A pioneer of brain education and president of the Korean Institute of Brain Sciences, Ilchi Lee folded his studies into the design of his own Dahn Yoga, equal parts traditional asana and neuroscience research. A typical session begins with a simple tapping of the lower abdomen to gather chi energy that would otherwise get absorbed by Bagel Bites swallowed whole. Sessions launch into an exercise routine that combines aspects of yoga and tai chi to improve flexibility, strength, and balance. Next, yogis cool down and focus energy during an active form of meditation called Brain Wave Vibration, the studio's specialty, that harnesses flowing movements in an attempt to align minds and bodies. After the physical segment, workouts shift into a meditative portion that infuses cardiovascular systems with a stream of purifying oxygen through deep breathing.
Nancy Mahon, founder of Sanctuary Yoga Studios, was raised by a family of Buddhist teachers. Her family led her down a meditative path throughout her teenage years, which laid a foundation for a lifetime of studying zen, as well as other cultures and religions. She was also inspired to pursue yoga with an inquiry-based approach to cultivate awareness and understanding. While she instructs, she strives to elicit the same passion from her students. She incorporates classic poses, breathing techniques, and meditations to coax bodies and minds into harmony without resorting to bribery.
Inside her serene studio, sunlight and gentle breezes waft through the room as seasoned instructors lead hatha- and Vinyasa-based classes. Students of any skill level can deepen their practice through traditional yoga, or target problem areas and ailments during therapeutic and stretching sessions or classes focused on abs and glutes. When they aren't teaching regular classes, the yogis inculcate novice instructors with their teacher-training programs recognized by the Yoga Alliance.
The experienced dance instructors at Steeltoes Dance Studios have been teaching little ones to gracefully twirl and leap across the dance floor for 29 years. They strive to boost each student’s self-image as they dole out personal attention and technique corrections in their studio’s friendly, noncompetitive environment. Their small-group classes range from vocal to ballet and tap to hip-hop, and are divided by age into junior, teen, and adult classes. During hip-hop sessions, the staff teaches current moves from modern stars such as Usher, Beyoncé, Selena Gomez, and Bing Crosby. They’ve rounded out their class roster with musical theater and pre-school creative dance and interpretive-dance classes, which help kids express themselves.
FIT4MOM helps women stay in shape throughout their pregnancies and into motherhood. The Fit4Baby class strengthens muscles while reducing traditional pregnancy aches and pains. Stroller Strides welcomes moms to push their babies in buggies while they power walk and strength train, a much more effective workout than repeatedly lifting a diaper bag full of bricks. FIT4MOM’s instructors also lead barre-inspired classes and 5K training.
Lead by certified kickboxing instructor, holistic health coach, and owner, Chrissy Finley, Evolution Kickboxing works out full physiques with challenging 60-minute no-contact kickboxing classes designed for beginners as well as advanced students. During those fun-focused classes that burn up to 850 calories per session, Finley and her team inspire groups to pummel heavy bags, shadowbox, practice calisthenics, and master boxing basics and techniques. They also offer tae kwon do, tang soo do, and wing chun kung fu martial-arts classes, which focus on fitness as well as self-discipline, respect, and self-defense.
Renzo Gracie Rockland's head teacher, Omar Jimenez, has more than a decade of experience leading students and instructors in the art of self-defense and fitness, and his spacious academy has turned out champions on the jiu-jitsu fighting circuit. Each mixed-martial-arts class teaches students a variety of full-contact fighting techniques and skills, combining strategies from muay thai, kickboxing, and Brazilian jiu-jitsu.