At Initial TKD Martial Arts, Ms. Ke and Mr. D.—third-degree black-belt instructors and winners of the 2009 Illinois State Championship in Forms—combine 26 years of experience to foster strength and increased self-confidence in students aged 4 and older through tae kwon do practices. The duo operates under the philosophy that students flourish best in an atmosphere without pressure, and in order to foster a stress-free environment, the instructors personalize lessons to fit individual pupils’ needs. Natural light bathes the hardwood floors within the studio, and an area dedicated to viewers allows parents or guardians to watch their child, spouse, or ambitious pet kangaroo ascend through the dojo’s colored-belt system.
True Health Studio liquidates excess fat with intense, back-to-basics classes that focus on intentional movements and no-nonsense techniques. Students tone silhouettes and torch calories in the popular KettleBell BootKamp classes, led by certified Russian Kettlebell instructor Steve Bradford, who teaches moves used by professional athletes. Zumba helps students shed pounds with hip-shaking dance moves, and Ludus boot camps inspire muscles to grow into bigger muscles with unconventional tools such as ropes, hammers, and tires. Classes stay comfortable with no more than 10 students, giving instructors time to work with each participant, modify routines for customized workouts, and survey the class on tortoise-drawn carriages.
Anu Buzruk learned Hatha yoga at the Sree Swamy Vivekananda Centre of Teacher Education in India, taught the style in India for six years, and then moved to Chicago and completed Lotus Yoga Center’s 200-hour training course. Yet, even with all of her training, she works to continually improve her teaching at Yoganubhav Studio by regularly scheduling feedback sessions with her students and their often neglected mats. Since starting her career, she has taught Hatha yoga to more than 400 students, and she employs their feedback to tailor her classes to their needs. Through this personalization of her classes, many students have reported her Hatha yoga classes have helped to increase their flexibility and alleviate issues such as anxiety, digestive difficulty, and menstrual disorders.
At Bikram Yoga Aurora, certified instructors lead groups through Bikram Yoga’s various postures inside a balmy, but welcoming studio. Both beginners and experienced practitioners stretch, bend, and balance side-by-side, all while controlling their huffs and puffs with Bikram's signature breathing exercises. The studio itself plays a major role during every session with the elevated temperatures leading to a number of potential benefits. This heat can improve circulation, make muscles more flexible, and even flush toxins from the body through sweating instead of taking plunger to your ear.
Shihan Hercle Brown, a sixth-degree black belt with more than 30 years of martial-arts experience, teaches every class at Brown's DragonFire Martial Arts. Centering on shorinji-ryu karate—an authentic style with roots in Okinawa—classes focus on mental and physical strength for martial arts and self-defense. Brown leads classes for all ages, striving to shape students with better focus, discipline, confidence, and balance. Programs also involve weapons training and sparring.
Former San Francisco 49er Anthony Parker knows exactly what it takes to compete and train at the highest level. That’s the experience he brings to his results-driven boot-camp classes. Participants reach new fitness goals during classes that blend NFL-style conditioning drills with activities such as kickboxing, circuit training, dance, and fitness games.