"Our brain is designed to realize what we wish, without any minor errors," says Ilchi Lee, the founder of Dahn Yoga. "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 philosophy accessible to all, Lee combined the Eastern concept of dahn?the Korean word for "life force" or "energy"?with his own brain-management system, developing a distinctive program designed to unlock inner peace and reverse the lack of focus caused by daily stresses in the office, at home, or when searching for Waldo. This fusion of life force and mind focus forms the basis of the studio's classes and consultations. In every class, warm-up maneuvers awaken muscles to prepare for 30?40-minute sessions of breathing, stretching, core practice, and meditation, which also include the studio's signature brain-wave vibration technique?a process 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.
During her time as a fashion model, Donna Michelle D'Aurio knew the importance of staying in shape. But, when she became a trained fitness instructor, she quickly learned the importance of being both fit and healthy. With this philosophy in mind, Donna established Bella Fitness as a mobile fitness company in 2006. Since then, the company has grown into a fitness business where a staff of personal trainers, dance instructors, sport coaches, and nutritionists designs customized fitness plans for everyone from kids to senior citizens.
Within the studio, clients can work up a sweat in semi-private Pilates, Barre, Zumba, TRX, and dance cardio classes that reflect Donna’s own group fitness certifications from the Arthritis Foundation, SilverSneakers, PiYo, and YMCA. For younger clients, kids' yoga and Zumba classes are also available. At the other end of the spectrum, personal training sessions provide one-on-one attention as exercisers focus on mastering specific fitness routines or strengthening their levitation abilities. Bella's facility is also equipped with a Korr Reevue breathing test, which determines resting metabolic rates, as well as plenty of space to host training courses on CPR and fitness instruction.
On busy Glendale Boulevard in Los Angeles’ Atwater Village neighborhood sits a yoga studio where the heat is as high as the stretches are deep. Bikram Yoga Silverlake’s sky blue awning and simple store sign marks the spot where hip, young locals go to sweat their way into a higher state of consciousness. With a main room heated to 105 degrees and set to stay around 40 percent humidity, it’s not hard to shed toxins from inside one of the daily classes that run an hour or more. Because of its prime location in fully-gentrified Atwater Village, classes can fill up fast, though getting in requires little more than a yoga mat and a towel. Their popular $10 Saturday classes are by donation only, with proceeds benefitting a local autism charity. Recent improvements to the bare-bones space include new showers and poly-extruding matting on the floor that naturally prevents odor.
Energetic music and excited dancers fill Heartbeat House in Atwater Village throughout the day. The entire wall facing the sidewalk is made up of windows partially covered by sheer curtains – still, with the thumping of feet and inescapable rhythms, you can’t help but look inside to find a well-appointed studio space, open and airy. Depending on the day and time, you might catch an eyeful Zumba, kids’ hip hop dance or the genre-mixing Yoga Booty Ballet. All levels of experience are welcome, and instructors do their best to include everyone and to provide a fun expressive dance class. These non-competitive classes keep a vibrant, upbeat atmosphere, drawing in the progressively hip neighborhood who would like to tone and sculpt without dragging themselves to the gym. Monthly class passes are available, as are cheaper weekly classes, like a seven dollar community yoga that ensures there’s room for everyone.