At each of its 31 area locations, the YMCA of Greater Houston pursues a mission to bring health, wellness, and personal growth to communities. Kids leap into activities ranging from swim lessons and youth sports to a teen Youth & Government program that stirs up confidence and leadership abilities in students, preparing them for mudslinging student-council campaigns.
Zumba, ballroom dance, and Les Mills group exercise classes shake up adult workout routines, as complimentary childcare frees up parents to pursue fitness goals. Meanwhile, adult sport leagues such as basketball and racquetball result in friendly competition and hyper-literate team names inspired by obscure philosophers.
At Paint Until You Faint, students are introduced to the diverse world of art creation with recreation firmly in mind. Artists bring a favorite beverage to class, and sip on it continually while a 1950s-style jukebox plays tunes in the background and a professional instructor guides them through recreating a painting step by step. Students of all skill levels are welcome to join for the camaraderie while forging their own image on the canvas.
What began as a small studio with five enthusiastic dance students has transformed into a full-fledged company that's educated thousands and won multiple awards along the way—including a Certificate of Congressional Recognition. Today, Strictly Street Salsa has a whole team of instructors that has danced its way across the likes of Cuba, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Spain, and Rome and is ready to introduce students to new cultures through the art of dance. The studio offers classes for beginner, intermediate, and advanced dancers in both salsa and tango and hosts dance workshops that blend Latin dance with various cultural elements, including African movement, gypsy music, and good old-fashioned American screaming.
Young Chefs Academy provides a fun, safe, and motivating environment for kids to become acquainted with the art of food and food presentation. Engaging chef instructors instill lessons of kitchen etiquette and safety in youngsters growing up in a world full of laser can openers and sharp pasta rakes, giving children a capable handle on their surroundings as they journey into the land of food. Classes in Sugarland and Houston educate a variety of age groups, with specially catered classes for kindercooks and junior chefs, and combine nutritional meals with basic food-prep skills that teach students how to correctly follow a recipe to edible fruition. Senior chefs are offered advanced classes that dig deeper into kitchen secrets and hone specific skills and techniques to expand the parameters of cooking creativity.
No man is an island, but you can still develop muscles that are hard as rock. The personal trainers at One2One Training Center have helped everyone from professional athletes to body builders get into the best shape of their lives. Anyone who goes through One2One's fitness program—natural athlete or otherwise—must be willing to admit the following: "I can't do it all by myself." With a dedicated staff of trainers so close at hand, that's not such a bad thing. Trainers work with individual clients to develop realistic fitness goals, then follow through with the help of advanced exercise equipment at one of three local facilities.
Dahn Yoga integrates Korean Taoist philosophies and holistic Korean Oriental medicine into a form of yoga that strives to forge stronger connections between mind and body. The certified instructors at Dahn Yoga adhere to these ancient practices and help students of all ages and fitness levels develop core strength, which, according to Dahn philosophy, is the basis of physical, mental, and spiritual health. Through classes, private lessons, and workshops, students learn to link postures with breath control, ultimately developing greater bodily awareness. Besides improving flexibility, strength, and posture, instructors also emphasize the brain's role in overall well-being. They lead brain exercises that challenge and sharpen the mind to develop more productive habits and levitate pennies out of mall fountains.
Dahn Yoga's founder, Ilchi Lee, also built a comprehensive brain-development program—called Brain Education—from the principles upon which Dahn Yoga is founded. Combining physical, emotional, and cognitive exercises with guided imagery and games, Dahn Yoga's instructors develop emotional control, improve communication between the brain's hemispheres, and inspire guests take decisive action. This program has five progressive steps that can be applied to a dedicated yoga practice as well as everyday life.