Back in 1997, Yoga House was a rarity?the full-time, dedicated Hatha yoga studio was then the only one in Pasadena, and was run by two enthusiastic yoga students. But as yoga has grown in popularity, Yoga House has also matured to become the spacious and beautiful studio it is today, a place where students come to heal, grow, and become more in tune with their minds and bodies. Inside the sunlit studio, certified yoga instructors teach classes in everything from Ashtanga and Vinyasa-style yoga, to prenatal yoga, yoga for those living with MS and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. What's more, the studio also hosts frequent workshops with topics that focus on everything from meditation to therapeutic yoga training for nurses, physical therapists, and DMV employees.
Upon entering YogaHop?s boldly colored confines and hearing vibrant pop and hip-hop tunes blasting from the classrooms? speakers, exercisers know they?re not in a typical yoga studio. At both the Pasadena and Santa Monica locations, students immerse themselves in energetic classes that, like the Taj Mahal after hours, blend the ancient practice of yoga with pulse-pounding dance music that forms a workout InTouch magazine dubs ?insane? and Maxim calls ?inspiring? and ?spiritual.? No matter the ability level, students find their stride thanks to patient and effervescent instructors who lead them through a continuous flow of poses, stopping only to gently correct a position or ask occasional student Reese Witherspoon for her autograph.
Bikram Yoga Pasadena is a certified Bikram studio that offers daily 90-minute routines designed to give the entire body a challenging workout. With a 10-class card (a $125 value), which is valid for two months from the date of redemption, yogis of all skill levels can sweat and stretch through exercises that improve flexibility, increase circulation, and reduce stress. The exercise room is heated to 100 degrees, heating the muscles to minimize the risk of injury while forcing the skin to sweat out all the toxic rain it has absorbed over the years. New students are advised to bring a towel, washcloth, and water, and should procure a mat after the first class (the studio offers $2 mat rentals, or you can purchase your own for $22).
Breakthru's 14,000 square feet of pristine workout space make up the country's only federally recognized indoor ecological reserve for evolved cardio machines and herds of roaming fitness buffs. A schedule of various classes includes oodles of yoga, piles of Pilates, stacks of spinning, and a truckload of dance classes including Zumba, hip-hop, and the dance of the ancients—boot camp. Classes are offered seven days a week and start as early as 5:30 a.m. and as late as 7:30 p.m. Other membership perks include discounts on special classes and ample free parking.
Although many of The Bar Method's exercises take place at the ballet bar, the program is only partially inspired by the long, lean musculature of ballet dancers. Created by Burr Leonard, the workouts also incorporate the brief, fat-burning bursts of activity known as interval training and the muscle-shaping techniques of isometrics. Combine all this with the science of physical therapy, and you get The Bar Method: an intense yet safely designed approach to exercise meant to cinch the silhouette, increase muscle definition, and boost energy all day long. Sessions introduce beginners to basics, such as maintaining good form and refraining from breaking out into Swan Lake choreography.
"Our brain is designed to realize what we wish, without any minor errors," says Ilchi Lee, the founder of Dahn Yoga. "If you want success, it will create success. If you want happiness or health, it will create them. Anything is possible, as long as negative thoughts and emotions don't interfere."
To make this philosophy accessible to all, Lee combined the Eastern concept of dahn?the Korean word for "life force" or "energy"?with his own brain-management system, developing a distinctive program designed to unlock inner peace and reverse the lack of focus caused by daily stresses in the office, at home, or when searching for Waldo. This fusion of life force and mind focus forms the basis of the studio's classes and consultations. In every class, warm-up maneuvers awaken muscles to prepare for 30?40-minute sessions of breathing, stretching, core practice, and meditation, which also include the studio's signature brain-wave vibration technique?a process that aims to calibrate mental and physical energies. Cooldown exercises ease the body back into quotidian functionality before a 10-minute teatime invites socialization among participants while bolstering pinkie endurance.