Before yoga was a household activity and people meditated to guard their minds from computers' thought-control beams, Yoga Center of California was already teaching students a rigidly traditional yet relaxed approach to yoga. Within the center—established more than four decades ago—instructors who have all trained for at least five years under internationally renowned guru Ramakrishna Ananda demonstrate time-honored poses and emphasize meditation techniques from each yogic style to help students find the technique that suits them best. These professors of flexibility also guard pupils against strain as they find each group's comfort zone, showing them how to relax a pose and modify positions to match skill levels. In each class, such as Hatha, Chinese, or prenatal yoga, two instructors introduce the philosophy of yoga while training participants in asanas and meditation. Yoga Center of California also teaches children in specialized classes.
At five years old, Kenny Mathews started learning piano right around the time he started learning to read. After touring with a rock n' roll band and teaching for two decades, he's not only musically literate—he's downright multi-lingual. His expertise encompasses trumpet, flute, saxophone, guitar, and ukelele—but his specialty is encouragement. Regardless of the instrument, he helps his students feel comfortable whether they're playing alone or performing for an audience of jittery grisly bears. He supplements his private lessons with recital prep, and remains a source of patient support for his pupils throughout their learning process.
Tutoring Club specializes in custom individualized tutoring sessions to enhance all levels of math, science, and language arts, college prep, and study skills for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. The skill assessment diagnoses each student's challenges and assesses his or her current knowledge before charting a brave new path toward wisdom. Over the course of the tutoring sessions, instructors focus and build on students' existing strengths to shore up knowledge and intellectual resourcefulness, closing academic gaps faster than front doors on vacuum salesmen.
In bar classrooms outfitted with real equipment and experienced instructors, the students at Professional Bartenders School learn to mix, pour, and serve their way into the barkeeping industry. Courses ranging from six hours to two weeks instill pupils with the tenets of professional drinksmanship, such as free pouring, drink recipes, and customer service. Students fill glasses with spurts from soda guns, simulated liquor from real bottles, and garnishes carved from organic plastic lemons as they learn drink recipes and mixing techniques. Upon certification, newly minted bartenders receive lifetime job-placement help, with access to a database of hospitality employers.
Award-winning artisan and sculptor James Stone draws upon 27 years of craftsmanship and artistry to teach his students the ways of transmogrifying ordinary glass into masterworks. During hands-on demonstrations, James leads groups of up to six pupils in wielding 2,300-degree torches that turn brittle glass into malleable liquid ready to be shaped into art or slathered onto injured windows. Each day, the ovens also churn out tumblers and sculptures available for sale, and the studio routinely takes orders for custom projects and ornaments.
At Emerald City Academy of Rhythmic Gymnastics, girls learn more than the graceful, expressive sport of rhythmic gymnastics?they also glean life skills and values that will help them flourish into adulthood. As they master the enchanting routines?twirling ribbons, spinning hoops, and tossing balls?they develop a sense of discipline and determination. Simultaneously, girls increase their strength, balance, and flexibility, which can help them gracefully leap over a precariously placed banana peel. The team of dedicated instructors, which includes professional rhythmic gymnastics coaches, leads girls as young as 1.5 years old in experimenting with movement and rhythm, as well as those ready to dominate opponents on the competitive level.