"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. 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. Cool-down exercises ease the body back into quotidian functionality before a 10-minute teatime invites socialization among participants while bolstering pinkie endurance. Dahn Yoga is also taught at independently owned and operated franchises called Body & Brain Yoga.
Alison Miller, a passionate dancer with a master's degree in performing arts, founded The Ballet Academy in 1981. Ever since, she and her team have led children, teens, and adults through classical-ballet routines based on the teachings at the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet and the Royal Academy. Students can also opt for Stretch and Tone classes to lengthen the muscles.
Since its 1965 founding in Venice Beach, California, Gold's Gym has dotted the globe with more than 600 locations where professional athletes and exercise newbies gather under the umbrella of personal strength. Nearly 3.5 million Gold's members chart and aim for their fitness peaks, perspiring beneath the gaze of certified personal trainers or pedaling beside peers at cycling sessions. In a diverse lineup of group classes, patrons strengthen cores with Pilates, finger-paint pictures of ninjas in martial arts, and amp up heart rates along to the pulsating soundtracks of Les Mills routines. Many Gold's Gym locations stockpile futuristic amenities, such as cardio machines with individual iPod docks and televisions that help keep patrons motivated.
Bearing the titles of Master of Photography and Photographic Craftsman from Professional Photographers of America, David and Ally McKay embody the keen vision and aesthetic prowess that separated good photographers from great ones. They share these skills during classes at McKay Photography Academy, where they train eyes, fingers, and imaginations to work in tandem as a snapshooting dream machine. Their classes help aspiring photographers progress from neophytes to seasoned pros; the Beginning Digital Photography course teaches students to harness the intricacies of their instruments, and the Pro Academy offers inside tips on how to successfully snap wedding portraits, pose recent grads, or tease out candid emotions. When not busy instructing the next generation of shutterbugs, David and Ally also devise photo safaris, which send small teams of photographers to capture shots of famed landmarks including San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge; the Lincoln Memorial of Washington, DC; or Yosemite's 60-foot statue of Yogi Bear.
The masterminds behind Authentic Bartending School of Maryland dedicate their resources to creating a new generation of mixologists by offering comprehensive training programs and job-placement services. Emphasizing background knowledge and practical skills, the instructors who lead he hands-on courses aim to teach attendees a slew of drink-slinging techniques, including how to mix basic cocktails, craft fruit garnishes, and make a cash register spell "hello" when turned upside down. During the nationally recognized TIPS training, they'll show students how to responsibly serve patrons and defuse risky situations with intoxicated customers. The folks in job-placement services then help graduates seek out potential openings by networking with alumni and bribing senators to keep prohibition off the books.
The chefs at Go Cook Vegan value healthy eating that is also healthy for the environment. As the name implies, they craft menus that are entirely vegetarian and vegan, and they use pesticide-free, organic produce sourced from local farmers' markets and co-ops to do it. Their menu includes nutrient-packed wraps, salads, appetizers, and small plates, but they accommodate custom requests as well, whipping up vegetarian and vegan dishes to suit all palates.
However, the chefs don't confine themselves to the kitchen: They also travel throughout Landover and Columbia, Maryland, to lead custom, small-group cooking classes. The sessions bring friends together while introducing them to an array of vegan and vegetarian cooking techniques. Sessions might focus on growing vegetables or cooking vegan or gluten-free meals, or introduce kids to fun and simple cooking techniques beyond making Play-doh noodles. Each class ends with a farm-to-table gourmet meal, during which guests are welcome to sips of complimentary wine and mimosas.