Decadent though it seems, there is something at least a little peculiar about allowing a stranger to stroke and oil your naked self. So if you'd rather let a loved one poke, prod, and pummel you, the New York Day Spa in midtown is here to help, offering massage lessons for couples, in which a trained masseur or masseuse will teach you "healing touch in a hands-on lesson." This might be the rare class in which the homework proves to be the best part.

Who doesn't love that airy feeling of calm and serenity after a particularly engaging yoga class? And who doesn't long to celebrate it with vodka on the rocks? Happily, you can enjoy both spiritual and alcoholic transcendence at Bushwick's Cobra Club, a bar that also offers yoga classes, two or three each day of the week, including Baby + Me. (Babies love bars.) One popular option: Hangover Yoga, which concludes with a free Bloody Mary or mimosa.


One of the joys of the Internet is the relative freedom it offers (well, provided you don't log on in China). But with freedom comes responsibility, and Fordham School of Continuing and Professional Studies' new media program wants to make sure its students surf, click, and program ethically. In addition to courses in online video, audio, marketing, and writing, Fordham offers instruction in such topics as "Digital Media and Public Responsibility" and "Cyberspace: Issues and Ethics."

Harvestworks launched all the way back in 1977 as a nonprofit designed to help artists integrate technology into their work. (Did they even have technology in 1977?) But Harvestworks has kept up with the times, and in addition to commissions and residencies, its Soho space boasts numerous educational opportunities, including instruction in digital audio and digital video, as well as a low-residency MFA in Fine Art and New Media, plus occasional workshops.


Ah, France. The food, the architecture, the fashion, the snobbery, the occasionally appalling rudeness. If your French doesn't extend to insults and you would like to comment on a Frenchman's height, hauteur, or odor in his native tongue, consider workshops in French slang at the French Institute: Alliance Française. In February and March, you can devote a Friday evening to speaking cheekily as a native. Will a further workshop, "Idiomatic Expressions," also cover rude hand gestures?

International immigrants make up 40 percent of New York's population—and those are just the ones who consent to respond to surveys. That means many of us are non-native speakers, and truthfully even some of us who are U.S.-born and raised could use linguistic improvement. Happily, the NYU School of Continuing and Professional Education sponsors the American Language Institute to offer a thorough grounding in Gotham's lingua franca, including intensives and evening and weekend courses.


Sure, you could embroider the truth, but wouldn't you be much happier with a beautifully detailed pillow, sampler, or blouse? In January, the Textile Arts Center in Gowanus offers a four-session embroidery class, designed to help students create "lines and textures on cloth," including "instruction on appliqué and image-transferring techniques." Students can bring in an heirloom or begin work on a new piece.

These days, most of us communicate via text, e-mail, and tweet. Even a phone call can seem charmingly retro. But the people at Dieu Donné Papermill in midtown still have a hankering for good old-fashioned wood pulp, and they hope you do, too. In January, they will offer "Introduction to Contemporary Papermaking," plus "Pulp Painting, Stenciling, and Pigmenting" for more experienced paper craftspeople.


Just because the New York City Marathon didn't trot its way through the five boroughs this year doesn't mean you shouldn't start preparing for the next one. If 26.2 miles seems like a lot, you can sign up for 10-week sessions with the New York City Road Runners. Their classes, held in Central Park, are pitched to eight different levels, and alternate speed training, intervals, and tempo runs. The Road Runners also offer deep-water running and yoga for runners.

Foodies will often trek to Queens just for the quiescently frozen treats at the Lemon Ice King of Corona. But at the nearby World Ice Arena in Flushing, there's even more chilly excitement on offer. Located in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, once the site of the World's Fair, the arena offers public skating and hockey as well as figure skating school for both children and adults. Children as young as four and grown-ups who like bedazzled costumes can perfect their spins, axels, and lutzes.


In the winter months, you won't get far trying to get basil or rosemary to flourish on your frigid fire escapes or frosty windowsills. Luckily, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden is offering instruction on "Growing Herbs Indoors" with an emphasis on "fresh, flavorful ingredients." And if you grow some particularly amorous aromatics, you can learn how to prepare them in a class—held just before Valentine's Day—on "Herbal Aphrodisiacs," from damiana to kava kava to roses.

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