Light streams in through the studio windows, bouncing off the painted brick walls and illuminating the yogis—each like a cat arching its back in a sunbeam—stretching on the hardwood floor. At Shiva Shakti Yoga Center, instructors, each with at least 500 hours of training, tailor each 60- to 90-minute yoga class to accommodate the needs of students of all experience levels. Drawing on such methods as hatha, Vinyasa, vigorous, restorative, and Anusara, the dynamic of fluid sessions help strengthen muscles and center minds for yogis of all kinds. The studio also hosts occasional workshops with guest teachers to keep bodies limber through varied regimens.
Waverley Oaks Athletic Club was founded in 1979 as a racquetball club by a family focused on fitness. Over the years, they added on to the club, creating a 55,000-square-foot facility with modern workout equipment, fitness classes, and amenities such as a nursery and heated indoor pool. In addition to its four regulation-size racquetball courts, Waverley Oaks now also houses facilities for volleyball, basketball, and spinning. Strength training and cardio rooms provide dumbbells of up to 120 pounds and more than 10 types of cardio machines. Groups can stretch their muscles in yoga classes or prepare for community theater roles as Jean-Claude Van Damme in kickboxing classes.
At Bikram Yoga Waverley, it's always summer—at least, it feels that way. The sultry studio stays hot no matter the season, thanks to its full slate of Bikram yoga classes. The studio's team of seasoned instructors each received certification in the signature 26-pose hot yoga style that mimics the sultry heat found in India during its annual relocation to the sun. The studio itself sports a purpose-built heating system and floors designed to stay hygienic and forgiving. During classes, students sweat away equal parts calories and self-doubt, reshaping physiques while honing mental intangibles including patience, determination, and willpower.
The YMCA keeps residents healthy and engaged in more than 10,000 neighborhoods across the country, but it traces its American origins to the streets of 19th-century Boston. Here, Thomas Valentine Sullivan carried on the mission started in London by George Williams: providing affordable recreation and residence to young men from cities and country towns alike. Over the last century and change, the organization's mission changed to keep pace with the evolving times; today, the YMCA of Greater Boston welcomes anyone interested in furthering the causes of "youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility."
This modern mission combines the Y's signature programming with new initiatives designed to keep citizens one step ahead of an ever-changing world. Members stay fit and active with everything from organized sports and fitness classes to lifeguard, CPR, and first aid lessons. But the Y's developmental programs go far beyond bodily strength; their enrichment and leadership courses equip youths with the confidence needed to take charge in their everyday lives, and ESL classes help newcomers to English embark on the next step of their linguistic lives.
A team of some of the most seasoned yoga teachers in the Untied States from various yoga styles shepherds students through sequences that range from gentle flow to physically demanding poses in classes that draw from Hatha, Vinyasa, and heated traditions. Every aspect of Down Under Yoga's design sprung from the minds of practicing yogis. Their students created the layout for the many-windowed, earth-toned studio, created the art and photography on the walls and bonsai trees.
They also serve up side dishes of Pilates, world dance, and Gyrokinesis, in which participants perform flowing, circular movements using a chair and mat, with the seamless flow allowing it to be done by all clients, including senior citizens and those with disabilities. In workshops, teachers and guest instructors discuss specialized topics, such as the role yoga plays in building core strength or ameliorating back pain. Ensuring that their moral compass points due north, Down Under Yoga refuses to sell overpriced apparel or environmentally damaging water bottles, or to accept corporate money to promote products.
The noises and stressors of the day melt away as students find peace and quiet inside H.Y.P. Studio’s intimate workout areas. Small groups of no more than five participants gather for Pilates classes that use specialized equipment to build lithe muscles and abdominal strength. BarSculpt classes incorporate mats, weights, bands, and ballet barres to create a low-impact workout that targets fat in common problem areas along the legs, arms, and torso. Inside the yoga studios, a custom-designed heating system maintains an ideal balance of heat, humidity, and fresh oxygen, and the floors are constructed out of an antimicrobial material that prevents germs and charkas from getting trapped under the surface. Classes are held from as early as 5:45 a.m. to as late as 7.45 p.m., and students can use private shower and changing areas to get ready before and after sessions.