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.
Muscular instructors help exercisers of all fitness levels slim silhouettes and chisel muscles with motivating boot camps, one on one personal training, and fat-evicting nutrition plans. During boot camps, a certified fitness coach draws on more than 15 years of experience to build up bodies with a series of high-intensity interval and metabolic resistance training. The encouraging trainer conducts a symphony of grunts as students strain to lift sandbags and tires within the indoor gym before hitting the fresh air to hurdle over motionless freeze-tag players and other outdoor obstacles. They’ll also compliment their rigorous workout regimes with nutrition guidance that equips students with grocery lists and recipes that ensure balanced meals.
What started as a camp founded and staffed by schoolteachers has turned into a year-round surf school for one reason: people love to surf. Today, the school offers everything from lessons for first-timers to professional surf clinics for advanced surfers. Their teaching model focuses on private and small group lessons, which they believe is the quickest and easiest way to learn to ride the waves. And for their graduates, they’ve even created a surf team that is cheered on by countless adoring seagulls.
A colony of seals suns itself on the rock ledges of La Jolla Cove while seabirds preen themselves a few feet above. Below, bright-orange garibaldi fish and california spiny lobsters scuttle about the cove’s reefs and kelp beds. This biologically rich landscape sets the stage for La Jolla Dive & Snorkel’s scuba-diving lessons, which range from beginner discovery classes to dive-master-certification courses that adhere to the training standards of the Professional Association of Dive Instructors (PADI). They also lead four shore dives to various sites, such as one located near The Marine Room restaurant, where the shallow reefs and smell of lobster bisque attract gentle leopard sharks in the early summer. Along with scuba diving, instructors also teach students how to strut in fashionable snorkeling gear and how to stoically gaze into the horizon during standup-paddleboarding tours.
When Larisa Hall was born, the doctors were not sure she'd ever be able to walk. She was born with severely clubbed feet and spent the next nine months wearing casts on both legs. But within six months, Larisa was up on her feet; and by the time she was five, she had discovered dance and never wanted to stop. Dancing proved to be a useful physical therapy—helping her gain coordination and overcome ankle pain.
Spurred on by her own triumph, Larisa founded Tap Fever Studios with the belief that everyone—no matter their age or level of ability—should have the opportunity to dance. To that end, she holds workshops for the hearing and listening impaired, as well as those who are developmentally disabled. Larisa also recently created a new method of dance called hand tap, which allows people with limited mobility to use special gloves and a wooden board to tap out rhythms while seated.
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