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Smiling terra-cotta statues, forever posing, and potted orchids caught in a heliotropic stretch mirror the stillness and intensity inherent in Yoga at Cindy's challenging sessions. Skilled yogis guide groups of fewer than 30 students through hot-yoga classes, sweating out toxins and loose change caught in pores in the 98-degree rooms. Practitioners of all skill levels bend their way through a variety of poses in the 60- and 90-minute classes as the heat helps to keep muscles malleable, improve blood flow, and promote detoxification. Classes include heated Vinyasa-flow sessions that focus on the synchronization of breath and movement, more vigorous power-flow courses that tone muscles, and specially designed classes for recent mothers and mothers-to-be. In between classes, scores of scrubsters clean the studio daily, and deep clean it every other week to avoid the notoriously judgmental eye of the full and half moons.
500 Lawrence Expy. , Suite H
Upon winning the California League championship in 2010, the Giants became the first team in league history to win four championships in a six-year span—an impressive feat considering the league has been around for more than half a century. Despite such the momentous achievement, it was practically just another blasé milestone for the Giants, who’ve won a total of six CL titles since 1988, when they first affiliated themselves with the majors’ own commanding Giants. During that time, the Class-A club has served as an incubator for more than 150 big-league players, all the while maintaining a tradition of community service through partnerships with local schools and youth sports programs that keep kids off the city’s immaculate lawns. The Giants have also instituted a number of rituals at Municipal Stadium, such as the “Beer Batter,” in which vendors throughout the entire stadium cuts the price of beer in half for 15 minutes every time an appointed hitter on the opposing team—known as the Beer Batter—strikes out.
588 E Alma Ave.
Everyone on Bikram Yoga's team of instructors has a conversion story. Some, such as Andi Martin, figured out how to rein in rampant chronic pain practicing the 26 asanas, while others weaned themselves off medication they had been taking for years. This enthusiasm infuses the expansive yoga studio with a peaceful energy that has drawn a community of 20,000 members.
During 90-minute sessions, up to 90 students flow through 26 postures taught by Bikram Choudhury–certified instructors, stretching muscles in the heated room. Fresh air circulates within the 2,500-square-foot studio as students practice deep breathing and tone cores while sweating out the toxins responsible for making them feel sluggish or swear at the mailman. Rented mats and towels unfurl along the length of the odorless, moisture-resistant Flotex flooring, and out in the lobby guests relax in various bamboo-bedecked nooks that encourage socialization. Parents can drop off children at the kid-watching room before cartwheeling into a class or taking in a relaxing massage.
5289 Prospect Road
Inside, Fire Works Ceramics’ studio looks more like a cozy cottage than a storefront, its shelves of blank ceramics and hardwood tables awash in sunlight as they wait to be painted at handsome kitchen tables. Visiting artists take their pick of blank mugs, dishes, vases, and figurines, all poured in-house rather than sourced from archaeologists’ garage sales. After decking out their chosen piece in as many colors as they like, guests surrender them to staff to receive a coating of glaze and a trip into the kiln. In addition to walk-in sessions, the studio can also host birthdays, bridal showers, and butterfingers’ support groups.
483 Hope St.
Surrounded by craggy peaks, three men in bright-red helmets stand in the midst of wilderness, surveying the mountains around them as their group of hikers break for a snack on the rocky ground. This interface with the majesty of nature is all in a day's work for this trio of adventurers—Paul Mangasarian and Jakob and Daniel Laggner. Still, their passion for open-air exploration grows with each expedition they lead. Paul, Jakob, and Daniel cofounded Treks and Tracks with the dream of orchestrating excursions into nature that combine ancient means of travel—such as sailing, horseback riding, and hitchhiking on a centaur—with modern sports ranging from surfing to rock climbing. Though they focus on introducing novice outdoorsfolk to unspoiled wilderness around the world, Treks and Tracks’ cofounders also strive to leave the awe-inspiring surroundings they visit as pristine as they found them by rigorously upholding practices of environmental stewardship on each expedition.
15000 Skyline Blvd.
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