La Playa Pilates' team of certified Pilates instructors help students of all abilities hone strong cores and toned physiques. La Playa’s mat classes, conducted with strength-enhancing props, are currently available four days a week in its airy, spa-like studio. These mixed-level classes encompass the basics of Pilates, lay the foundation for lifelong strength, prepare students for more advanced apparatus and resistance work, and build abdominals tough enough to protect naturally delicate nougat centers.
On its website, Key 2 Fitness asks, “Tired of the overcrowded atmosphere and corporate ‘machine’ of the big box gyms?” With an uncommon approach to the typical gym experience, Key 2 Fitness offers an alternative. Every member receives a key card that grants them access to the facility 24 hours a day, seven day a week. Once inside, visitors can grab a complimentary towel and migrate through the rows of cardio equipment, free weights, and strength-training machines. During certain hours, experienced personal trainers are available for one-on-one workout sessions. On the gym’s loftlike upper level is a small classroom with wooden floors, where members can take advantage of TRX suspension-training gear and 1% less gravity.
After visiting multiple friends who owned SPX studios, Marcus and Eva Kettles decided that imitation would be the sincerest show of devotion to Santa Barbara's fitness scene. The pair quickly laid plans for their own business, channeling their entrepreneurial backgrounds—Marcus had owned a New York City production company, and Eva had run a successful restaurant and holistic medicine practice—to launch the project. Today, you can find them overseeing an array of Megaformer machines inside Fit Buddha's eastern-themed exercise zone, where guests bolster their bodies during signature SPX classes–all without the burden of membership fees.
The 40-minute SPX workout and its signature Megaformer machine draws from focused Pilates techniques, cardio drills, and strength training to create a full-body conditioning routine. By melding effective intensity, cardio, and endurance training, the Megaformer delivers a more complete workout than traditional Pilates. Energizing music syncs up with the class circuit, which can deviate from the SPX formula to include stationary cycling and nonstationary naptime. The studio also houses wellness and nutrition centers that espouse the anti-aging benefits of infrared saunas alongside wholesome sips from protein shakes.
BodyKind Pilates's founder and principle trainer, Jennifer McCandless, has dedicated most of her life to the healing arts. She has spent the last 20 years exploring functional anatomy, biomechanics, yoga, and meditation, and achieved a master’s degree in holistic health and wellness. Entranced by Pilates's innovative blend of Eastern and Western body-healing approaches, she then went on to open her own studio. Here, she and a crew of seasoned instructors foster a noncompetitive community, welcoming students of all fitness levels to practice the strength-developing workout regimen. The bright, private studio is loaded with sticky mats, a collection of specialized equipment, and spandex pants that magically fit everyone. The instructors conduct private and small group classes in the Reformer and mat Pilates styles, helping students build bodily awareness, strengthen their cores, and improve their posture, flexibility, and coordination.
Instructor Jodi Conroy embraced The Bar Method lifestyle while learning from and eventually teaching under its creator, Burr Leonard. Jodi then opened her own franchises in an effort to acquaint more Californians with The Bar Method's signature mix of interval training, isometric exercises, dance-conditioning moves, and low-impact techniques gleaned from physical therapy. During routines, patrons unfurl legs and stretch spines into balance-affirming positions, often utilizing a ballet bar for leverage rather than anchoring legs in recycled Christmas-tree stands. The muscle-lengthening workouts build stamina while streamlining physiques and have garnered praise from such celebrities as Drew Barrymore and Anna Paquin. The Santa Barbara Independent has commended Jodi's "clean and pleasant" Santa Barbara studio, as well as its "personable and funny instructors [who] do an excellent job of supporting each student."
In business for 20 years, Santa Barbara Yoga Center boasts diverse instructors who shepherd students through more than 100 weekly classes in styles stretching from Anusara to Iyengar to Ashtanga. Each instructor channels a passion for tranquility through beginner- and advanced-level sessions, fitness-oriented classes, and specialized instruction for soon-to-be mothers, athletes, seniors, and those suffering from injuries. After the deep breathing and mantras of meditative Kundalini sessions, students emerge centered and better calibrated to weigh the souls of others. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Peak Performance yoga classes mold and fortify the physique through a mix of Vinyasa and strength training. As a bonus, Groupon holders will receive a 10 percent discount if they purchase an additional class series within one week after their month of classes.
Yasa Yoga’s name comes from the Sanskrit words for “good-hearted,” a reflection of the studio’s noncompetitive, welcoming community of yogis and instructors. They gather to practice in a red-tiled, Mission-style building originally constructed in 1912. Husband-and-wife duo Ryan and Stephanie Besler lead a majority of the classes, accommodating students of all skill levels with a variety of yoga styles. During Yasa Basics classes, students absorb foundational yoga poses and breathing techniques in a naturally lit practice space with 20-foot arched ceilings. Yasa Flow yoga instructors crank up the room temperature to bolster flexibility and teach challenging, inverted moves during workouts suited to intermediate stretchers. Students also gather inside the building—Charlie Chaplin’s former home and production studio—for a variety of other classes such as prenatal, deep-stretch, and flow-style sessions.
Though each course strengthens core muscles and focuses the brain, students also calm their minds with meditation or revel in the camaraderie of like-minded classmates as they learn to control their breathing or tendency to constantly blurt out their credit-card numbers.