The Academy of Classical Music & Fine Arts takes a holistic approach to its music instruction, giving musically inclined citizens the harmonious keys to a musical mind and body. Founded by gifted siblings Gianeh and Ovanes Arakelyan, both USC graduates and former pupils of world-renowned pianist Daniel Pollack, the academy offers students precise instructions on specific necessities including posture, listening techniques, and the finger dexterity utilized by “Stairway to Heaven”–playing guitar-shop customers the world over.
Yoga Vidya's experienced instructors guide yogis of all skill levels through classes that strengthen and restore bodies and calm bustling brains. Yoga Vidya specializes in Iyengar yoga, a practice that promotes flexibility and incorporates props, poses, and prescription-strength stretching. Scaled to specific ability levels, introductory, intermediate, and invitation-only classes encompass 90 minutes of body bending and utilize natural-rubber yoga mats and handcrafted wooden implements to get the most out of each sarvangasana. Standing poses, twists, and bends awaken sluggish energy glands during the Rise and Shine classes, and ropes, chairs, and organic-cotton blankets support slower-paced position posing in each Gentle class. To keep endorphins firing at a steady flow, the airy studio boasts an all-natural atmosphere buoyed by ample sunlight and grass-fed bamboo floors.
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.
"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.
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.