El Cerrito Yoga's sweat-eliciting studio beckons students with an intensive schedule of hot-yoga classes open to all ages and yogic skill levels. Inside the studio, heated well beyond room temperature by a giant hen that nests atop the roof, 90-minute sessions help students lengthen muscles and purge bodily toxins. The postures—starting on the mat and moving into standing asanas—target the entire body by isolating individual muscle groups, joints, and tailbones as it forges stronger limbs and cores devoid of lounging toxins. As instructors lead students through limb-strengthening poses, concentrated breathing exercises complement the physical movement to improve mental focus as students infuse lungs with the fresh, filtered air flowing from the HVAC systems.
With sessions convening as early as 6 a.m. and as late as 6:30 p.m. throughout the week, students have ample opportunities to schedule classes around nebulous stargazing plans. Mirrored walls ensure proper posture, and water is available to promote a well-hydrated, safe, and effective workout. Patrons can also take advantage of available showers and changing rooms, or seek out the nearest walk-through car wash afterward.
Led by June Kamerling and her expert instructors, El Cerrito Fitness’s classes aim to help students of all levels achieve their fitness goals with a variety of different Pilates techniques. The classes make use of springboards or reformer machines, using the apparatus to challenge guests to sink deeper into stretches. Mat Pilates classes harness the power of resistance to strengthen cores.
After walking through the studio’s namesake entryway, visitors to Funky Door Yoga Polk Street are greeted by the grunts of Bikram practitioners carried on waves of steamy heat. The stretch dojo's seven-day schedule boasts early-morning, afternoon, and evening classes that take place in a classroom stoked to up to 105 degrees, the perfect temperature for facilitating flexibility or melting a corporate rival's ice statue in effigy. Students run through Bikram Choudhury’s 26 poses that pique muscles, organs, veins, and ligaments while the sweltering heat flushes toxins from the body. After a 90-minute session, students can hop into one of Funky Door Yoga Polk Street's showers, or down a bottle of water or sports drink available for purchase. The studio also stocks rentable mats and towels for greenhorn yogis not quite experienced enough to levitate.
The bright studio helps students fine-tune posework with wall-to-wall mirrors, and the expansive floor space affords enough space to execute even the most complex poses. Two nearby parking lots and metered parking afford convenient parking for car-toting students.
Scheduled seven days a week, Yoga Mandala's classes encompass a variety of traditional styles. Drop through the roof and into a Vinyasa class, which is an endurance-based style that flows from posture to posture, or give Hatha a whirl and begin the journey through proper posture, sustained breathing patterns, and mind-body awareness. During class, absorb the emanating energy of Yoga Mandala's veteran instructors, who will smoothly demonstrate each style's balance of relaxation and domination of your muscular reaches. After class, emerge with increased circulation, decreased rigidness, and new insights into reality-television plotlines.
Innerstellar Pilates & Yoga owner Kristin "Kiki" Lovelace's passion for health and wellness permeates throughout her studio as students heal both mind and body through holistic services that includes yoga and Pilates classes, massage, therapy sessions, and now Innercore Pilates teacher training, which will take place September through November. It makes sense that a self-proclaimed anatomy nerd like Kiki would gravitate toward Forrest yoga's challenging postures and healing techniques; she went on to study the style for seven years under her mentor. Along with yoga certification, Kiki and members of her crew also hold Pilates machine- and mat-teaching certifications, and offer a range of other holistic healing services to support each client's path to healthy living. Innerstellar Pilates & Yoga was voted Best Pilates Studio by readers of the East Bay Express in 2012 and 2013.
The eclectic instructors at The Works have done it all, from hiking national parks to training opera singers. At the studio, they run an array of dance and fitness classes that get participants moving, inciting shimmies during Cardio Dance's sweat-inducing thumping beats. To help students obtain a full-body workout and cardiovascular endurance on the fitness side, Total Body Challenge sessions incorporate high-intensity interval training and muscle confusion to create a one-of-a-kind class experience. But the instructors also work to calm the mind and body, strengthening limbs and channeling inner peace in Yoga and Pilates sessions.