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.
Husband-and-wife team and Prana Power Yoga cofounders Philippe and Taylor Wells foster an environment in which clients can explore holistic wellness through yoga, intensive workshops, and events. Instructors at each heated studio locations roll out the welcome yoga mats, encouraging students of all interests and skill levels, from mothers-to-be to veteran sun saluters, to build strong bodies and peaceful minds in a judgment-free environment. During athletic Vinyasa-style yoga classes, certified instructors crank up temperatures as high as 99 degrees before taking mat mavens through a sequence of sweaty postures linked with mindful breathing exercises designed to boost lung capacity to Sting-like levels. Meanwhile, visitors in search of a transformative experience can attend one of the studio's workshops or events, which range from juice cleanses to destination yoga retreats in Nayarit, Mexico.
Inside Athletic Evolution, a 30,000-square-foot sports complex, seasoned trainers craft fun, customizable workouts from functional movements designed to build strength, stamina, and flexibility. Filled with running, barbell drills, and bodyweight exercises, each small-group class draws inspiration from Olympic events such as track and field, naval warfare, gymnastics, and weightlifting. Abs and arms ripple as students wield kettlebells and climb 25-foot ropes that dangle from the ceiling, and the facility's 65 yards of indoor turf set the stage for sprints, prowler pushes, and impromptu lawnmower races.
True to its name, Today's Fitness Center embraces an ultramodern ethos in its spacious, high-ceilinged gym, with flat screens buzzing above high-tech treadmills and weight machines. Instructors lead groups in interval training classes—popular, effective workouts built on high-intensity movements and constantly varied exercises. Kids play in a toy-filled paradise at the gym's daycare while parents take Zumba and Pilates classes or focus on spinning, lifting free weights, and bending iron bars. Personal trainers help members of all fitness levels maximize the efficiency of their workouts.
The Little Gym is the home of Serious Fun! The Serious side is the great three-dimensional learning that takes place in all of the age appropriate classes (gymnastics, dance, sports) for children between 4 months of age and 12 years of age. The FUN part is what the children experience in every class, birthday, and camp!
Italian native Lucia Rubini began honing her artistic skills at Italy's Accademia di Belle Arti, where she learned the craft of line and color from acclaimed European artists Antonini and Antonio La Bianca. Today, she continues her studies at the Art Institute of Boston, and exhibits her colorful, impressionistic work both on murals and in galleries throughout the city.
Her canvases also adorn her own gallery, Rubini Art, where she regularly crafts customized portraits and hosts pieces by emerging artists every month. She nurtures more fledgling talent during individual and group lessons, which cover techniques ranging from shading and perspective through such mediums as pencil, charcoal, and paint. For kids, she amps up the fun by drawing fantasy subjects, using messy mediums, and recreating the works of famous artists, such as the impressionism of Picasso, the modernism of O'Keefe, and the ketchup stains on Pollack's T-shirts.
Arthur Murray has been a leading name in franchise dance since 1912, when the entrepreneur began selling mail-order dance lessons. Expanding his reach, he enlisted teachers to spread his signature dance lessons on first-class steamships and skyrocketed to fame in the '30s after introducing the public to such dances as the Lambeth Walk and The Big Apple. By the 1950s, Arthur and his wife, Kathryn, were hosting their own highly popular TV show on ABC, The Arthur Murray Dance Party, which ran for 12 years. Today, Arthur Murray's team prepares students for rug cutting at special events and weekend nightclub jaunts. Throughout lessons, instructors teach the foundations of two to four dances from a long list of styles that range from Latin to country-western, helping students to learn basic step patterns, timing, and the ability to lead or follow.