When the climbers of Planet Granite say that community anchors everything they do, they have a history of outreach to back it up. After Castle Rock State Park appeared on California’s closure list, Planet Granite’s team quickly organized a fundraiser to save the sanctuary. They pledged $10,000 in matching funds, threw an auction, scheduled guest speakers, and obtained support from companies such as REI. In one night, they raised $20,725.
This kind of response has typified Planet Granite’s team since opening its first facility in 1994. One of the first climbing gyms in the country, Planet Granite has expanded to three gyms in Belmont, San Francisco, and Sunnyvale. The diverse array of climbing resources at each location led Popsugar to name the gym conglomerate one of the top five in San Francisco in 2011. At the Sunnyvale location, members scale 25,000 square feet of climbable surfaces that ascend from low bouldering terrains to 60-foot walls.
In keeping with their commitment to community, the staff tailors instruction and climbing routes to every ability level and affinity for hand sweatiness. They also supervise each gyms’ fully equipped fitness centers, ranging from CrossFit to yoga, which provides a peaceful counterbalance to the full-body workout of rock climbing.
Pump It Up's indoor inflatable arenas launch socked striplings into the air with a plethora of kid-friendly bounce pads. Staffers supervise fun-filled visits, during which adult counterparts leap around with their kids through gargantuan bounce houses, skip down air-filled slides, and slither like snakes covered in bacon grease through an inflated obstacle course.
The colorful venue also hosts custom birthday parties and private team parties, each themed to please the partygoers in question. These soirees immerse children in a schedule of interactive activities befitting a pirate or a superhero while melting off youthful energy faster than ice cubes thrown into a running DVD player. The birthday boy or girl even gets to blow out the candles on their cake seated in their blow-up throne. Occasionally, the staffers switch off the lights, arming the roomful of players with glow sticks and bracelets as they navigate the air-cushioned obstaclescape. Relying on the staffers' vigilant, watchful eyes, guardians can rest assured that their charges will stay safe, and each piece of the inflatable playground is held to the floor and ceiling by a complex series of anchors installed according to strict safety standards.
At Wat Po Thai Spa, a 2010 nominee for Best Day Spa by Best of LA, technicians bolster well-being with services that range from traditional Thai massage to skincare. The house-specialty Thai Combo fuses Thai massage, Swedish massage, and reflexology into an international amalgamation of relaxation similar to naptime at the UN. Thai massage harnesses compression, stretching, and rocking techniques to improve circulation of vital energy along the body's pathways, and Swedish massage encompasses gentle strokes such as gliding, kneading, and stretching to increase oxygen flow in the blood and forge full-body tension relief. Patrons walk away from massage sessions with relieved stress, allayed aches, increased internal alignment, and enough flexibility to fold bodies into an empty Pringles can at the first sign of danger.
Prajna Yoga & Healing Arts founder Yiwen's goal was to create an inclusive environment where students could find holistic balance in their lives through physical activity and meditative practice. To realize this goal, the studio's instructors teach an eclectic assortment of yoga styles that accommodate students of all skill levels. Meditative but strong and athletic sessions test students? physicality with dynamically flowing sequences of hard-to-hold poses that aim to bolster stamina. Perfect for students with limited mobility or recovering from an injury, restorative-yoga classes emphasize deep, mindful stretching and can incorporate props such as blocks or straps to help students safely hold postures. Combining the salutary effects of rhythmic yoga poses, the studio's Prajna Vinyasa flow yoga sessions accompany a class focused on centering stretches with a unique style of sequencing, improving strength and flexibility.
After purchasing Carlmont Nursery in 1962 with his personal inventory of more than 8,000 plants as collateral, owner Bob Tyler tripled the facility's physical size and has since established the nursery as one of the Bay Area’s premier sources for japanese maple and bamboo. Fast-forward to the present and Tyler's Carlmont Nursery has become a peaceful oasis filled with an extensive selection of flora, gardening supplies, and decorative items, crisscrossed by gravel paths that meander past a waterfall and along a winding creek. Customers benefit from garden consultations and design services, and the nursery’s skilled technicians can install plants, lighting, and hardscapes to enhance the beauty of home gardens. Nursery emissaries can also put in water features to imitate babbling brooks or gargling humans.
Allison Gonzalez's 20-year career as a classical ballerina led her to France, Italy, New York, New Jersey, and, finally, New Orleans, where she served as director of the New Orleans Ballet Ensemble. In that capacity, she implemented Pilates mat classes as a form of core training for the dancers and quickly developed a passion for the exercise regimen. She headed to the Pilates Studio of New York to study under Romana Kryzanowska, a dedicated student of the fitness method's creator, Joseph Pilates. She acquired her 600-hour teaching certification and set out to share Pilates with others at Evolve Classical Pilates. In addition to Allison's notable Pilates r?sum?, the studio boasts dozens of certified teachers of gyrotonic exercise, including one who teaches Pilates classes in Japanese.