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.