Despite many obvious differences, new yogis and fighter pilots share a common fear: turning upside-down for the first time. At Yoga Sakti, however, instructors have installed a yoga wall that acts as a fail-safe for students who want to practice their inversions. A system of straps and props support pupils as they attempt advanced postures or strive to overcome physical difficulties, such as back problems. An aid for beginners and experts alike, the wall also acts as a symbol of the large studio's welcoming, encouraging atmosphere.
When they aren't manning the wall, yoga instructors lead classes in a wide variety of styles, from heated Vinyasa sequences to mellow gentle-stretch sessions or even mellower Nap in Your Parked Car seminars. Variety is a major theme running through the gym's curriculum: TRX routines bookend spin classes and ballet-barre workouts or combine with kettlebell swings to form one of several combo classes. For a more meditative visit, guests can explore the onsite wellness center, where massage, acupuncture, and hypnosis therapy aim to calm the mind.
A power-flow yoga studio and life-coaching center, Ajna Yoga Center is all about awareness. This awareness is about the mind as much the body—each yoga class, though an athletic workout, starts and ends with mind-body awareness practices. These are meant to bring self-awareness not only to the practice of yoga, but also to students’ overall lives. The center’s life coach uses compassion and guidance to help clients reach their full potential. In addition to regular weekly yoga classes, students can also learn the basics of heated, power-flow yoga at an eight-week workshop.
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.
You'll get five adult group lessons, which convene in the evenings several times a week (click here to see the Boston schedule and here to see the North schedule). Schedule a ballet, jazz, or tap class to pick up where you left off twinkling your childhood toes, or start learning ballroom dance; it's easier to stay motivated and appreciate classical dance techniques as an adult, when waning Cinderella-fascination is compensated for by the twin feet of patience and discipline.
The trainers at BeFit Health and Wellness have a taste for the unconventional. In their one-on-one and small-group training sessions, it’s not uncommon to see clients flipping tires, waving battle ropes, swinging kettlebells, or honing their bodies with plyometrics. The trainers like to keep things varied, so the workout changes every day, and it may include exercises such as body-weight training, weightlifting, sprinting, and moving sandbags. They work with clients of all ages, abilities, and fitness levels and also offer customized nutrition programs to help clients achieve optimal results.
North Shore founder Marc Meltzer grew up training in many martial-arts practices, but by the early 1990s, he became singularly devoted to muay thai. He fought in one of the first public muay thai matches in the Massachusetts area, and went on to study with champion fighters and teachers of various muay thai techniques.
Today, at his own academy, Marc specializes in two different martial arts: muay thai and thai sword fighting. His competitive muay thai sequence helps students rise through the ranks, beginning with a mandatory introductory class, and progressing with conditioning, midlevel striking with pads, and advanced sparring classes. The thai sword fighting courses are rooted in self-defense practices, as with kali, close-quarters combat techniques that teach students how to use their environment to fend off attackers. Krabi-kabong primarily uses swords and staffs, and muay boran is an ancient practice that focuses on empty-hand striking, kicks, holds, and throws.