Bodies suspended from the ceiling gently sway while tranquil music plays in the background and for a moment, it feels a lot like a scene from the movie "Coma."
Then instructor Kelly Millaudon speaks and breaks the spell.
"Close your eyes and go try to find the comfort within yourself," she tells her students.
You can't see their faces, as they are sheathed head to toe in green and white fabrics, but you know they're all probably asleep. Who wouldn't be? Those cloth hammocks look unbelievably comfortable.
After a few minutes of this relaxing exercise, Millaudon instructs the students to emerge from their cocoons. They begin stretching their heads out and then their arms and legs until they are once again free. For new student Phoenix -- yes, that is her only name -- the experience is like a rebirth.
For the others, it is an anti-gravity yoga class at one of the most unique gyms in the valley: Shine Alternative Fitness. Opened in March, the gym is named after owner Dima Shine, a performer in Cirque du Soleil's "Zumanity."
An acrobat who specializes in hand balancing, Shine possesses the kind of physique mortals can only dream about. His intercostal muscles ripple and jut, framing an abdomen so well-defined, it could grate cheese.
Every day, people ask him how to get his body, or how to look as fit as a Cirque performer. His answer is not what you might expect.
It doesn't require weightlifting, although that can help. Treadmills and elliptical machines aren't necessary, either. The acrobats, with the lean, muscular look, do acrobatics. The aerialists work out by flipping on poles or swinging on fabrics or silks, as they're called in the industry.
Shine was inspired to open his fitness studio to serve the general public and to introduce novices to the benefits of hand-balancing, silks, Chinese pole work and other activities.
"We want to teach people how to move. You already have the perfect instrument, you just need to know how to move. Once you do, it's a beautiful thing," Shine says.
To teach the classes, Shine and co-owner Russ Petroni hired some of the top instructors in their fields.
Among those teaching are pole fitness champion Laura Martin; Millaudon, an aerialist and a certified anti-gravity yoga instructor; Suwasit Ritthiphon, an aerialist and dancer who has appeared in "Splash!" at the Riviera and "AZURE" an Underwater Show at the Silverton; Polina Volchek, an aerialist who performs on the silks in "Zumanity"; and ballet dancer Sunni Thomason.
There are no weights or squat machines at Shine's studio; he wanted to provide the kinds of classes that teach the skills he and his fellow performers actually do. The physiques they develop are simply a secondary effect.
Classes include anti-gravity yoga, a hybrid combining traditional yoga poses with aerial arts, pilates and dance; Gyrotonics, an exercise that looks a lot like pilates; dance classes, pole dancing/fitness and others.
Most of the classes taught fall under "suspension fitness," a subcategory of exercise that is gaining in popularity.
Prices range from $15 to $26 per class for walk-ins up to $300 for 20 specialty classes.
"The first time I came, I didn't realize that you really get a good workout," says Gianna Malerba, who had attended four anti-gravity yoga classes. "You feel the burn the next day. I could barely move."
Shine, who is from Russia, started doing acrobatics when he was just a boy. He spent years honing his skills and makes it look easy to balance on one hand atop a pole. Sometimes, his proficiency, and that of his fellow performers, intimidates novices. His philosophy is that, with a little training and instruction, anyone can do some of the things he does. And just about everyone can use those skills to get in shape.
"We've all been raised in society with all sorts of borders and fears and restrictions in our head, which I think are wrong," Shine says.
"People don't come to dance classes because people are afraid of looking bad. The beauty is not how you look, it's how you feel inside."
Contact reporter Sonya Padgett at spadgett@review journal.com or 702-380-4564. Follow @StripSonya on Twitter.