous backdrop, draws students into its carpeted confines for 90-minute classes heated to 105 degrees. Bikram postures build on each other in a carefully arranged series to work muscles all over the body in addition to the cardiovascular system, allowing practitioners the lung capacity required to help a centenarian tortoise extinguish his birthday candles.
Led by co-owners with backgrounds in professional dance, the experienced instructors at Pilates Studio City cultivate carved torsos with exercises that target the core. During personalized private sessions, pupils to bend into Pilates poses or the shape of their own initials atop a mat and sliding equipment such as the Reformer, Cadillac, and Wunda chair. Teachers also divide their attention among students of all levels during group classes, which range from Level 1 mat sessions to dynamic Nia workouts. Nia blends elements of dance, martial arts, and the healing arts into a series of 52 movements that rotate from session to session to keep muscles from getting bored.
Fitness blooms at three locations, which together host more than 130 classes each week. The Studio City location surrounds exercisers in rustic wooden walls, in contrast with the floor-to-ceiling mirrors and undulating modern lines of the Porter Ranch studio's décor. Mat classes at The Annex stretch and bend beneath a large photo mural of a forest so that students can draw inspiration from branches' ability to hold themselves indefinitely in plank pose.