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.
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!
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.
To help women achieve their fitness goals, the certified personal trainers at Get In Shape For Women focus on four areas: weight training, cardio training, nutrition, and accountability. In small group sessions, trainers modify exercises to suit up to four ladies' fitness levels, beginning by calibrating strength-training sessions—such as free weights, lunges, and squats—to each client's abilities while still ensuring they are challenging themselves. Then comes high-intensity cardio interval-training sessions in which trainers encourage exercisers to achieve optimal results on the treadmill or elliptical.
The trainers supplement the group workouts with nutritional planning centered around the concept of eating six small, balanced meals six days a week. They set aside the seventh day as a "free day" for a bit of indulgence, be it eating a favorite sweet or lusting openly after bacon. To hold their women accountable, trainers talk nutrition on the floor during scheduled appointments, and the ladies' progress toward reaching their goals is measured by trainers each week.
Soni Anderson has been a yoga enthusiast since infancy. As a baby in the Fiji islands, she received yoga massage from her grandmother while her grandfather danced and performed stories from ancient Hindu texts. Her village endorsed meditation and an Ayurvedic lifestyle, prompting Soni to practice her asanas alongside extended family and friends as she matured. Today, as the owner and head teacher of SoniYoga, she strives to combine her grandfather's playful mindset with the therapeutic customs of her homeland.
SoniYoga focuses on the Hatha style, though its studio also embraces restorative, Kundalini, and yin and yang postures during certain classes. A serene atmosphere of acceptance welcomes all students to challenge themselves each time they visit, whether they wish to push the boundaries of their flexibility with a more advanced pose or with a more restrictive suit of armor. Soni also channels her holistic upbringing by offering Ayurvedic counseling, products, and massage services which can help customize a wellness plan for clients based on their body types.
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.