When tragedy hit Troy Cox, he sought solace on an island off the Florida Keys. When he returned home, he discovered that his need for mental and physical calm had not subsided. So he worked out his angst in the gym—a pursuit that led to a career as a personal trainer. In addition to helping people lose weight and enhance athletic performance, he also studied stress reduction and homeostasis training. Despite this experience, he didn't ever feel total tranquility until he studied with meditation teacher Diane Ross and yoga masters such as Bikram, Shiva Rae, and Sean Corn. He also received mantra initiation from Amma and completed four years of Amrit yoga teacher training.
Now a certified Yoga Alliance and Yoga Fit instructor, Troy's specialty is yoga Nidra—a guided relaxation technique that helps participants subdue stress by twisting their brains into the lotus position. As owner of Sun Salute Yoga, Troy helms a staff of instructors who strive for safety in every class. While soft floors take pressure off joints and spines—and target abdominal muscles—the nonheated studio prevents the air from becoming unnecessarily stuffy.
The instructors at Rado's Fitness, including the titular Rado himself, lead students through challenging Pilates and spin classes within their fully stocked studio. They use the core-tightening exercises of Pilates and the high-cardio, low-impact nature of spinning to help students of all levels build strength, flexibility, and confidence.
Situated only two blocks from historic Dana Point Harbor, Reform Pilates Studio reverberates the port's peaceful vibe with its signature, stretch-centric coursework. Group equipment classes stem from basic Pilates methods, which coalesce controlled breathing and fluid movements to fortify the core and prepare for a basic synchronized-swimming routine. The built-in resistance of the studio's Stott Pilates reformers increases intensity as well as range of motion, putting emphasis on the outer limbs that mat-bound practice often fails to incorporate.
Students of all abilities are welcome at Yoga Bungalow, whose instructors emphasize not only the physical aspects of yoga but strive to help yogis also reap the mental benefits. Whether building muscle in intermediate classes or mastering the basic postures in a beginner-friendly stretch session, students will learn how to link deep breaths with their movement, syncing together their minds and bodies.
Co-founders Tricia Ashley and Michelly Young can both remember the moment they fell in love with yoga. Tricia’s happened when she stepped into a Bikram yoga class and remerged 90 minutes later sweaty, tired, and ultimately inspired to dedicate her life to the transformative practice. Michelly, a lifelong dancer and Zumba enthusiast, turned to yoga whenever her MBA program became stressful, and after graduating, she combined her degree and her passion by opening her own studio. Now they find fulfillment everyday helping students discover their best selves and achieve more than they thought was possible.
Together, Tricia and Michelly have created a community that speaks to all their interests with a full list of classes. Their signature hot yoga class is reminiscent of Bikram yoga, but is offered in 60-, 75-, or 90-minute sessions. SolFire also uses radiant heat panels to evenly distribute heat from floor to ceiling. As a result, the air distribution is easier to handle for those with allergies or sensitivities to pollen and dust. Alternatively, Heart and Sol yin yoga offers students a calm environment to stretch and unwind, while Zumba classes set to high-energy music inspire students to dance out their stress, cares, and any sand still stuck from last summer.
Like a blacksmith at the anvil, the trainers at Extreme Pilates temper cores against the Reformer. Over the course of one hour, students leverage their own body weight on a system of ropes and pulleys to sculpt bodies with long, lean muscles. The workouts target abs to help students improve posture, straighten alignment, and protect their delicate caramel centers. After sweat sessions, patrons may take advantage of the spa-like facilities, which include showers and a steam room. An onsite nutritionist and massage therapist further foster relaxation and wellness, and the daycare staff preserves parents' sanity.