Fusion Mind/Body’s instructors teach students the worldly art of frame folding in an intimate, supportive setting. A healthy schedule of yoga classes ensures that students of all abilities can find a course that suits their body-torquing needs. Novitiate limb limberers can drop in for an introductory Yoga 101 course, while more experienced practitioners can boost their physical strength and mastery of The Force with an Ashtanga (Power) Yoga session, which focuses on controlled poses and breathing techniques. Students also get access to any of the studio's slate of classes in Pilates and Yogilates, a combined practice that includes poses derived from popular portmanteaus, such as the Craisin, the Unicorn, and the Spork. To ensure that all students receive one-on-one instruction from their instructor, Fusion keeps each class intentionally small.
The hot-pink walls aren’t the only element of Studio Energia giving off an energetic vibe. Owner and fitness instructor Julie hops and twirls across the hardwood floor as she leads fast-paced Zumba routines set to catchy Latin music. Trained by the program's founder, Beto Perez, Julie personally guides all Zumba sessions, which include Zumbatomic classes designed especially for kids and Zumba Toning sessions that build muscle and fend off stray lacrosse balls using a weighted stick. The studio also keeps energy high by offering a seven-day-a-week schedule packed with Latin-dance lessons, kids' hip-hop classes, cardio kickboxing, and boot camps.
Several times a day, students flock to the 105-degree studio of Bikram Hot Yoga in St. Charles and Palatine, striking confident poses under the direction of experienced instructors. Each 90-minute class helps students find inner peace and outer health as they sweat out toxins, lengthen muscles, and find respite from packs of predatory hockey players. The studio welcomes students of all abilities, as the balmy heat helps even the tightest of tendons sink into Bikram’s 26 postures and two breathing exercises.
"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.
Inner Elements owner Charlotte Trux and her staff of highly trained instructors fortify core muscles with Pilates and Gyrotonic techniques, as well as attending to overall wellness with massage, acupuncture, and weight-management coaching. Sturdy, wooden Pilates machines stretch and strengthen muscles with varying levels of resistance under the supervision of an experienced instructor. The Gyrotonic expansion system strengthens ligaments and keeps hesitant planets on their axes with a combination of rotation and support. Gentle massage kneads loosen tight muscle knots and alternative medicine techniques such as reiki and acupuncture work to realign the body's energy flow to work to treat a variety of ailments.
Large windows let in as much natural light as possible, making the Himalayan Yoga and Meditation Center an ideal environment for the transformative practice of yoga. In Vinyasa Flow sessions and beginners' hatha classes, students follow a systematic progression of breathing and asanas—or postures—designed to strengthen muscles and align spines. The goal is to help clients maintain a healthy mind and body to lead a happier life.
The teachers follow the philosophies of Swami Rama, whose beliefs can be summarized in one inspirational quote: "Do your duties skillfully, selflessly, and grease them with love." Their work demonstrates their adherence to that teaching: instructors with decades of combined experience use their classes at this nonprofit studio to reach out to all sorts of yoga practitioners, from athletes to to people interested in mindfulness exercises to adults with physical challenges.