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Yoga is a grounding practice, a way to break through the aggravations of the day. Focusing on your breathing as you move allows you to relax and let go of stress. And it's even better when you can break out of four walls and perform the ritual outdoors.

Hanging from nylon straps on the beach might look like child's play, but the TRX circuit training workout is both challenging and invigorating. You can feel your arms getting toned as you lift your own body weight during each move.

Aggression isn't something familiar to a lot of folks, so when confronted with a violent situation, many people don't know how to respond. Krav Maga, a self-defense system developed by the Israeli military, can help.

Rolling around on the floor like a baby might not be your idea of a workout, but once you drop yourself-consciousness and embrace the gentle exercises and body awareness at the center of this blend of two wellness traditions, you'll find relaxation and fewer aches and pain.

At first glance, the Pound Rockout class at the UFC Gym in Kakaako looks pretty silly, with a group of people hopping around and waving neon-green drumsticks. But once you join in and start pounding the ground, you’ll release your inner drummer — and get your heart rate up and tone your body too.

Kettlebells, those cast-iron weights that resemble a cannonball with a handle, were originally used in Russia for weighing crops. They've evolved to become a trendy fitness tool at gyms.

Getting a good workout isn't why most people visit Anna O'Brien's, best known as a lively Irish bar and nightclub in Moiliili. But on Tuesday evenings that's exactly what you'll get if you take part in weekly classes offered by Hawaii Irish Dance.

J.K. Rowling's blockbuster "Harry Potter" franchise may have run its course (or has it?) but local fans of the wizardly sport of Quidditch aren't ready to put down their brooms just yet.

At first glance, I balked at the small 1- to 3-pound weights sitting in the bins at the Barre­Amped class at the Body Balance studio on Kapiolani Boulevard. After a few rounds of the arm exercises, I could see why.

‘Just add water and shake" is the slogan for Aqua Zumba, held Mondays at the Punahou Fitness Center, in the saltwater pool. Casually known as the "pool party," it integrates aquatic fitness disciplines with Zumba's Latin-inspired dance moves.

If you're tired of paying gym fees but need the motivation of others to inspire your workouts, you might want to check out 45 Under the Bridge.

Bouncing around may sound like child's play, but if you're in Brett Freeland's iRobics class, it's a total workout.

If you're looking to rev up your metabolism, Ryan Pang, owner of Fitness HI, has the workout for you.His high-intensity interval training, known as the Metabolic Class, has you burning fat long after the session ends.

Chairobics is a perfect fit for older folks seeking to stay active but who have mobility or balance issues.

If you're looking to work out some of the kinks, stretch out your muscles and let go of the physical and mental tensions that are dragging you down, Yamuna body rolling might just be the thing.

Ninety-five percent attitude, 5 percent talent — that's how instructor Mara Bacon-Chang sums up the Street Jamz Werkout class. That formula affords participants a lot of room for creative freedom, which was welcome news for someone like me who does not possess the grace of a trained dancer.

The Spartans of ancient Greece were known for their self-discipline, courage and ability to deal with pain and adversity. Marc Zimmermann's Spartan Training Club strives for the same ideals during his workout sessions at Island Club and Spa (the old Hono­lulu Club on Queen Street).

Willow Chang is the first to admit she likes to toe the line when it comes to traditional dances. "I'm a granny at heart," she said. So don't expect sparkly, skin-baring costumes and risqué movements at her "Hooray for Bollywood" class at the Still & Moving Center.

Most people who are trying to get in shape complain that it just takes too much time. But if you have eight minutes, you have all the time you need to work out with a ROM machine.

I'm slumped in my chair at work, hunched over my computer, when Lisa Ortega Robertson's words come to mind, reminding me to improve my posture. Roll your shoulders down and back, she said, an act that automatically elongates the spine.

I'm a princess — I'm the first to admit it. Sure, I can endure sweaty mixed martial arts classes and grueling interval training sessions, but when placed in the great outdoors, I'm a helpless babe in the woods.

During the late 1940s, Palama Settlement was considered a menacing neighborhood, so a small group of martial artists calling themselves the Black Belt Society met to train and learn from one another.

Some moms are able to muster the motivation to get back into their regular workout routines, while others find it more challenging to fit exercise into their much-altered lifestyles.

Sensual, exotic dancing is no longer reserved for strip bars and so-called gentlemen's clubs, and sliding poles shouldn't be limited for use by children on playgrounds or firefighters.

All through a spin class at Hono­lulu Holo Cycling Studio, I kept thinking, "My butt hurts." I was thankful for the times when we stood up on the stationary bike pedals, which provided some relief from being seated for long intervals.

Balancing on a Bosu ball is a workout in itself. Standing on the ball while using free weights during a class at the Central YMCA was much more difficult than I had imagined.

A diverse group, young and old and of all sizes, assembled for the Aqua Fit class at the Kroc Center in Ewa Beach.

Jogging on the beach, military crawls and leapfrog in the sand make the TRX Boot Camp class quite a challenge.

It's no wonder I have knots, aches and pains, spending much of the day in a sedentary position, typically on a computer, and driving at least three hours a day. This behavior has been shown to lead to muscle atrophy, a shortening and weakening of the muscles.

Sitting down is not allowed. A "never quit" attitude is mandatory for all in attendance. Water breaks are limited to 60 seconds. If one participant is late getting back to their workout station, the rest of the group suffers a punishment of more exercises.

A few years ago, I ventured to a hip-hop class with a couple of my 30-something friends. Most of the students were 16 years old, so we were definitely out of our league.

Leave the "I can't" attitude at the door if you're planning to check out a BodyPump class at Mana Fitness Studio.

Sweating it out while stretching and receiving the benefits of yoga appears to be gaining popularity, with at least two new "hot yoga" studios opening here in the past couple of months.

If running the Honolulu Marathon is on your bucket list or if you just want to prepare for shorter-distance runs, check out the free Hono­lulu Marathon Clinic at Kapiolani Park on Sunday mornings.

One glimpse around Fitness Ranes Training Studio and you might mistake the place for a torture chamber. Ropes hang from the ceiling and metal contraptions surround the room.

A shuffle to the left, a grapevine to the right, a kick, step and turn. The intricate footwork during a line-dancing class definitely demanded my attention.

"Intimidation" best described my feelings about attending Egan Inoue's Fit Body Bootcamp. After all, Inoue is a mixed martial arts champ, and I run only if someone is chasing after me.

If you're looking to recuperate from stressful holiday activities, consider taking an outdoor tai chi class with Greg­ory Yuen and his assistants.

Giltzy belts and sultry moves make belly dancing an enticing workout. The time flies by, but don't let that fool you.

I didn't realize how stressed out I was until I stepped in front of the punching bag at BoxFit808 Boxing and Fitness Training Center.

Starting an exercise routine can be daunting, so it helps to find a class that fills you more with excitement than dread.

Until now my fear of heights had kept me away from the Volcanic Rock Gym in Waipio. The towering wall with tiny faux rocks to grab for support had me imagining a horrible fate.

The Drums Alive class at the Still and Moving Center was all fun and games.

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