Unyong Kim regards every event in her life as an influence that has molded her teaching model, from conquering the fear of public speaking to crossing the finish line at the Marine Corps Marathon. She pours all her wisdom and experience into her yoga classes, which are designed to promote relaxation for her students. She tries to teach yoga as a state of mind, rather than a series of postures, packaging it as a meditative practice for personal benefit and an attitude that can inform life off the mat.
The core of Unyong's training still takes place in the classroom, though. She has a series designed to promote a calm state of mind, a series to challenge the body, and a series built around family-style games such as horseshoes, where dad is the pole and little Billy is the horseshoe.
"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.
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 and use more than 150 pieces of cardio equipment, attend over 100 different classes, and play on the racketball court, basketball court and in the pool. 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. Members also have access to Kids Care and even tanning booths.
At East Meets West Yoga Center, a group of trained instructors guide both adults and kids on a path toward personal self-discovery. Working under the philosophy that all individuals are unique and yoga is not a one-size fits all activity, teachers aim to honor their students’ differences and cater classes to their needs. Sessions draw on Hatha, Vinyasa, and Kundalini techniques and the schedule includes specialized sessions for seniors, moms-to-be, and children.
Voted the top local yoga studio by Richmond Magazine, Yoga Source offers around 50 classes a week ranging from prenatal programs to weekend workshops. Certified instructors promote the proper postures and inhalation execution necessary to improve pliancy and increase circulation among waning subscribers. Buy a vowel with tongue-twisting techniques like Iyengar and Vinyasa, designed to help each shape-shifter experience the transformative power of yoga, while drop-in classes allow for increased flexibility.
Led by Heather Dombrovskiy, the certified yoga instructors of Healthy Life Yoga guide students of all fitness levels through a variety of classes. Starting with sunrise yoga, the instructors pack the schedule with their flexibility-increasing classes that include yin yoga, a slow class that moves into deeper stretches in the lower backs and hips, prenatal yoga, and traditional Hatha yoga classes that start with foundation-building beginner classes and move to more advanced, fast-paced classes.