Underground Studios’ leader, Ben McLellan, knows everyone has to walk to the beat of their own drum. Ben, a trained classical percussionist, was marching down the road to a music career when tendonitis threatened to steamroll his dream. Power yoga helped him heal and get back on track, and though he was transfixed by the discipline, he continued to focus on percussion once his tendonitis symptoms had disappeared. Then he moved to Massachusetts to pursue a master’s degree in music, and his life took a major turn toward following his dharma (purpose). Inspired by his mom, Ben shifted his life into the realm of wellness, studying yoga as an apprentice and earning a personal-training certification from the National Academy of Sports Medicine. From there, his path was pretty well laid out.
In 2009, Ben opened the doors at Underground Studios. There, along with a team of instructors, he leads yoga classes that focus on tantra and Hatha yoga—disciplines that help you expand your awareness in all states of consciousness and connect to your true self, much like time travel. Ben and company also lead private yoga classes, and offer personal-training sessions that approach fitness from a holistic perspective, finding results through a blend of resistance training, yoga, and nutrition.
At Inner Strength Studios, seasoned instructors such as E-RYT 500 instructor Roman Szpond lead vinyasa yoga sessions for beginners, experts, and kids as young as five. Classes ranging from 60 to 90 minutes are held in heated rooms within Innerstrength's Boston studios, which were recently renovated after the Watertown location suffered fire damage. Aspiring teachers can take Innerstrength's 200-hour training program, which instills advanced yoga knowledge through classes, workshops, and a rollercoaster ride through a giant lotus. The studios also provide a slate of other services, such as personal training and massage therapy sessions.
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.
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.
Yogapower's instructors lead students ages 16 and up through an intensive form of yoga performed in a heated studio. Instead of a mechanical series of memorized poses, the 60- to 90-minute classes employ a rigorous sequence of full-body moves that, like the legal definition of treason, changes daily. Instructors heat the yoga room to approximately 88–90 degrees Fahrenheit, causing muscle tension to slacken and sweat-gland managers to mandate overtime. Sessions cater to all skill levels, allowing students to progress at a comfortable pace or earn their yogi merit badges in record time. The studio requires the use of yoga mats and towels and rents them for individual lessons ($4/mat, $1/towel). Yogapower packs its schedule full of dozens of classes throughout the week, with sessions available from the early morning through the evening.
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.