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.
As strobe lights slice across the stage, masked dancers descend from scaffolding and undulate to Lady Gaga’s “Just Dance.” Minutes later, a troupe of 6-year-olds takes to the same stage in traditional Indian shalwar, or loose trousers, and launch into a frenetic dance set to fast-paced bhangra music. These divergent routines—performed at Mona Khan Company’s student showcase—hint at the scope of dance styles that instructors bring to their classes. Though traditional folk and classical South Asian dance make an appearance, instructors also incorporate styles such as salsa, modern, and hip-hop.
This Bollywood dance philosophy has propelled Mona Khan Company into the national spotlight. The company’s professional dance troupe has performed with Bollywood demigod Shah Rukh Khan and dancer Shaan, and dazzled a live audience on America’s Got Talent.
Though classes at Mona Khan Company occasionally lead to professional dance careers, the studio strives to make Bollywood dance accessible to every aspiring dancer. For example, Jollywood dance classes train performers age 65 and older, and the Jeena program trains special-needs students. “It’s more than just dance,” says Ms. Shankar, the company’s dance captain. “We try to build a whole community around it."
All across California, Western Bowling Proprietors Association sends pins scattering at a network of bowling alleys, each with its own personality. In addition to open bowl on automatically scored lanes, many locations host special events that heighten the experience with enhancements such as vibrant lights, lively music, and laser systems that do double duty protecting the alleys' diamond collections. The alleys also house refreshment facilities, pro shops, and diversions that range from arcade games to billiards.
Studio Seven Arts, voted Best Art Gallery of 2011 by Diablo magazine's readers, is bedecked in one-of-a-kind fine art, handcrafted jewelry, and eclectic crafts, fostering an inspiring backdrop to their custom-framing services. The staff members curate a collection of American art pieces, including locally made creations, displaying handcrafted fine jewelry and skillfully made crafts that can be both functional and decorative—much like a scarecrow in a sundress. The gallery’s in-house framing artisans draw upon 25 years of experience to build custom frames for such treasures as paintings, photos, diplomas, and mirrors of any shape or size. Frames can be outfitted with wood to match any room’s décor, and with a variety of glass options that can block the bleaching effects of sunlight and scribblings of pets who feel they ought to be in all the family photos.
The fitness instructors, personal trainers, and nutritionists at ClubSport wield the foundations of total-body wellness: detailed knowledge and cutting-edge equipment. Group classes such as cardio kickboxing, cycling, and circuit training showcase routines for all fitness levels, seven days a week. Personal-training sessions, meanwhile, bring help exercisers develop their own fitness plans and face down the imaginary knight that guards every piece of weight-training equipment.
ClubSport also transforms bodies outside the fitness studio and weight room. A self-described resort-style aquatic center features several lap and exercise pools where swimmers can fine-tune their breaststrokes and favorite shark calls. At an on-site spa, massage therapists ease muscle tension with modalities ranging from hot stone and prenatal to trigger point and reflexology.
Dave Camarrillo grew up on mats, training and competing with his brother at their father’s judo club. After a knee injury limited his standup fighting ability, Dan discovered the ground game of Gracie jiu-jitsu and welded it with his father’s tutelage to create the Guerilla jiu-jitsu system. Guerilla jiu-jitsu fuses the fluid movements of Brazilian forms with Olympic judo and wrestling into a nonstriking, grappling art for all ages and skill levels. Students learn to leverage their bodies against opponents of varying size as they gain skills that can be used in a competitive, self-defense, or recreational setting. In addition to jiu-jitsu classes, the multidisciplinary center offers sessions in muay thai kickboxing, as well as women’s self-defense sessions and anti-bullying classes that emphasize nonstriking and conflict-resolution skills.