Gateway Bodyworks owner Lisa Firey believes deeply in the power of holistic treatments, as she has seen remarkable results firsthand. When her beloved dog, Porter, came down with an immune disease, doctors attempted to treat the symptoms with Western medicine. She suspected the medicines were weakening Porter’s immune system, so she began to research alternative methods. Soon she was treating her dog with vitamin C, nasturtium, and dandelion root, as well as massage. This method reenergized Porter and prolonged his life. Impassioned by this discovery, Lisa went on to earn a degree in muscle therapy and is now pursuing a doctorate in natural health.
Today, Lisa employs a staff of 20 experts to practice holistic healing methods. Within her garage-turned-spa space, her team focuses on acupuncture, bodywork, and massage. During reflexology treatments, therapists push pressure points on the feet, relieving stress and removing stuck-on shoe inserts. Acupuncturists treat everything from fatigue to autoimmune disorders and suggest herbal remedies. Alternatively, massage therapists use the long, languid strokes of the Swedish modality, and can also alleviate pain related to sports injuries, pregnancy, and postpregnancy. To round out the center, Lisa also set up a yoga studio with classes such as Hatha, Mommy & Me, and Kundalini.
At Power Yoga Works, winner of the Suburban Yoga category in Philadelphia magazine's Best of Philly 2008, certified instructors guide aspiring yogis of all skill levels in muscle-toning and detoxifying classes. The studio's focus centers around the power Vinyasa style, a modality that combines deep-breathing exercises with sequenced sets of flowing poses to help to build strength, increase flexibility, release tension, and purge the mind of distracting heavy-metal guitar riffs. Fledgling flexers receive a proper introduction to the fundamentals during four-week beginners courses that teach body alignment and come with a complimentary yoga mat. The schedule boasts copious classes and meeting times, helping students to salute the egotistical sun seven days a week. A warm, spacious studio allows up to 65 students at a time to stretch and bend without disrupting their neighbors' wingspans.
Mindfulness is the goal of everything Verge Yoga does, from flowing yoga sequences to breathing exercises to meditation. Specialized classes cater to different skill and experience levels, although every session provides its own sort of calming escape, encouraging thoughtful introspection even while incorporating challenging sequences of movements.
For newcomers, introductory-level sessions explore basic poses and breathing techniques, developing the strength, flexibility, and balance that students will need when they move on to more demanding classes. These advanced classes use deeper stretches or seamlessly flowing asana sequences to provide more of a challenge. With continued practice, the instructors help students develop the sort of calm self-awareness that can add stability and clarity to their entire lives.
Philadelphia Rock Gyms challenges climbers of all skill levels with 2,000 square feet of climbing terrain, 1,500 square feet of bouldering plains, and more than 30 top ropes. Initiates to the vertical sport can get the hang of climbing basics during the gym’s variety of lessons, which impart skills such as proper technique and the ability to tell which rocks open a supervillain's secret lair. Each participant receives a two week pass to practice the climbing skills they learned and try new climbs. The gym also features a variety of team-building opportunities and private room rentals, as well as a pro shop that outfits patrons with the proper climbing equipment available for rent or purchase.
Equipment: Kettlebells, TRX, dumbbells, barbells, Precor, FMS, Life Fitness, and bikes
Students should bring: Bottled water, comfortable clothes, and a towel
Average class length: 30–60 minutes
Number of Staff: 5–10
Class location: Mix of indoor and outdoor classes
Registration required: No
Good for beginners: Yes
Guests allowed: Yes
Parking: Free street parking
Awakening Wellness believes that a person's life needs to be in balance in order to achieve optimal health. With this mission in mind, they help both beginners and experienced practitioners of yoga and qigong to feel welcome and restore balance to their lives, regardless of their age, gender, or body type. Awakening Wellness also offers lifestyle-balance coaching, reiki, energy & chakra balancing, and homeopathy; along with bodywork treatments such as massage and myofascial release.
What is qigong? It's a moving meditation and self-healing energy practice that combines graceful movement, breath, and intention.