CKO’s trainers boil their philosophy down to three words: Be, Do, Have. Those trainers all found their passion for pounding the stuffing out of heavy bags at the gym itself before rising through its ranks to teach there. The approach they fell in love with favors fitness training over combat, and pits students against the weightiest bags around to simulate a boxing match with a rhino.
AuM Body & Soul Spa brings the ancient practices of Eastern cultures into a modern setting to let clients center their souls and renew their exteriors. The spa specializes in Ayurveda, a holistic method of healing that originated in India more than 5,000 years ago. By using ancient herbs and specialized techniques, Ayurveda works to balance the elements of the body in order to heal and energize, much like a hug from Lady Justice.
Within the lobby of AuM Body & Soul Spa, dim lighting and exotic art greet guests as they begin their journey into ancient-eastern relaxation. Along with the tapestries on the walls, orchids and ferns guide them to one of nine specialized treatment rooms in the facility, where Ayurveda-trained massage therapists, aestheticians, and nail technicians work with guests to individualize each treatment based on their personal desires. As the Eastern-influenced spa services work to open energy channels, intimate yoga classes help guests center their minds in seven diverse classes, along with specialty sessions that embrace the outdoors or help children relax after long days negotiating political treaties with the lunch lady. The spa champions all-natural products, including Aveda and Banyan Botanicals, which also line the spa's ample boutique shelves alongside skincare treatments, meditation books, and herbal supplements for purchase.
East Coast Fitness’s 20,000 square feet house separate rooms for martial arts, spinning, group workouts, massages, and general exercise. On the main floor, strength-training machines, cardio machines, and free weights occupy separate areas, with additional room sectioned off for stability ball exercise and a herd of eight punching bags. Certified trainers and instructors also lead more than 15 classes that range from spinning and Pilates to yoga, kickboxing, agility training, and Zumba. In the lobby, a juice bar refreshes hungry athletes and a separate room offers free childcare.
Donna Rubin and Jennifer Lobo have extensive experience in Bikram yoga. Donna, a former Broadway performer, noticed that actors, musicians, and stagehands had little space to stretch and warm up before their performances. In turn, she chose the theater district for her flagship BIkram Yoga studio built in 1998, when Bikram was just gaining in popularity. The first Bikram Yoga NYC location soon blossomed into seven yoga rooms spread across four locations, and all are covered in Flotex anti-microbial flooring. This waterproof flooring protects against germs more effectively than than wood floors or cooties shots. Hygiene is important when practicing Bikram yoga, as the increased temperatures cause participants to work up a healthy sweat.
On the flipside, Jennifer has an athletic background, with experience in everything from marathons to soccer and tennis. She also worked as the communications director for IMG—a powerful force in the world of sports marketing. Together, Rubin and Lobo produced the very first Yoga Asana Championship in New York. They continue to do so each year while leading a team of more than 70 certified instructors who host nearly 300 classes each week, making it convenient for clients to fit sessions in to busy schedules.
Harlem Yoga Studio makes the ancient art accessible to yogis of all kinds. In its environment of relaxing deep breathing and playful stretches, which has received acclaim for its unique classes, moms and dads work through mountain poses with their kids during family sessions, and plus-sized patrons build flexibility in full-figured yoga.
Led by New York native and doula Laurel Katz-Bohen and former soccer player Erica Barth, the impassioned instructors spread their yogic teachings during studio sessions. Light floods the bamboo-floored space as toddlers caper across tiny yoga mats or prenatal yogis learn belly-dancing with instructors drifting about to offer individualized adjustments and challenging Full House trivia questions in the various classes.
Skilled yogis drop into Vinyasa Flow sessions, where students explore smoothly cascading transitions and gale-strength exhalations, incorporating dynamic strengthening poses into the style's assorted bends and twists. Workshops and outreach programs bring yoga practices into the community, some focusing on a specific style and others examining how to use yoga to help classmakes and colleagues work more peacefully and effectively together.
For more than 20 years, Igor Dyachenko has trained with top coaches around the world and won numerous awards in international competitions. As a former world champion, certified instructor, and founder of D-Dojo Karate, he calls upon those years of experience to fuse classical Japanese karate techniques with modern science, including knowledge culled from biophysics, biomechanics, and reruns of The Bionic Woman. The dojo is a member of the World Karate Federation (WKF) and an official branch of the Shotokan Karate-do International Federation (SKIF), headed by Hirokazu Kanazawa. Dyachenko trained with Kanazawa, a 10th-degree black belt who studied with the creator of Shotokan karate.
Dyachenko and his team strive to train students quickly with basic karate techniques known as kihon, kata, and kumite exercises. Children practice exercises through running, jumping, and playing, in order to help develop physical strength, agility, and mental toughness. Dyachenko also used his karate skills and sense of humor to help commemorate the 20th anniversary of Ronald Reagan's "Tear Down This Wall" speech on The Colbert Report.