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.
Laeral Dance Academy works with dancers of all ages and abilities to hone the energy of restless feet into graceful and artistic movements. Inside a naturally lit studio adorned with wall-size mirrors, a coalition of professional instructors—many of whom have been dancing since the age of 3—train students in the fine art of stylishly stamping out floor fires during classes ranging from classical ballet to hip-hop. Ballet classes for students between 2 and 7 will focus on the Melody Bear method, which helps develop concentration and motor skills by integrating fun dance movements with shapes, counting, stories, and music. Tykes can also develop their jazz and tap abilities, finally enabling Morse code communication with downstairs neighbors. In addition to children's ankle workouts, Laeral Dance Academy hosts adult dance and fitness classes, including a calorie-scorching salsa aerobics class.
When Coach Eddie sees someone struggling to complete one of his 60-minute circuit-training sessions, he knows how to help them reach the finish line, because he has been there. A little more than seven years ago, he weighed nearly 300 pounds. He made the decision to change his life, and through pure dedication, he slimmed down to 160 pounds and has since maintained his newly svelte physique. Throughout his journey to fitness, he learned myriad ways to strengthen core muscles, shed weight, and enhance agility and stamina, and he is now determined to share his techniques to help others make similar transformations at Mind Body Total Fitness.
Eddie and his team of certified trainers mix and match those methods to target all the body’s muscle groups during outdoor boot camps for exercisers of all fitness levels. In their coed and women's-only boot camps, they constantly vary the routines to prevent workout burnout. One day, participants might run short sprints, jump rope, and do sit-ups balancing atop exercise balls, and the next, they might pull against resistance bands, do leg lifts, and toss medicine balls to participants suffering from colds. They advocate pairing these high-intensity workouts with well-balanced diets and nutritional supplements.
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 27,000 square feet, Gladiators Gym towers above lesser fitness facilities with an impressive weight room stacked with conventional weights and unconventional equipment. Serious skiers and snowboarders can also take advantage of the gym’s downhill simulation equipment—a revolving carpet that creates a platform for ski and snowboard lessons and recreation. Athletes train with the usual gear, but they can also build their strength and endurance with specialty equipment such as battle ropes, TRX suspension gear, two Austin Legdrive machines, and cones for agility drills. Artificial turf lines the floor to recreate outdoor workouts, which include agility drills and power drills such as tire flipping.
Deborah Douglas, the owner and certified yoga instructor at Yoga Mix Studio, began her yoga journey in 1974, but she wouldn’t begin teaching until much later. In the interim, she achieved a sixth-degree black belt in shorin ryu karate, and began to teach that style until she retired in 2007. But the desire to teach still burned within her, so she became yoga certified and opened her own studio, where she leads Hatha and Raja yoga classes that help students grow both spiritually and physically. Along with Greg Illich, who teaches tai chi classes, she also leads Zumba classes and meditation sessions.