Founder swami Vishnudevananda created the nonprofit Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm to foster a community of students and instructors interested in introspection, self-discovery, and their holistic health. Located within an 80-acre expanse of the Sierra Nevada's foothills, the secluded farm enfolds visitors with oak- and pine-filled hills, three nearby rivers, and enough wildlife to stage a cartoon musical.
Under the tutelage of three swamis, a staff of volunteer instructors uses the peaceful setting to help focus students? attention on personal growth and bodily awareness during traditional outdoor yoga classes and specialized workshops. They faithfully teach the five points of yoga?proper exercise, breathing, relaxation, diet, and meditation?as they lead students down the four paths of yoga. Through the path of action, the path of devotion, Ashtanga, and the yoga of knowledge, they help their students forge a union of body, mind, and spirit. They weave specialized psychology, philosophy, and spirituality lessons into their asanas, which are bolstered with wellness programs and treatments such as massages with herbal oils, nutrition and detoxification programs, and ayurvedic therapies. To further unite their students with the world around them, the yogis promote sustainability with well water, solar-power systems, and an organic vegetable garden with which they can learn permaculture strategies.
The farm has onsite accommodations, including tents and heated cabins that overlook a pond. To keep their guests well-fed, a team of cooks whips up organic vegetarian cuisine following yogic and ayurvedic dietary principles, which means that meals are free of meat, fish, eggs, onions, and caffeinated beverages.
Bikram Yoga Grass Valley/Nevada City's community of instructors and students come together each day of the week to practice the restorative poses of Bikram yoga. Inside the serene studio, yogis lead 90-minute classes in a heated room in order to detoxify the body, increase blood circulation, and prevent injuries. The schedule, which includes sessions specifically designed for beginners, has classes that begin as early as 6:00 a.m. on weekdays. Bikram Yoga Grass Valley/Nevada City recommends wearing workout clothes, drinking plenty of water before class, and not bringing any ice sculptures to the studio.
The 17-strong staff at Sattva Yoga, Pilates & Ayurveda brings an abundance of experience and certifications to each class, whether yoga, Pilates, or Barre. KCRA awarded the wellness emporium the title of Best Pilates Studio in 2010 and nominated it as a finalist for Best Yoga Studio in 2011. The team gears its yoga classes toward helping participants achieve tranquility, while directing their Pilates focus toward strengthening core muscles both in clients and in apples. They also teach two variations of Booty Barre, one meant to augment a Pilates regimen with its cardio component, and one that builds on both yoga and Pilates with long, fluid dance movements.
At East Wind Yoga, instructors have options for every skill level. Basic classes ease newcomers and returning students into the body mechanics of yoga. Flow classes improve their breathing and cardiovascular endurance, and yin classes combine postures from hatha yoga with deep stretches to address any joint compression and misalignment. Held in a room heated to 105?110 degrees, hot yoga classes help purge toxins after a long day of sleep-testing sarcophagi. Intense Yosu yoga targets balance through the use of soft and rubbery BOSU balls. Each of the studio's two locations offers a welcoming interior of paper lanterns, exposed brick, and stacks of colorful yoga mats for rental.
Hailed by the Auburn Journal as the Best Yoga Studio of 2010, Canyon Spirit Yoga's experienced instructors unfold a varied schedule of Vinyasa flow yoga to nourish strength, flexibility, and concentration. Seize control over internal ventilation systems and bickering organs during Beginner Yoga, which interlaces breath, gentle movement, and relaxation. Instructors assist experienced pupils as they glide through Energizing Flow's seamless sequence of challenging Vinyasa flows, head-over-heel inversions, and bicep balances. Stress flees from practitioners of all levels during Yin and restorative yoga, as sustained postures unlock stiff hips and waves of serenity wash over the mind, infusing it with a fresh-from-the-clothesline scent. Within Canyon Spirit Yoga's confines, enthusiastic instructors ensure a serene practice space by enforcing a no-cell-phone policy and piping in soothing serenades performed by on-staff crickets.
As they enter the training circle at Curves, female guests come face-to-face with the smiles of other women. And just as points on a circle share a common distance from the circle's center, workout participants share the experiences of those nearby, trading stations throughout the 30-minute training session. Thirty seconds is spent on a piece of strength-training equipment built for feminine frames and designed to work two opposing muscle groups with a single movement. Exercisers then move on to a recovery station, where they run, jog, or dance to maintain heart rates and keep platforms in place during momentary losses of gravity.
In 2014, Curves partnered with celebrity fitness expert Jillian Michaels to design a new take on its traditional circuit. These workouts incorporate functional bodyweight exercises?each with modifications?into the existing sequence, providing a slightly more intense gym experience intended to jump-start metabolisms while still forging lean, toned muscles.