James Brown's yogic journey has taken him from the tobacco farms of Maryland to the California studio of acclaimed Ashtanga master and YogaWorks founder Maty Ezraty. Along the way, he helped scholars stay limber as American University's first Adjunct Professor of Yoga and served as a key contributor to YogaWorks' training manuals and teaching programs, now Director of Yoga Content for YogaWorks' teacher training worldwide. His patented curricula imbued more than 1,000 teachers from across the globe with the power necessary to lead classes to physical and spiritual fitness. Now, he brings his keen understanding of the intersections of ancient poses and contemporary culture to You and the Mat. The eco-conscious center’s hardwood-floored studio provides a space where yogis of all skill levels can stretch, bend, and strengthen their bodies during classes of seven days a week. From sunrise and prenatal yoga to yoga for fitness, each session on the schedule challenges students with intelligent instruction guided by one of 13 handpicked teachers.
While the studio is primarily known as an institute of yogic learning, it's also a haven for the visual and performing arts. An on-site gallery displays original work from local artists; past exhibits have included work from photographer Richard Seagraves, musician David Ryan Harris, and Robert Sturman.
Founded with the goal of bringing the community together through social events that promote physical fitness, Spearman Clubs keeps its members active via a host of well-maintained athletic amenities and all-ages activities. Each of the three clubs features outdoor pools brimming with salt-filtered water free of chlorine or river rafts, as well as sauna and steam rooms for post-swim sessions. The sleek, palm-tree-laden clubs also boast tennis courts?all equipped with hitting walls and ball machines?upon which players of all experience levels can practice their backhand during lessons and programs helmed by seasoned pros.
The Laguna Niguel Racquet Club bustles with activity as members shape up in Pilates classes or stave off hunger pangs at the Top Spin Bar & Grill. Personal trainers help visitors at the Tennis Club at Monarch Beach cloak their muscles in iron, and an onsite spa sends weary bodies into fits of unfettered relaxation. Skilled muscle manipulators erase aches from tense backs at the Racquet Club of Irvine, where therapeutic massage services serve as a soothing conclusion to a day spent splashing about the pool and hitting the courts.
Total Training Boot Camp shares several key attributes with military-style training, the most obvious of which is an amped-up level of intensity. The differences, however, are just as notable. Trainers never attempt to motivate their students with harsh words and yelling, instead opting to inundate them with positive support. Students need every ounce of encouragement they can get as they struggle through workouts designed to achieve a three-pronged objective: burn fat, sculpt muscles, and improve the quality of daily life.
Each punishing boot-camp session engages the legs, abs, arms, shoulders, and internal hard drive to slenderize the body in as short a time as possible. Total Training Boot Camp's workouts challenge athletes of all levels; their scalable nature and wide appeal helped the company place as a finalist for CityVoter's Best Boot Camp in 2011. Aside from the flagship boot camps, trainers offer personal-training sessions that customize workouts to specific body types and goals.
MyGym Children's Fitness Center, which currently has more than 200 international locations, began more than 30 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 months and skewing up to 3 years and 3 months?and designed to incorporate the latest physiological and psychological research. Tiny Tykes gets babies moving with help from their parents, Mighty Mites teaches toddlers self-reliance and beginning sports skills, and Champions?a class for kids aged 6 to 9?emphasizes the importance of using teamwork to master more complex sports skills and achieve group goals such as building a human pyramid to reach the cookie jar. MyGym's energetic instructors are experts at using music, dance, and gymnastics to build youngsters' strength and self-esteem while stimulating their giggle-plexes. The noncompetitive environment fosters creativity and hands-on activities boost children's learning retention and fun quotient.
Joanna Cotta Leadbetter spent more than a decade as a ballerina, wowing audiences with feats of graceful athleticism. Now, as the founder and lead trainer at The Sculpt Barre, Leadbetter blends this passion for dance with fitness—drawing from different disciplines to create intense, low-impact workouts. Leadbetter and her instructors lead small groups through different intervals at the ballet barre, which allows exercisers to use their own body weight for resistance. Combined with stretches, these barre exercises promise numerous benefits, including increased strength, better posture, and enough flexibility to finally fit inside a piece of carry-on luggage.
Like a blacksmith at the anvil, the trainers at Extreme Pilates temper cores against the Reformer. Over the course of one hour, students leverage their own body weight on a system of ropes and pulleys to sculpt bodies with long, lean muscles. The workouts target abs to help students improve posture, straighten alignment, and protect their delicate caramel centers. After sweat sessions, patrons may take advantage of the spa-like facilities, which include showers and a steam room. An onsite nutritionist and massage therapist further foster relaxation and wellness, and the daycare staff preserves parents' sanity.