"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.
Hot Yoga's name is a simple representation of a complex art. There, yogis gather students in warm rooms for 60- to 80-minute stretching sessions that limber up the body, purge toxins from the blood stream, and accelerate the natural healing process. They teach primarily Vinyasa-style yoga, which connects asana through flowing movements supported by deliberate breathing exercises. Beyond classes, the instructors also keep guests stretched and sweltering in private lessons or group yoga parties.
In addition to simple lessons, Hot Yoga's staff also unlocks the art of instruction itself, offering both a 200-hour and 500-hour registered-yoga-teacher certification in accordance with the teaching standards of the Yoga Alliance. These lessons involve both classroom time with senior instructors and personal study, and culminate in a test in which yogis must be able to describe what the bottoms of their feet look like when upside down and backwards.
When Roald Dahl wrote Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, he imagined a much-coveted golden ticket that granted access to myriad wonders and unveiled the inner workings of an entire industry. Adele Fridman, founder of MetaBody, created a real-life version of that ticket with her MetaBody Yoga & Fitness Pass, though it applies to fitness instead of candy. The pass grants access not to a single gym but to classes at a variety of local studios, specializing in everything from yoga to boot camp. With the freedom to move from location to location, students can sample different regimens, instructors, and styles of exercise to cobble together a program that fits their needs and goals. MetaBody's nutritionists supplement class packages by coaching clients in healthy eating, recipe cooking, and speed-reading nutrition-fact labels.
The lack of fixed-plane machines in the weight-training studio may seem unconventional and surprising at first, but the reason for the omission is a simple one: BodySmith Training Gym believes that each client should be paired with a customized workout routine based on the guidance of a personal trainer, rather than one based on waiting in line for the treadmill. The personal trainers—all armed with certifications—work with guests to achieve their fitness goals using kettlebells, free weights, and cardio machines such as the outrun-a-charging-bull machine. Guests can also sign up for a number of group fitness classes, such as yoga, boxing, or boot camps that motivate using military-style discipline and lots of compliments.
Mint Club Spa Retreat's expert Pilates instructors lead core-fortifying, muscle-lengthening workouts in a small group atmosphere. Reformer Pilates fuses the foundational characteristics of mat exercises with the resistance benefits of the reformer apparatus, enabling a more dynamic workout and an increased number of potential exercises. In an intimate group atmosphere, exercisers will employ the resistance powers of the reformer's pulleys, springs, and bratty children for a full-body workout that helps to enhance the body’s control over its own movements. Building long, lean muscles and strengthening the core, Pilates also helps to boost the meat suit's posture, balance, flexibility, and coordination. Check online for updated class schedules; reformer classes are new at Mint's Downtown location and classes will be added in late March and early April.
Get off at the Dupont Circle Metro, walk a few blocks and then up to the fifth floor of a narrow building to stumble – panting – into Yoga District. Offering some of DC’s least expensive yoga classes, the studio is as basic as they come, with spare rooms that put changing stations, bathrooms and workout areas in close proximity. Still, the actual yoga space, while small, is clean, sun-filled and well-stocked with yoga accoutrements, and freelance teachers regularly come in to teach a range of disciplines, from vinyasa and restorative to yin and yogalates. Yoga District has five other studios around the city, each similar in philosophy and teaching methods.