Lavender walls evoke a tranquil dusk sky as students and yogis make the transition through the ancient poses of the Hatha, Ashtanga, and Bikram traditions. Here, experienced teachers guide groups toward states of intense focus and increased physical fitness with a series of stretches, bends, and deep-breathing exercises. An emphasis on safety abounds as the instructors help students align their bodies properly, and padded, Zebra floor coverings absorb joint pressure that would otherwise build up in knees and backs until it took over bodies and forced them to be spokespersons for aspirin.
The schedule of classes meets students of all skill levels where they live. Easy-going Vinyasa classes weave poses and breaths into a graceful, dance-like sequence, and more demanding Bikram sessions explore 26 classical poses in a 95-degree room, which helps loosen muscles and oust pent-up toxins. After class, students retire to an ADA–compliant changing room, where they can bask in showers and relax like a kitten reclining on a pillow made of sunbeams.
The Quad Fit Mall takes its name from that portion of college campuses known to draw students to play frisbee, engage in philosophical debate, or pretend to do things on the off-chance there's a student-magazine photographer around. The Quad's students, though, find their sense of community in the mutual pursuit of fitness. The gym houses plenty of strength-training and cardio equipment, but most of the action tends to happen in its specialty classes. In addition to Absolute Barre classes, the club has group workouts that include boxing in Concrete classes, a combination of lifting and gymnastics in CrossFit classes, and cross training at altitude in AirFit. To help these intense workouts fit easily into members' schedules, The Quad offers full-day childcare services seven days a week so students won't be embarrassed if a kindergartener can dead lift more than them.
With an ERYT certification from Yoga Alliance, more than 3,000 hours of training, and 5,550-plus hours of teaching experience under her belt, instructor Umang Goel strives to instill mind-body wellness in her students during classes in a variety of yoga modalities. During classes that can be filled with children and adults alike, Umang emphasizes the connections among the physical, spiritual, and spandex aspects of yoga practice, encouraging students to perform challenging poses as they clear their minds through meditation, which she studies in basic and advanced courses at the Art of Living Foundation. Classes such as Bliss Yoga and Gentle Yoga challenge beginner and advanced yogis alike. Umang also incorporates life-coaching skills into classes such as laughter yoga, helping students of all skill levels reap a host of benefits, including stress reduction, increased body awareness, and sharper vision in the third eye.
The inspiring trainers at each MetaBody location lead troops of workouteers in results-oriented workouts several times weekly. Sweat sessions utilize a variety of exercises and disciplines to produce full-body results in a supportive environment, ideal for beginners and hard-core core-hardeners alike. During any class, motivational instructors will use the instinctual distrust of routine to their advantage. Begin a day of litigating with a refreshing early-morning boot-camp session, or wind down by burning evidence and pounds with a late-evening yoga class. Muscles are kept guessing with new and challenging moves during each session, so participants never fall into a boring, ineffective routine, such as regular teeth brushing. In addition to the fitness classes, students receive a success guide to help prepare for imminent pound loss, a nutrition guide, and a $100 gift certificate for individual coaching. Because the pass sets a 10-class cap at any given location, roving fitness mavens can further shake up their workout regimens by vetting a series of classes or instructors that work best for them.
Started by Billy Wee—a student of Bikram Choudhury, the original founder of Bikram yoga—Bikram Yoga East Bay is a hot yoga studio dedicated to helping its students discover the healthful benefits of Bikram yoga. In each 90-minute class, students stretch and twist into 26 postures, working every major organ system in the body while sweating in a room specially heated to help release toxins. Classes are intense and challenging, but suitable for beginners and experienced yogis alike, and the studio is spacious and mirror-lined. Open 364 days per year, Bikram Yoga East Bay offers complimentary towel service to its members as well as a feeling of community in each class.