At Almaden Yoga, owners Ron Victor and Anuja Chaudhri work alongside a team of instructors to reach out to those who have always wanted to practice yoga but never thought they could. Targeting the mind and body, their classes ensure that everyone, from beginning pupils to experts to expectant mothers, can find a course that suits their needs.
Aside from a way to stay in shape and lengthen limbs, the instructors see yoga as a philosophy for navigating the world. They believe that a combination of postures, focused breathing, and meditation is a method for discovering calmness in any uncomfortable situation, be it an all-night study session or a postapocalyptic decade trapped in a fallout shelter. Their life-changing approach has extended to charity events, such as a sun-salutation event to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and their positive influence on health and mental wellness made them a Talk of the Town winner in 2012.
In 1976, educator, musician, and kinesiologist Robin Wes longed for a children's gym that prioritized personal growth over competition. Unveiled at a time when physical-education classes pushed students to focus almost exclusively on winning, Robin's program was swiftly adopted and is now used in more than 300 Little Gyms worldwide. Robin still pens original music to accompany lessons, which engage whippersnappers aged 4 months to 12 years with gymnastics, dance, karate, and parent and child activities.
Each of The Little Gym's classes introduces simple movements that sharpen motor skills and set brains whirring, allowing kids to progress at their own pace until they can finally build a computer out of macaroni and glitter. Staff members strive to build a base for lifelong social skills and self-assurance with each exercise, including activities rooted purely in fun, such as summer camps or birthday parties, which helped The Little Gym to earn title of #1 Birthday Chain in Parents Magazine.
As CEO and chief instructor of Condition and Competition Kickboxing, Ed Carpio draws from a victory-studded background of competitive fighting. Though he came to the art of Chinese kickboxing (also called sanshou) at 21, later than many greats, he rose through successive bouts to become a national lightweight champion. Ed then turned to training others with his expertise, remaining devoted to his sanshou students throughout his sporadic returns to the ring, a study in judo, and a government summons to deflect an impending asteroid.
CCK preaches acceptance and positivity through programs for all ages, from toddlers to adults. Its gym has been highlighted on one of KRON 4's "Best of The Bay" segments for casting a familial air over martial-arts learning. Bordered by camouflage-painted walls, guests can launch strikes at bags, pads, and partners during kickboxing courses, or focus on classical conditioning with weights and fitness machinery.
The staff at UGMX Development Studios teaches children to explore their creativity through lessons in guitar, piano, drums, and beat making, and empowers students to record their own music at an onsite recording studio. Other lessons introduce students to the business side of the music or fashion industry, fostering an understanding of marketing and networking.
After forming the San Jose Glass Artist Alliance, area artists took their creative passion one step further with the Art Glass Center of San Jose, a refracted haven where they could share their individual expertise with students. Inside the spacious, brightly lit confines, the artists instruct fledgling glassworkers on how to craft distinct pieces in the form of picture frames, coasters, and sun catchers. Following classes, students are encouraged to stay for open lab time, where they can continue working on projects while wearing their old 7th-grade-science lab coats.
The nonprofit Bay Area Glass Institute supports glass arts in its community by providing affordable studio space for artists, holding events and exhibits of local work, and teaching basic classes. Students create delicate glass art using cold techniques or acquire the basics of glass blowing as they rotate molten glass blobs at 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit to make terrariums, glass flowers, or space helmets for cats. A store on the premises sells elegant and innovative work by the local glass artists affiliated with the institute.