Before they stretched beneath the studio's two skylights, the instructors at Bikram Yoga Burr Ridge had to prove themselves to the father of their art. They all attended and graduated from a nine-week intensive program led by Bikram Choudhury himself, emerging as certified teachers who were ready to helm their own heated practice space. They now manage Bikram Yoga Burr Ridge according to the Bikram discipline's specifications: 90-minute classes, a room warmed to 105 degrees, and a carefully ordered sequence of 26 poses and 2 breathing exercises.
These sessions strive to progressively work all areas of the body by passing newly oxygenated blood throughout its systems. The heat, meanwhile, renders muscles more pliable and reveals which of your fellow pupils are actually elaborate ice sculptures. Though the high temperatures take some getting used to, the studio's amenities are otherwise geared toward total comfort: changing rooms, showers, and a bright lobby welcome students. The heating mechanism is also environmentally friendly, conserving energy even as it prompts a cleansing sweat from Bikram practitioners.
Motivating, highly trained staff and spacious facilities complement Charter Fitness's battalion of cardio machines and strength-training equipment. Huge flat-screen TVs motivate gym-goers as they lift weights, stationary bikes, and their reflections in large mirrors. Seasoned personal trainers who all hold certifications or four-year degrees in their specialty guide members through an initial personal-training session, introducing clients to the best equipment for their fitness goals. After workouts, private showers or public water fountains sluice away sweat.
Most of the classes at Small Group Fitness are capped at ten people, which gives the trainers more opportunities to work with clients one-on-one. Adhering to an instructive style of training, they teach clients how to prevent injury as they use equipment in the fitness suite, which is divided into three sections: a field-turf area with TRX-suspension bands and ropes, a hard-floor area with kettlebells and plyometric boxes, and a matted area with free weights and tractor tires once used in Old MacDonald’s cross-training program. In addition to small-group classes, the trainers also schedule one-on-one personal-training sessions and larger boot-camp classes.
Flying High Sports & Rec Center started in a small, converted office space. After over 20 years of business, the family-friendly center now boasts more than 1,000 students and has grown into two facilities that house a wide variety of programs. Inside, the qualified instructors lead gymnastics, martial arts, and dancing for all ages, mentoring tykes as young as 18 months old. In the cheer program, youngsters learn choreography and tumbling moves, and in gymnastics courses, kids learn to execute eye-dazzling flips and to navigate balance beams and the uneven bars, depending on their skill level.
The staff also hosts open-gym sessions, in which two foam pits, a rock well, four trampolines, and an inflatable obstacle course await those looking to burn off some energy or to network with potential lemonade-stand partners.
"Our brain is designed to realize what we wish, without any minor errors," says Dahn Yoga 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. This focus, shared by Body & Brain Holistic Yoga and The Life Yoga, forms the basis of the studio's classes and consultations. 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. Cooldown exercises ease the body back into quotidian functionality before a 10-minute teatime invites socialization among participants while bolstering pinkie endurance.
The purveyors of Oasis wanted to create a space where women could work out together in a pressure-free and rewarding environment. By outfitting the health club with rowers, step mills, and ellipticals, as well as a daycare, spacious locker rooms, and an infrared sauna, they brought that space to fruition. They also stocked it with a team of fitness experts, many with degrees and certifications in the field. That crew fosters a positive attitude while leading classes such as Pilates and Zumba, or personal-training sessions that can prep members for long-distance runs away from donuts. Events such as boot camps and self-defense courses are designed specifically with women in mind, while their nutrition programs round out plans for total fitness.