On the wall above the inner entryway at Bikram Yoga Folsom, a hand-painted quote reminds practitioners why they keep coming back: "You're never too old, never too bad, never too late, never too sick to start from scratch once again". It's this eternal potential for personal betterment that fuels the studio's superheated classes, which combine Bikram yoga's 26 postures and two breathing exercises into workouts that stretch the mind as well as the body. Seasoned instructors lead each class, using experience gained through their extensive training and own personal journeys to create an atmosphere that's both nurturing and challenging, helping students of all skill levels to learn and thrive. In addition to an expansive practice room that's often awash in ample natural light, their vibrant facility houses spacious locker rooms with private showers, and even a relaxing seating area.
The staff at American Visions Art Gallery know that shopping for artwork can be intimidating. So when customers fall in love with a piece at the Sutter Street shop, they can bring it home, hang it up, and continue to stare at it for up to 48 hours before making a final decision. It's all part of the gallery’s at-home trial system, which enables clients to make sure a piece fits in with their decor and won't come to life at night. They can test-drive pieces from a vast selection that includes originals and limited-edition work from 60 artists, and special receptions allow prospective collectors to rub elbows with one of the shop's featured artists between bites of light hors d'oeuvres. The shop also provides framing services for a range of personal pieces, and curates a curriculum of paint-and-sip workshops, where novice brushstrokes are steadied by a complimentary glass of wine.
Art teacher Kimberly Godinho sees her studio as a haven for students who might be otherwise afraid of exploring their artistic sides. Her background includes earning her bachelor degree in fine arts, and her current work as a professional artist underscores her expertise. Heartened by friends and wine, visitors of all experience levels follow Kimberly’s instructions to brush up the chosen project, which may include wine glass tableaus, pastoral landscapes, and the inky insides of a camera’s lens cap. All materials are included with each class, including canvas, paints, and smocks.
My Gym, which currently has more than 200 international locations, began more than 20 years ago as a structured place for children to safely play, acquire new skills, and romp off a sugar buzz. All classes are organized according to age level (starting as young as 6 weeks) and designed to incorporate the latest physiological, psychological, and meteorological research. The Elk Grove and Folsom locations offer classes for all developmental degrees, including the Tiny Tykes class, a session for parents and babies that focuses on movement, and the Champions class, designed to help 5- to 9-year-olds master sports and gymnastics skills. Exact schedules vary by location; click here to see the Elk Grove lineup and here for Folsom's lineup.
Tearing into a perfectly charred, sauce-covered rack of ribs satisfies the stomach, and the knowledge that you made them yourself feeds the soul. Students can do just that in classes held by the nonprofit organization California BBQ Association, which shares all of its proceeds with children’s charities throughout the state. The course catalogue includes beginner and advanced classes led by pit masters such as Ric Gilbert, an inductee to the association’s hall of fame, and Harry Soo, a contestant from the first season of TLC’s BBQ Pitmasters. Fees cover the equipment and food needed to prepare dishes, freeing students from having to stop at a barbecue-sauce river and fill up some water bottles on their way to class.
The press certainly likes California Family Fitness, granting the exercise venue such awards as a top spot on KCRA-3's 2012 A-List and Sacramento News and Review's Best of Sacramento 2012 Award. The press, however, isn't the top priority for the gym's staff; they believe that, to quote their about CFF page, “awards don't greet you at the door.” Instead, they depend upon their dedicated staffers at the front desk, chaperones at the Kidz Club play zone, and personal trainers to make families of clients feel at home. Certified personal trainers take aspiring exercisers of all ages through regimens that make use of the 16 available locations' ample workout machinery. Seasoned instructors, meanwhile, hold group fitness classes, free with a membership, fostering community as they incinerate calories during high-energy Zumba, step aerobics, Turbo Kick, and Hip Hop Hustle. Nine of the locations boast pools that host swim lessons taught by certified water-safety instructors.
While hitting the gym, parents can drop wee ones at childcare havens lined with playgrounds and age-appropriate investment manuals. After breaking a sweat on the exercise floor, clients can also shed excess body moisture in saunas and tanning beds.