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.
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.
With an ERYT certification from Yoga Alliance, more than 200 hours of training, and 2,500-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. Umang 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 Studio's high-end workout facility espouses active lifestyles with a 2400-square-foot fitness center and a schedule of group classes staged inside five exercise-specific studio rooms. Endowed with 7 or 14 day passes, guests can hone ghost-story plot lines near the lounge area's fireplace or incinerate calories with the fitness center's free weights or medley of strength and cardio equipment—including a smith machine, circuit line, ellipticals, and treadmills. One-hour cycling classes churn heart rates with a fleet of stationary bikes equipped with CycleOps PowerTap technology, which monitors progress by tracking the force behind each pedal. Yoga instructors demonstrate poses inside a studio with wooden floors and an arched window that mimics the arch of spines and dutifully impressed eyebrows as students tackle a variety of yoga styles, such as gentle, Hatha, Iyengar, Vinyasa, or Yin.
Hot Box Yoga's cadre of yogis, some of whom have nabbed their 200-hour certification or spent time learning the art in Asia, helps students foster emotional poise and physical strength. Instructors guide their charges through a schedule packed with yoga styles, including core-forging Ashtanga and time-tested Hatha. Within the studio's 4,400 square feet of stretching space, hot yoga sessions usher toxins out of the body by harnessing the flexibility-boosting powers of warmth in the sun-soaked studio. Those gestating tiny humans can build strength, flexibility, and bottle-juggling skills through gentle prenatal yoga classes.
Students stretch their arms and slowly arch their backs as natural light spills in through the floor-to-ceiling windows of Cosmic Dog Yoga’s studio. The studio’s experienced instructors are just as adept at putting these students at ease as they are at guiding them through physically demanding poses. Though many specialize in styles such as Vinyasa flow, meditation, and tribal-style dance, it’s not uncommon for the same instructors to teach basic yoga or a playful Cosmic Power class that demonstrates how to blow up stars millions of miles away simply by concentrating hard. In the lobby, the staff arranges mats, yoga books, towels, and mala beads alongside natural MezAroma products such as soy-based candles, sugar scrubs, and lip balms.
With backgrounds in Bikram, Vinyasa, and Yin yoga styles, Xplore Yoga's collection of passionate instructors helps students of all experience levels further their individual yoga practice while honing healthy bodies and minds. The studio’s seven-day schedule boasts 27 heated classes each week, including traditional Bikram yoga sweat sessions. During the 90-minute Bikram practice, students perform 26 postures and two deep-breathing exercises in a room heated to more than 100 degrees to promote detoxification, flexibility, and the deep understanding that comes with walking a mile in a camel’s shoes. Vinyasa flows take mat mavens through a series of continuous postures, adding an aerobic element to the practice that helps build lean muscle and increase endurance, and Yin yoga utilizes strategic stretches that target the body's connective tissues around the hips, thighs, and lower spine.