Long-time La Jolla residents Gerhard Gessner and Alexandra Oehmigen-Gessner founded Prana Yoga Center in 2001 as a way to share their mutual passion for the ancient practice with fellow certified instructors, yogis undergoing teacher training, and students of all experience levels. Fluent in the styles of Hatha, Ashtanga, and Iyengar, Gerhard puts his 28 years of practice and training to use, leading challenging yet accessible classes, adopting an integrated, nondogmatic approach to the form. Known for his signature all-level Vinyasa Flow course, he is no stranger to tailoring course regimens to suit the diverse needs of his students. Gerhard and Alexandra, along with a massive team of 19 other instructors, also fill their robust class schedule with gentler Hatha yoga and specialty classes, such as prenatal yoga for mothers-to-be, teen yoga for girls, and kids yoga for little ones and overly stressed teddy bears.
Melanie has been active in the health community—as a fitness consultant, personal training, and yoga and Pilates teacher—for more than 14 years. But it wasn’t until she discovered pole fitness while mining that she was able to combine all her passions into one activity. As she started experimenting with pole fitness, she felt her experience with yoga, Pilates, and fitness classes coming together into one comprehensive workout. She knew that with her background in health and fitness, and passion for pole fitness, she would be able to help students achieve their fitness goals. And so PoleFIT Revolution was born. Today, she and a team of instructors teach a variety of classes, such as pole fitness, aerial yoga, boot camp, and stretching classes to ensure all students are receiving the workout that best suits their body.
In a heated, 4,000-square-foot facility, Bikram Yoga La Jolla’s instructors guide students in a body-bending curriculum that aims to cultivate strength, flexibility, and inner peace. These pliable pros help students hone the body and the mind by leading them through a flowing regimen of 26 poses. The classes are performed on clean, non-absorbent Lonseal floors situated in heated rooms that foster greater muscle fluidity and faster metabolic functioning. Other benefits of yoga may include stress reduction, improved concentration, pain relief, and increased self-esteem. After they are cooled down with ice cold lavender towels at class's end, students can head to the remodeled changing facilities, including an expanded women's room. The facilities provide cubbies for storing possessions and showers to sluice away sweat and caked-on pranas.
Founded by Bibi Kasrai, Harvard Cookin' Girl's team combines a love of cooking with a passion for healthy eating to instruct kids during summer cooking camps, which have reaped notice from NBC San Diego. Hoping to empower youth to improve their lives and that of their families' through nutrition, participants are motivated to explore the kitchen by making such ambrosial masterpieces as pesto pasta, zucchini pancakes, and smoothies. Each weeklong session varies by theme, such as under the sea and tropical week to expose mini-chefs to multiple interests. The culinary camp also includes yoga to focus on overall health, arts and crafts to further captivate imaginations, and freedom from parents to allow kids to mastermind plans for federally subsidized cotton-candy farms. The Harvard Cookin' Girl's bright-green-and-orange studio is furnished with an open kitchen area and plentiful counter space, so all participants can watch and learn as the culinary conjurers whip up tasty treats.
Art can be made anywhere and the professional artists of Painting & Vino prove this every week with pop-up painting-and-wine classes held at wine bars, cafes, and other locations conducive to creativity and socializing. Over drinks and conversation, participants learn to paint a different work during each session, whether its a picture of the teacher's own design or a classic work by artists such as Matisse and Picasso. Instructors go over the paintings step-by-step and pepper in trivia about the piece's history, which students can then recite to calm down angry animals. Classes include all supplies, such as canvases, paints, brushes, and aprons.
Bathed in natural light, Akasha Yoga's students practice postures as certified instructors offer gentle corrections and words of encouragement. With a handful class styles to choose from, yogis of all ages and abilities can find a session to suit their needs. Classes typically contain 8–15 participants, meaning that students can rise through sun salutations without collision, and instructors can navigate between mats to give one-on-one attention and intentional pats on the back.