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.
Julie Berger's memories are saturated with images of dancers— teachers who inspired her, students she worked with, and professionals she revered. Entranced by the beautiful and transformative art form, Julie practiced dance throughout her life, attending intensive dance programs, performing in competitions, and teaching at local dance centers. Julie discovered salsa dancing while studying in England, and she instantly fell in love with its sultry movements and lively steps. Determined to share the newfound style with others, Julie founded her own salsa-dancing studio.
At Salsa in the Suburbs Dance Studio, Julie and her staff of passionate dancers lead classes in a variety of styles, including salsa, ballroom, and belly dance. The instructors work with students of all levels, helping them master form, technique, and rhythms. The teachers also offer children's classes in ballet, tap, and Zumba, ideal for youngsters trying to be more active or hoping to include a lively dance section in their next chemistry presentation.
Bally enshrines exercise classes, calorie-burning equipment, and a fitness-focused staff within its sanctuaries of health. A 30-day membership includes access to a spread of group exercise classes, including Pilates, Reaction Cycling, and Step Fitness (class offerings vary by location). For self-guided worker-outers, cardio equipment such as treadmills, elliptical machines, cross-trainers, and stair climbers torch calories while entertaining the brain with video entertainment and integrated music systems that occasionally whisper quotes from Charles Atlas. Bally also boasts an array of strength machines, free weights, and small-apparatus equipment, and grants gym-goers access to on-site locker rooms, showers, and, at some locations, a pool and steam room. Visit each location's webpage for a list of specific amenities and the lineup of classes.