Along The Line: Beauty, Health & Wellness

February 10, 2014 |

Sun Link – the Tucson Streetcar project that wends 3.9 miles through the heart of Tucson – is heading toward completion with an estimated time of arrival for public use at the end of this summer.

Over the next several issues, Zócalo Magazine is covering the businesses along, and in proximity to, the streetcar line – the places that make this part of town a hub of unique and mostly locally-owned enterprises.

This month, Along The Line highlights establishments focused on helping you obtain optimum health and wellness, along with places that pamper. With St. Valentine’s Day this month, it’s a good time to remember to love and take care of number one. We’re also pretty sure your sweethearts wouldn’t mind gift certificates from the following businesses that will allow your darlings to love and nurture themselves too!

Businesses are listed by location, generally from west and south to north and east.

Beauty, Health, Wellness

Beauty & Wellness

These places pamper and recharge. From acupuncture to nails, the following locales offer a variety of services that aim to make you feel like a million bucks.

The Natural Sanctuary
388 S. Stone Ave. (part of Woman Kraft’s building), (520) 882-6280
Founded and operated by owner Jordana Silvestri, this is a full service salon. “I do everything,” says Silvestri. “We’re an all natural salon with all natural hair colors, perms, manicures, pedicures, facials, waxing… it is all natural and non-toxic. I’ve been downtown for 16 years, in Tucson for 30, and in the business for 40 years.”

The website showcases the products she makes herself and uses on her clients, available for sale online or at the salon. Hours are 8 a.m.-4 p.m., Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

Tucson Acupuncture Co-Op
439 N. Sixth Ave. #127, (520) 867-8004
Tucson is full of gems hidden in the nooks and crannies of the most unexpected spaces. Many decades ago, when the Firestone Building at Sixth Avenue and Sixth Street was a tire store, people then would probably be hard pressed to imagine that a portion of the building would eventually become a healing space offering acupuncture. But that’s what happened on March 3, 2013 when Tucson Acupuncture Co-Op (TACO) opened its doors.

Josh Whiteley applies acupuncture needles to a patient. photo courtesy Tucson Acupuncture Co-Op

Josh Whiteley applies acupuncture needles to a patient.
photo courtesy Tucson Acupuncture Co-Op

The story of how worker-owners Josh Whiteley and Ellen Vincent converged in Tucson to open TACO is one of those groovy sliding doors happenstances. What if something came up and one of them didn’t make it to the People’s Organization of Community Acupuncture conference in Portland, OR, where they met? Or, further back, when one or the other hadn’t been struck by the healing attributes of acupuncture?

Ellen, who moved here from Philly – “brought here by that guy,” she says smiling, nodding at Josh – has been an acupuncturist since 2006. “I had had acupuncture in my early 20s. I graduated with a not very practical degree, so in my early 30s, I thought, ‘What am I going to do?’ Acupuncture sounded like something I’d be interested in.” TACO is the third clinic she has helped open, and one is still thriving in Philadelphia, PA.

When Ellen moved to Tucson, she worked with Josh at another local clinic, but, “I’m not suited to be an employee and Josh had also been talking about opening a clinic.” When the couple made their decision, they found their new space quickly, she says.

Josh writes via email that they opened TACO “primarily as a means to provide affordable and accessible healthcare to Tucson and the surrounding communities. We also saw a big need in Downtown and the west side particularly, and wanted to help here as well as support the ongoing growth of the Downtown community.”

While situated in hub of commercial activity, TACO has carved out a space of tranquility. It has ten extremely comfortable recliners arranged in a circle around the room’s perimeter. The soft, ambient lighting and meditative music instantly relaxes most stress. The thin disposable needles are placed on points on the arms, hands, legs, feet and head. Initially it feels like a little pinch, but the sensation quickly subsides. Soft blankets are provided and one drops into what Josh calls “going to the ‘acuzone’.” It is the best nap time ever.

What can acupuncture do for you and how does it work? Josh explains that it can help “pretty much anything under the sun in some way. Acupuncture essentially works by triggering the body’s own internal healing response. We see a lot of conditions involving pain and/or inflammation and I think these are areas were acupuncture really shines particularly. It is also great for treating stress, anxiety, depression, digestive issues and all of the problems that can follow. Acupuncture can often go a long way in helping to bring the body back to a more healthy and balanced state. Sometimes in really big and life changing ways and sometimes in simply giving the patient a chance to de-stress and take care of themselves for an hour.”

Being able to inexpensively treat oneself, the sliding scale is $15-$35, and just drop out for a bit is rather priceless. TACO is very accommodating, allowing patients to stay as long as they need, and also enables people to come with loved ones to heal together. “Healing with family or the larger community itself has its own power that we don’t get enough of in this day and age,” Josh aptly states.

TACO encourages appointments, which can be made on the website, and is open various hours seven days a week. – Jamie Manser

529 N. Sixth Ave., (520) 777-6281, (520) 631-7398
Tucked in the midst of urban Tucson is a quaint, beautifully renovated historic home transformed into a simplistic, yet cozy “eco-chic” nail studio and spa.

Located just west of Fourth Avenue, Greentoes offers nail services, massage, facials and waxing using high quality, all natural and sustainably sourced ingredients.

Open to walk-ins, bridal parties, and of course appointments, Greentoes seeks to provide services that are different.

Victor Thompson and his wife chose to open the salon after his wife dreamt about the need to take life at a slower pace. The details of the couple’s new venture were all conveyed in this dream. Together, the two were able to breathe life to this concept.

Greentoes is a cozy, eco-chic nail studio and spa. photo: Ashley James

Greentoes is a cozy, eco-chic nail studio and spa.
photo: Ashley James

Greentoes is a bright and clean eco-friendly salon that uses only natural products in its spa services. Nail services are available in three tiers differing in length of time and level of luxury.

Pedicures feature a unique “blooming” foot bath soak for a truly luxurious experience. After checking in, you’re invited to choose from a colorful array of Spa Ritual nail lacquer. These polishes are free of harmful chemicals such as DBP, toulene, camphor, and formaldehyde. The best part is you get to take a complimentary bottle of lacquer home!

Greentoes offers more than just manis and pedis. Their menu includes massage, waxing, and facials that address a myriad of skin concerns from a dull and ageing complexion, to sensitive or acne prone skin. Your aesthetician will discuss your areas of concern and will customize your experience.

“Any health conscious consumer should know there is place out there that they can come to relax and receive the best possible service,” says Thompson.

The salon also feature private parking, is wheelchair accessible, military and teacher discounts, online booking and customizable gift certificates. – Ashley James

Natural Way Wellness Spa
526 N. Fourth Ave., (520) 882-8828
Friends of Lily Gabriel joke that when she left the space industry (Students for Exploration and Development of Space) to work in the spa industry, that she simply dropped the “c” and “e.”

Massage is just one of Natural Way Wellness Spa's many offerings. photo: Ashley James

Massage is just one of Natural Way Wellness Spa’s many offerings.
photo: Ashley James

The transition from science to massage happened after a diagnosis of a chronic medical condition that limited Gabriel’s mobility and required a change of pace.

She immersed herself in areas of health and wellness and began to foster a deep appreciation for those fields.

“I became very passionate about what wellness can do for others and how it can improve one’s quality of life,” she says.

While working at spas, Gabriel took note of what she would do differently if she had her own. In April 2012 she was able to do just that.

“I was inspired by the changes that I wanted to make and wanted to bring forth the highest quality of services and products for guests,” she explains.

The large, serene space features an airy lobby with eclectic, all-natural retail options such the spa’s signature hand-crafted skin care line (containing no more than six ingredients), tea, chakra charts, nourishing oils, jewelry, and various other wellness must-haves.

Gabriel advocates for self-care, an important and oftentimes neglected component of wellness. This is why the spa menu addresses the whole body. Offerings include semi-private yoga sessions, reflexology, custom aromatherapy, massage, facials, and much more.

The building boasts 4,800 square feet of space which she hopes will one day house additional naturopathic wellness providers and alternative healing options for clients.

For convenience, à la carte services are available for those who may not have time for longer treatments. These services range from a 15 minute warming hand massage for $20 to a 30 minute foot reflexology session for $42.

Gabriel supports local merchants on the Avenue and extends a 20 percent discount to employees and business owners located along Fourth Avenue.

Hours are 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Saturday. – Ashley James

Elements in Balance
614 N. Fourth Ave., (520) 623-3804
Fourth Avenue’s Aveda concept salon and spa features a boutique-style atmosphere in a cozy and comfortable setting. Educated stylists and aestheticians provide salon services including color, cut, waxing, facials, makeup and massage.

Salon manager Lacy Tritz is proud of the talent at Elements in Balance. “We have a diverse staff here, with someone available to accommodate anyone’s needs,” she says.

Being a “senior citizen” with 15 years as an Aveda salon on the Avenue, has its perks. Tritz explained that there are dedicated salon patrons who travel from as far away as Green Valley to receive their salon and spa services.

Noteworthy points of difference make for a great salon experience, she explains. Salon guests receive a warm greeting, are offered complimentary comfort tea, and all are given a stress relieving ritual which consists of a relaxing shoulder or hand massage.

“These rituals allow us to personally connect with our clients, adding a special touch.”

The Aveda product line features organic plant and flower essences used in services and available for purchase. Chakra balancing body mists are among the more popular picks, featuring a blend of fragrant essential oils.

The chakra balancing massage uses ancient Ayurvedic techniques, reflexology and massage. “This service takes you on a sensory journey,” Tritz says.

After an initial introduction to the seven energy zones of the body, a therapist consults with each client and invites them to choose from specific chakra colors and scents they are attracted to. The choice they make corresponds with the chakra in need of balance. The service is then tailored to re-balance the body’s energy zones accordingly, melting away stress and tension in the process.

The rejuvenating chakra balancing massage is available for 60 minutes for $80 or 90 minutes for $120.

See the website for the full menu of offerings. The salon is open Monday & Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Tuesday-Friday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. – Ashley James

That’s the Spot… Dr. Eric’s Chiropractic Centers
800 E. University Blvd., (520) 622-3886
Take control of your spinal health! Overseen by Dr. Eric Vindiola, D.C., That’s the Spot offers treatments for walk-in patients for an affordable $20 with plans available for frequent patients. Chiropractic appointments are not necessary. Walk-in hours for existing patients are 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Monday-Friday; new patients can walk in 10 a.m. -1 p.m., Monday-Friday. However, it is closed for lunch from 2:30 p.m.-3:45 p.m. Massages are available, by appointment, and can be purchased in 30, 60 or 90 minute increments. Check the Facebook page for more details.

Spring Nail Salon
845 E. University Blvd. #155, (520) 791-7447
From basic manicures and pedicures to deluxe treatments for hands and feet, along with hair coloring and spa services such as the “Herbology Body Experience,” this salon offers a wide range of offerings to pamper. Hours are 10 a.m.-7p.m., Monday-Friday; 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday and noon-6 p.m. Sunday.

Aveda Institutes Tucson
845 N. Park Avenue #105, (520) 207-2660
Take advantage of student learning with a whole slew of services offered at the Main Gate Park Avenue locale, including: body treatments, hair cuts and color, facials, nails, make-up, brows, lashes and hair removal. Aveda Institutes is an arm of Aveda – a beauty company that believes “treating the whole person leads to greater balance and well-being, so we consider the effects of our products not only on hair or skin, but on body, mind and emotion.”

The company’s mission, as stated at, “is to care for the world we live in, from the products we make to the ways in which we give back to society. At Aveda, we strive to set an example for environmental leadership and responsibility, not just in the world of beauty, but around the world.”

Days and hours vary based on class availability. Call or visit the website to book appointments.

Beautiful, Healthy Hair

Tucson is rife with fantastic stylists in the heart of the city that work to create the best hair for your individual needs.

Civano's Hair Studio photo: Jimi Giannatti

Civano’s Hair Studio
photo: Jimi Giannatti

Civano’s Hair Studio
110 S. Church Ave. # 4195, (520) 622-0312
Owned by native Tucsonan, Sondra Gil, the salon has resided at La Placita Village for over six years, and Sondra has been doing hair for 23 years.

“We specialize in image enhancing,” she says, “and corrective color, awesome custom cuts, extensions, facial waxing, nails… we also do men’s hair. We can help you master styling techniques, and we also do hair for special events.” Sondra says walk-ins are welcome and gift certificates are available. The salon has three stylists and is open 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m., Tuesday, Thursday-Saturday and Wednesday, noon-8:30 p.m.



Curley’s Family Barbershop
18 E. Ochoa St., (520) 440-0654

Raul Gonzales, left, and Thomas Curley, right, at Curley's Family Barbershop. photo: Jimi Giannatti

Raul Gonzales, left, and Thomas Curley, right, at Curley’s Family Barbershop.
photo: Jimi Giannatti

Across the street from the new (as of January 2013) location is where Thomas Curley went to barber school.

“I started started barber school 35 years ago at place that was on Stone Avenue, across from the St. Augustine Cathedral,” laughs the native Tucsonan and ex-Marine.

The shop offers traditional services – haircuts, razor fades, flat tops and shaves. It is open Monday-Tuesday and Thursday-Friday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

“We’re the senior barbers in Tucson,” Curley says, “and we have great customers. We’re trying to get a massage person over here, and perhaps also offer shoe shines.” – Jamie Manser

North Scott Barber & Salon
27 N. Scott Ave., (520) 623-8200

North Scott Barber Salon photo: Jimi Giannatti

North Scott Barber Salon
photo: Jimi Giannatti

A Downtown staple since October 2010, the salon and its ownership is a six-person effort – “partners who share over 119 years of creativity in the barber/beauty industry,” explains barber/stylist Bernice Valenzuela.

They collectively explain via email that they are dedicated to excellent customer service by way of clearly communicating “with our clients, so that we can understand their wants and needs. We are committed to offer our expertise, attention to detail and creativity to form the individual style you’re looking for. We’re traditional with a flare in offering an array of services. We specialize in children haircuts, women haircuts, high and low-lights, color, men haircuts, business executive, flat tops, razor cuts and fades, facial shaves and neck shaves with hot steam towels for the neck and facial shaves.”

Appointments and walk-ins are available Tuesday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5p.m. and Saturday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

“We offer a professional, friendly and relaxed atmosphere, a complimentary beverages for our clients and a pool table to pass the time,” Valenzuela adds. – Jamie Manser

The Hive Hair Studio & Gallery
315 E. Congress St., (520) 628-4188
Owner Lindsey Ross says she opened the studio in May 2011. “My husband is the executive chef at Maynards so we are right across the street from each other; the space was offered to me.”

Lindsey, who has been a stylist for over three years, says that, “I’m an artist and I needed a change, and it was an opportune time to go to school and start a second career – it’s a nice artistic outlet, to be able to work with people one on one. I enjoy changing people’s lives, one person at a time.”

The services cater to both men and women and include cuts, styles, updos, color treatments and more, with a full menu available on the website and by consultation.

“I think our space is really unique and our clients are always complimenting us on how unique and clean it is, plus, our location, being inside the hotel and the space itself – the idea was to make it feel like an art gallery.”

Staff bios and online appointments are available on the website. Hours are Tuesday-Saturday from 11 a.m. on, with closing times varying depending on appointments. – Jamie Manser

Ahead of Style Salon
426 E. Ninth St., (520) 624-8400
Ajia Simone, Tucson’s Black Cat Ajia Simone – mind you, has been a stylist for 20 years and at the 9th Street location since 2003.

“I come from a family of five and I’m a middle boy and I got stuck doing my two sisters’ hair. This is the third salon I’ve owned and been a part of, but this is retirement, I’m not going anywhere. I’m also one of the many show directors at IBT’s, 616 N. 4th Ave.” The salon offers haircuts, hair color, color correction, hair extensions, relaxers, and also specializes in multi-cultural hair.

“Our hours are flexible, all of the stylists are independent and we are available seven days a week, normally like 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., but if you need us there, we will be there. Best to have an appointment, but walk-ins are always welcome.”

Fun fact: the salon is situated in what once was a six-bedroom house, “word on the street was that it was once a bordello,” Aija exclaims, giggling. – Jamie Manser

Annette Andree Hair Studio, LLC
410 E. 7th St. (520) 474-5126

Annette Andree works her "round brush blow out" on a client. photo: Jimi Giannatti

Annette Andree works her “round brush blow out” on a client.
photo: Jimi Giannatti

“After working for other people on the Avenue for ten years, I decided I wanted to go out on my own for a more personalized service,” Annette says, who has been self-employed for the last year and has been a stylist for 30 years.

Annette worked in high-end hair salons in Houston, Jose Eber and Jaque Dessange, before moving to Tucson. She specializes in corrective haircuts and color, along with offering services that include ethnic hair and face waxing.

She was an instructor at the Aveda Institute and is trained in French techniques, from Paris, in color and cuts and stays with the more natural hair products, like Pravana hair color and Pravana Nevo vegan hair care.

“I’m the original round brush blow out,” Annette explains, saying it is a technique that creates soft, sexy, and gorgeously full hair.

Services are available by appointment. – Jamie Manser

Metropolis Salon's owner Emery Nicoletti styles Donna DiFiore's hair. photo: Jimi Giannatti

Metropolis Salon’s owner Emery Nicoletti styles Donna DiFiore’s hair.
photo: Jimi Giannatti

Metropolis Salon
529 N. Fourth Ave. (in the Delectable’s Restaurant Courtyard), (520) 296-7400

Artistic Director and owner Emery Nicoletti first opened Metropolis on April 4, 1995 on Tanque Verde at Kolb Road. “At the time,” he explains via email, “most of our clients were from the Northeast portion of Tucson so it made sense to be in that geographical area.”

The business eventually opened a second salon on Congress Street and resided for years where Playground now lives. But by the fall of 2009, the month-to-month lease was terminated to originally make way for a restaurant/bar, An Congress – which never launched. Metropolis was displaced, as Nicoletti had closed his Tanque Verde location by that point. Nicoletti tried other locales, but, “my whole staff missed the atmosphere and ambiance that resonates from the center of Tucson.

“One night while I was in my backyard stargazing, I started longing to be downtown again. Having remembered a few suites alongside Delectable’s Restaurant on 4th Avenue, I drove to 4th Avenue sometime around 2 a.m. to see if one was available. There were two available at the time. It was meant to be. I left a message at that very instant standing outside that window so early in the morning. Donna DiFiore, the owner of Delectable’s and the building responded to my message the next day and we started the build out process.

“Thankfully, we are back in the artsy, fuel-filled creative environment where we once flourished. Additionally, my partner and I fell in love with the West University Neighborhood and purchased the old Senator Harry Arizona Drachman House three blocks away on University Boulevard. If anyone told me when vacating Downtown, that not only would I be back, but I’d be living here too, complete with vegetable gardens and chicken coops, I can’t imagine what my response would have been. But, here we are, buying into the whole revitalization speech again, but with one exception; this time it feels right.”

Metropolis solely focuses on hair, and Nicoletti says his requirements for his stylists to have a continuing education in the beauty industry, along with encouraging them to be well versed in current events, and be politically active, “special incentives are given to be a part of political campaigns on both local and national levels,” sets his salon apart from others. “Our stylists continuously give back to Tucson by donating hundred of hours of their time per year to a variety of different charities.  We never refuse a non-profit’s request for a donation.”

Metropolis is open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-7p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sunday by special appointment. – Jamie Manser

Bill Dagostino, stylist and owner of 4th Avenue Jimi Giannatti

Bill Dagostino, stylist and owner of 4th Avenue Jimi Giannatti

4th Avenue Hair
729 N. Fourth Ave., (520) 977-5747 or (520) 670-1523

Specializing in wide variety of hair styling – from an average Joe cut to fun and funky, the website has loads of pictures to show the depth of range. Owner Bill Dagostino moved to Tucson from Rhode Island in 1976, started working on the Avenue in 1981, and founded 4th Avenue Hair in 1997. The 17-year-old salon has lived on 4th Avenue all of its days, though the exact locales have moved over the years. The salon is open Tuesday thru Saturday, and sometimes Sunday and Monday. It’s best to call for an appointment, though they do take walk-ins.


Blades Hair Design. photo: Jimi Giannatti

Blades Hair Design.
photo: Jimi Giannatti

Blades Hair Design
804 E. University Blvd. #102, (520) 622-4247
Owned by Nadine Danton, Blades has been in the University area for 25 years and in its current location since the early ’90s.

“All of our products are organic,” says Danton, “even our color lines, we try to be very green.”

While specializing in hair – for both men and women – the salon also offers facial waxing and validates for parking in the Tyndall Avenue parking garage. While normal business hours are Tuesday-Friday, they are happy to take special appointments at any time. A full list of services is on the website. The salon also often exhibits work by undiscovered artists and hosts wine and cheese opening and closing art receptions. – Jamie Manser

Boss Shears
876 E. University Blvd., (520) 623-2235
Bianca Herreras opened her salon in 1976, and has been situated in Main Gate Square since 1989. In addition to hair cuts, formal hairdos, coloring, highlights, perms and straightening, Boss Shears also provides eyebrow and lip waxing.

Chatting about the coming modern streetcar, Herreras says, “I’m glad we’ve been able to stick it out [during construction]. With the new businesses, restaurants, parking and the streetcar, it is bringing a lot more people down to this area, there is more for them to do. Some businesses say they think it [the streetcar] will take away customers, but I think there is plenty to go around!”

Asked what is unique about her salon, she says, “I think the quaintness, we are so small, I think people feel comfortable, we have more of a one-on-one personal relationship with our clients, who are our friends.”
– Jamie Manser

Fitness: Health & Wellness

If you think a toned body can only be achieved at the gym, think again. While gyms are great for attaining physical fitness, they are only a part of the larger picture. There are numerous places along the streetcar corridor that offer body-beneficial classes to help you reach and maintain your desired goals.

Platinum Fitness photo: Jimi Giannatti

Platinum Fitness
photo: Jimi Giannatti

Platinum Fitness
110 S. Church Ave. #5030, (520) 623-6300
Located in La Placita Village, Platinum Fitness provides its clients with group exercise classes, circuit training machines, free weights, cardio equipment, personal training, new locker rooms, sauna/steam room/Jacuzzi, and more. Hours are Monday-Friday, 5 a.m.-10 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.



Lohse Family YMCA
60 W. Alameda St., (520) 623-5200
Since 1914, the YMCA of Southern Arizona has been dedicated to improving the quality of human life and to helping all people realize their fullest potential through the development of spirit, mind and body.

The cause-driven organization strives to: empower youth through physical activity and educational programs, provide individuals and families with tools and programs to build a strong spirit, mind and body, and look within our community to serve.

The Downtown location offers state-of-the-art cardio and strength training equipment, a boxing studio, Y personal fitness programs, a full-size gym, four racquetball/handball courts, aerobic and yoga studios, a six-lane, 25 yard heated swimming pool, child watch area, community rooms, locker rooms, spa, sauna, and steam rooms – plus an indoor track and a full free-weight center.

There are also child care and youth development programs. Hours are Monday-Friday, 5:30 a.m.-9 p.m. and Saturday, 8 a.m.-6 p.m.

Cirque Roots
17 E. Toole Ave., (520) 261-4667
Offering classes and workshops at its warehouse locale, Cirque Roots brings to the public the chance to learn aerial strength and conditioning, all levels of acro-yoga, Kung-Fu for self-defense and fitness, beginning and intermediate hoop classes, along with hand balancing fundamentals and conditioning. Prices and schedules are available on the website. Also see the article here.

Play is serious business at Playformance.  photo courtesy Kevin Nichols

Play is serious business at Playformance.
photo courtesy Kevin Nichols

119 E. Toole Ave., (520) 271-1445
A youth fitness and athletic development school, Playformance caters to kids from 1- to 18-years-old with programs that include: school break camps during summer, fall, winter, spring and holidays; after school classes, along with toddler and preschool play, among others. It also provides physical education to City High, Imago Dei Middle School, Davis Bilingual, Khalsa Montessori and Satori.

Kevin Nichols, proprietor of Playformance with his wife Anna McCallister-Nichols, takes play very seriously. The business’ mission, he says, is “to revolutionize physical education by providing a challenging play-based curriculum to help young people develop the cognitive, physical, emotional and social skills that nurture them to grow into cooperative, confident and compassionate people.

“Play teaches us to think creatively, to get along with other people and cooperate effectively, and to control our own impulses and emotions.  These are real world skills we all need.”

Nicholas says that true play has been taken away from most Tucson schools, and that he isn’t aware of any other gym in town that does what they do. The NAU graduate with a bachelors’ degree in Elementary Education and a Minor in Physical Education taught in the TUSD school district for 5 years before starting his own business.

“Teaching PE was my favorite part of the day as a teacher so I decided I would like to teach PE all day every day.”

Visit the website for hours and schedules. – Jamie Manser

Yoga Oasis
245 E. Congress St., (520) 322-6142
Run by renowned yoga guru Darren Rhodes, Yoga Oasis has become a global yoga hub thanks to their offerings of teacher trainings and their creation of the Yoga Hour. With three locations (Downtown, central and east) YO offers 5-10 classes a day (classes vary by day and studio) for all skill levels from novice to expert. Yoga Hour classes, which were developed by Rhodes, are offered daily for only $5, while basic, expanding and the practice classes are offered for $11 a session. YO’s staff of experienced teachers and beautiful studio settings make it a special mecca for yogis. – Jon D’Auria

Capoeira Brasil Tucson
113 E. Broadway Blvd., (520) 909-3477

Capoeira Brasil Tucson photo from

Capoeira Brasil Tucson
photo from

Capoeira, a Brazilian martial art that combines movement and music, has a five century history. According to, “Capoeira’s origin dates back 500 years to the beginnings of Brazil’s slave trade period. Throughout the 488 year slave trade the Congo, Bantu, and Angolan tribes met and intermingled in the senzalas (slave quarters) and quilombos (escaped slave nations). From this merging of cultures, traditions and rituals, Capoeira was born.”

Led by Francisco Antonio Arruda Batalha, known in the Capoeira world as Instructor Junior, the studio offers introduction, youth and all-level capoeira classes Sunday-Thursday. Single classes are $12 and monthly memberships are available.

Instructor Junior has over 20 years of Capoeira experience, and through the studio’s classes, he shares the cornerstones of the art: diversity, tolerance, discipline and respect for tradition that ensures amazing fitness.

DNA Fitness
186 E. Broadway Blvd., (520) 623-2245
A brand-spankin’ new downtown addition – as of January 2014 – DNA took over the space at 5th Avenue and Broadway Boulevard that housed O2 Fitness for the last four years. Group training classes, as of mid-January, are held mornings and afternoons on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays; indoor cycling classes are Monday and Wednesday afternoons and mornings on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. DNA also offers private training and a nutrition program. Find the class times and more information on the website.

Tucson Yoga
140 S. Fourth Ave., (520) 988-1832
Located in the hip area of Armory Park, Tucson Yoga offers 25 classes a week including beginning yoga, hatha flow, yin yoga, Vinyasa, mindfulness yoga, gentle yoga, restorative yoga, Mama and baby and more. Set in a beautiful eco-friendly space, Tucson Yoga is easily accessible and greatly affordable, as they offer $6 single classes, $45 for monthly unlimited passes as well as five and ten pass offerings. Mats are available to rent for $1 and drop-ins are always welcome. With 14 caring, experienced teachers and a variety of practices, you’re sure to find the class that suits your needs. – Jon D’Auria

Rocks and Ropes
330 S. Toole Ave., (520) 882-5924
Downtown’s premier and only rock climbing gym for well over a decade, Rocks and Ropes has a fabulous reputation of offering interesting and challenging climbs that cater to both novices and experts, children and adults. Other offerings include six-week workshops, guided climbs and camps for kids.

Open admission hours are Monday-Friday, 3 p.m.-10 p.m., and Saturday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. “Kidz Climbs” are held 9 a.m.-11 a.m. Saturday-Sunday for those 12-years-old and under. See the website for rates, membership fees, events and more.

Tommy Padilla gets air at Get Air. photo: Jade Nunes

Tommy Padilla gets air at Get Air.
photo: Jade Nunes

Get Air
330 S. Toole Ave. #300, (520) 624-5867
A trampoline park, with over 20,000 square feet of floor to wall indoor trampolines, that also features dodge ball courts, foam pits, a basketball hoop, and if you dare, a slack line to challenge your balance skills on. This place beckons all ages to experience its promise of adrenaline and excitement. For younger children, Get Air has designated “Lil’ Air,” a smaller trampoline area for the wee ones. Rates per jumper are: $11/hour, $6/hour for an additional time; Small Air is $6/hour (under 46 inches). Get Air is open 10 a.m.-10 p.m., Sunday-Thursday and 10 a.m.-midnight, Friday-Saturday. – Jade Nunes


The Movement Shala
435 E. Ninth St., (917) 523-2240

Jade's Rockin' Friday Night Dance Class with live drumming at The Movement Shala. photo: Kathleen Dreier/ photo: Kathleen Dreier/

Jade’s Rockin’ Friday Night Dance Class with live drumming at
The Movement Shala.
photo: Kathleen Dreier

Alok Appadurai speaks with passion, enthusiasm and soul when describing the The Movement Shala, and the philosophies and vision he and his partner Jade Beall hold dear.

“Our goal – Shala means sacred space – was to have a place for physical movement, spiritual movement, social movement. We wanted to help create social change and environmental awareness, in a place that is a sacred space for all types, not just physical.” Within its walls – “we laid every floor board, we painted every inch” – are various classes offered by teachers who fit in with the overall “energetics of the offerings we have here. People need to feel safe when they walk in the doors, and know that they are not being judged or critiqued – you are supported and loved for walking through that door.”

Hours and classes – yoga, dance and meditation – vary, but the website is always up to date! While at the Shala, also visit their clothing boutique Fed By Threads, which sells sustainable and organic clothing and each sale has a portion donated to the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona and Feeding America, a national hunger relief organization. – Jamie Manser

4th Avenue Yoga
413 E. Fifth St.
The home of $4 yoga, Tai Chi and meditation classes, 4th Avenue Yoga maintains a robust daily schedule lead by experienced teachers. Located just east of 4th Avenue and north of Brooklyn Pizza, the intimate space also offers hot room classes on Wednesdays and Sundays. No mat, no towel, no problem! Rent those for a $1 each. Find the class schedule, and more information, on the website.

Take Flight Yoga and Movement

Take Flight Yoga and Movement

Take Flight Yoga
701 N. Main Ave., (520) 406-4437
Take your yoga practice to new heights with Take Flight Yoga’s aerial yoga fitness classes. Offering classes six days a week, TFY offers an acrobatic twist to yoga with their intro, regular, acroyoga jam and body conditioning classes. While the aerial yoga intro classes are free, space is limited due to their specialized apparatus, the yoga hammock, so show up early. After your free intro, classes are available for one for $15, or five for $65 or ten for $110. Comfortable exercise clothes are urged with no zippers, snaps or jewelry and water and a mat are encouraged. – Jon D’Auria

UA Recreation Center
1400 E. Sixth St., (520) 621-8702
Campus recreation isn’t just for UA students, it also offers alumni, affiliate, faculty and staff memberships, along with day passes. While it is a bit off of the Sun Link’s lines, the rec center is worth mentioning because of its state-of-the-art facilities with amenities almost too numerous to list. Highlights include: a 30,000 sq. ft. fitness center with ​ellipticals, bikes, stepmills, circuit strength equipment, an Olympic-size pool, an indoor track, five basketball courts, eight racquetball courts, two squash courts, sand volleyball courts, a climbing boulder wall along with RecSpa and camps for kids. See the website for all of the offerings and hours of operation.

Category: Business, DOWNTOWN / UNIVERSITY / 4TH AVE, Living