Charla Okewole's lifelong dedication to yoga ignited in one of the most unusual places—a Manhattan conference room. Since discovering asanas against the Big Apple skyline as part of a corporate wellness campaign in 2002, she's studied beneath several yoga and Thai yoga massage experts, including the creator of Yoga Babies, Gail Silver. Charla, a busy mother herself, infuses the unflagging energy of children into her practice, filling sessions with encouragement, laughter, and fun.
She leads a diverse team of instructors who help students of all abilities and experience levels awaken their inner spirits and sing lullabies to their inner demons during Power Yoga classes heavily influenced by the Baptiste tradition. Instead of expecting students to defy their bodily limitations, instructors blend aspects of Ashtanga, Iyengar, and Bikram yoga to create custom classes that are both challenging and uplifting. The studio's diverse lineup unsurprisingly includes children's classes, yoga integrated with dance and martial arts, and restorative yin yoga.
Become Yoga's instructors spread the good word beyond the walls and alligator-filled moats of their own yoga studio. They hold weekly community classes, the proceeds of which support local and international charities, including The Africa Yoga Project.
Long before she founded The Pilates Connexion, Jeanna Vanni fell in love with Pilates through her practice as a strength and conditioning specialist. The women who would one day compose her staff, meanwhile, developed a passion for the fitness medium through dance and injury rehabilitation. Their different experiences speak not only to the wide-ranging applications of Pilates, but also to the eclectic backgrounds that feed into their teaching styles in the studio.
At The Pilates Connexion, they work with clients to personalize each program,, building core strength and long, lean muscles. This occurs in group Pilates mat classes, where students use their own body weight as resistance, or sessions on the reformer and low chair, where they work against the power of springs. Private classes use Pilates to help with injury rehabilitation, pre- and post-natal fitness, athletic conditioning, and any number of other goals.
The Well Loft's skilled instructors sculpt flexible forms from stiff silhouettes with yoga, Pilates, women’s boxing, and fitness classes. Springboard Pilates incorporates wall-mounted springs into an invigorating workout to build core strength and prepare students for street skirmishes with ne’er-do-well jack-in-the-boxes. Mat-based Pilates sessions stretch and strengthen abs, hips, thighs, and glutes, and yoga classes borrow from multiple yoga modalities to create a satisfying flow of postures such as downward-facing dog, cobra pose, and cobra commander. Women’s Fit Boxing encourages the development of speed and agility with regular feedback and soft partner sparring. Fitness classes vary, often combining cardio and strength training to focus on specific body areas such as the difficult-to-tone larynx.
Things completely change every two minutes at Olde Towne Cardio Boxing. During the gym's signature cardio boxing classes, instructors lead cross-training drills that clock in at 120 seconds each—with each round focusing on different areas of the body—then end each workout with some bag work and cardio drills.
Indeed, routine is the enemy at Olde Towne Cardio Boxing, where the class lineup also includes cardio boxing for kids and private sparring sessions. The fitness experts change up their playground class every two days, creating new strength conditioning routines that address all the important muscle groups, even the secret one hidden behind the ears. The energy and vibe of Olde Towne Cardio Boxing also comes from the sense of community in the gym. People cheer each other on while working hard and having fun. But if all that hard work leaves your muscles aching, you're in luck: one of the gym's most active exercisers, chiropractor Dr. Craig Weismantel, is also a staff member and specializes in areas such as stretching and sports massage.
The eight instructors at Bikram Yoga University City lead students in the hot-yoga style during their 30 weekly classes. During each 90-minute class, they guide students of all ages and skill levels through Bikram's series of 26 poses and two breathing exercises while cranking up the heat to a steamy 105 degrees with 40% humidity. In addition to increasing oxygen uptake in the lungs, the heat loosens sinews and joints for safer, deeper stretching and expelling toxins through sweat. According to Philadelphia magazine, the studio also offers a work-study program, which allows students to take yoga classes in exchange for doing chores, such as washing floors and mirrors or steam cleaning carpets and the instructors.
Built on the top of the building's original roof, the new 5,000-square-foot facility features locker rooms with showers, cubbies, and changing spaces, as well as a spacious yoga studio equipped with antibacterial and antimicrobial carpeting.