"Our brain is designed to realize what we wish, without any minor errors," says Tao Yoga & Tai-Chi founder Ilchi Lee. "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 challenging, yet hopeful, philosophy accessible to all, Lee combined the Eastern concept of chi energy with his own brain-management system, developing a distinctive program that unlocks inner peace and sweeps up brain clutter caused by the daily stress of always having to find Waldo. Warm-up yoga maneuvers awaken muscles before 30–40 minutes of breathing, stretching, core practice, and meditation—including a signature brain-wave vibration technique that aims to calibrate mental and physical energies. Cool-down exercises ease the body back into quotidian functionality before a 10-minute teatime invites socialization among participants while bolstering pinkie endurance.
By blending scientifically developed products with holistic healing techniques, the staff at Amazilian Spa can achieve both effective results and full-body relaxation in each massage, facial, and mani-pedi they perform. Aestheticians draw from a huge arsenal of treatments to nourish skin, from natural herbal serums that fight fine lines to high-tech microdermabrasion procedures that use jets of tiny crystals to slough off the dead skin cells and Teflon coatings that can dull the complexion. Therapists unravel tense muscles with full-body shiatsu, sports, and Swedish massages, while waxing specialists sculpt eyebrows and remove unwanted body hair with expertly executed waxing and tweezing services.
Personal trainer Stephanie Rickert knows first-hand the difficulty of staying in shape amid a hectic lifestyle. At one time a gymnast, dancer, and competitive bodybuilder, Stephanie became a mother at age 27, gaining more than 50 lbs during her pregnancy—weight that she simply couldn't shed after giving birth. She instituted a new battle plan: a combination of rigid exercise—including spin, kickboxing, and weight training—and a personalized nutrition program. Finally, her efforts paid off, and she competed in an amateur bodybuilding contest once again.
Today, Stephanie—along with her own mother, a bodybuilder in her own right—helps others achieve their fitness goals at Destination Fitness, a fully equipped gym set within an open loft in a remodeled 100-year-old barn. Bootcamp sessions combine a variety of exercises to keep workouts fresh, and personal-training sessions customize exercise regimes to suit clients' unique goals. As in Stephanie's original transformation, trainers also provide nutritional guidance to help clients strengthen their weight-loss efforts without being tempted by delicious dumbbells.