Lauded by reporters from Tropolism as "the coolest yoga studio of all time," and available for rental for private events, Yoga Deva was designed by Phoenix-based architects Blank Studio to serve as a calming sanctuary from the zooming cars and bustling sidewalks of the outside world. Long, walnut benches and a radiant-blue wall greet visitors in the front lobby, drawing them toward a sunlit yoga room with towering mirrors and white, wavy ceilings.
Serenity and balance in the studio is a must for owner, Shosh, who aims to deepen the mind-body awareness of all who enter. At the studio, she uses all natural modern technology to promote pain relief and anti-aging benefits. After sustaining numerous injuries during her two-decade career as a professional ballet dancer, Shosh found relief through inner reflection, which she harnessed during her time as a body-centered psychotherapist, and movement. Today, she channels her love of meditation and physical action into yoga, helming a team of certified instructors who lead classes in a variety of styles ranging from Vinyasa flow to Yin yoga. Sessions cater to students of all levels and can be modified to personally cater to clients. During each session, they guide students through poses and stretches designed to soothe the mind, heal the body, and enhance flexibility. The instructors strive to create a sanctuary of silence in the yoga room, requesting that guests leave all cellphones, pagers, and singing animatronic trout in the dressing room.
After earning reputations as elite trainers throughout the East Valley, NASM-certified personal trainers Luis Galindo and Jeremy Jones pooled 30 years of combined fitness experience to cofound Funktional Fitness. At their custom-designed studio in downtown Gilbert, they waive the monotony of gym machines and treadmill stacking for workouts based on functional movements—actions relevant to everyday living. Their regimens and nutrition programs encourage guests to embody the studio's 10 core values, which include "unity," "embrace change," and "strive to be 1% better each day."
Rather than roping its clients into memberships, Funktional Fitness allows them to customize their training plans according to the TMDA (think, motivate, decide, and act) model. One-on-one and semiprivate sessions stress individual feedback, whereas GroupFit classes combine the intimate instruction of private lessons with the camaraderie of book clubs that meet to tear dictionaries in half. Patrons might battle their own body weight with TRX suspension cords, swing kettlebells, or flow through yoga poses during their visits, building strength in a welcoming environment infused with competitive drive.
As a 23-year-old junior, Tom Hatten didn’t spend his evenings at the raucous parties or ice-cream socials associated with college life. Instead, he’d spend the waning hours of his evenings waiting by the dryer for the last batch of towels before collapsing into bed. In the morning, he would lug them to Mountainside Fitness, the gym he opened as a student that he has thrown all his energy into maintaining ever since.
Today, the humble 4,800-square-foot space has bloomed into nine gyms that average a sweeping 41,000 square feet. Tom’s vision of creating a friendly neighborhood gym that greets each guest with a warm towel underscores every decision he makes for the different locations, from the colorful kid-care spaces to the entertaining group fitness classes. Personal trainers plan regimens tailored to each client, helping them lose weight, build muscle, or target the muscles that will help build a better golf game. Clients can create their own routines with the help of cardio and weight machines, or explore the different amenities at each location, such as saunas, rock-climbing walls, and indoor basketball courts.
In 1975, Jay Kogan's parents opened up a store that was literally a hall of frames—just a small store stacked with thousands of frames. At the time, they had no idea that that tiny corridor would expand to 12 locations throughout the greater Phoenix area, all still run by the Kogan family. Today, their shops have more than 4,500 custom frame options along with mats of all colors and textures, as well as seven glazing choices and expert assembly. They can answer framing questions and frame everything from documents and artwork to posters and small 3-D objects such as sports memorabilia and very still grandmothers.
When they custom-produce frames, the family cuts their mats exactly, miters frame corners precisely, and installs flawless glass. Or, since the stores' walls are lined with ready-made frames, customers can walk in and find what they're looking for quickly. Since installing framed art is an art unto itself, they also offer hanging services with an eye for placement and ability to install in difficult spaces.
Inside Desert Fitness' 10,000-square-foot facility, a muscled man grunts as he hefts a 200-pound barbell over his head and the sound of Latin music emanates from a group Zumba class. The rhythmic thump of runners' feet on treadmills add to the cacophony, along with the motivational encouragement coming from personal trainers. All the gym's staff members are serious about fitness, teaching classes such as group cycling, mat Pilates, and yoga in addition to providing one-on-one personal training. Desert Fitness always caters to its clientele, helping them get fit during engaging workouts. Monthly maintenance plans help exercisers stay on track, and nutritional counseling is also available for clients unable to ignore the siren call of graham-cracker teddy bears when shopping at the supermarket.
Owned and operated by veteran competitive swimmer David Tait, Evo Swim School leads fun, structured classes that tutor young pupils in the watery arts. The classes start swimmers at a young age, introducing babes as young as 9 months to the water, and range up to lessons in advanced strokes that prep 12-year-olds for competitive swimming. The school sets parents' minds at ease with low student-to-teacher ratios; entry level and intermediate classes have one instructor in the pool for every four students.
During classes, parents are free to relax in the WiFi-enabled waiting room, where pool-overlooking windows provide an easy way to keep an eye on paddling young'uns. A kids' play area is also on hand to keep water-shy siblings and rust-prone sibling bots occupied while their amphibious brethren frolic in the water.
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