Helmed by Jan Hutchins, the Yoga Center of Los Gatos' crew of experienced instructors electrifies pupils by teaching a flexible schedule of sultry samba lessons and exhilarating yoga classes. In the studio's vibrant interior, aspiring yogis stretch atop provided mats amid bright canary accents. During Flow yoga sessions, students practice focused breath to fluidly link Vinyasa poses as they strengthen muscles and improve flexibility. Expectant mothers can assuage aches in supportive Prenatal yoga, which incorporates helpful tips on parenting from spiritually centered storks, and students with limited mobility can aid injury recovery with passive stretches in Yin yoga. Both men and women can swivel hips and shake off stress with captivating choreography during sultry samba dance classes as live percussion swells throughout the studio, wistfully calling out to bygone Morse code messages.
For The Yoga Studio’s owner Pik Chu, yoga has been much more than just an exercise routine. An instructor for more than 10 years, Pik believes yoga has helped her to overcome an early-life diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis that she was told would confine her to a wheelchair. Now wheelchair- and medication-free, Pik runs The Yoga Studio, which offers a versatile schedule. Classes range from gentle yoga sessions that focus on simple breathing techniques to restorative yoga that combines energy work with visualization. The Yoga Studio also specializes in offering aerial yoga, which utilizes soft fabric hammocks that allow individuals to suspend themselves in the air while practicing traditional Hatha techniques and making sure that gravity still works. Beginners start by alternating between using the hammocks and regular yoga mats in order to ease students into new techniques.
Everyone on Bikram Yoga's team of instructors has a conversion story. Some, such as Andi Martin, figured out how to rein in rampant chronic pain practicing the 26 asanas, while others weaned themselves off medication they had been taking for years. This enthusiasm infuses the expansive yoga studio with a peaceful energy that has drawn a community of 20,000 members.
During 90-minute sessions, up to 90 students flow through 26 postures taught by Bikram-certified instructors, stretching muscles in the heated room. Fresh air circulates within the 2,500-square-foot studio as students practice deep breathing and tone cores while sweating out the toxins responsible for making them feel sluggish or swear at the mailman. Rented mats and towels unfurl along the length of the odorless, moisture-resistant Flotex flooring, and out in the lobby guests relax in various bamboo-bedecked nooks that encourage socialization. Parents can drop off children at the kid-watching room before cartwheeling into a class or taking in a relaxing massage.
Kathy Burgett started bringing fitness into other people's lives in 1978, and since then she's been on a nonstop road toward expanding her workout regime. She got her degree in Physical Education from Washburn University in 1982, aced her ACE Personal Training Certification in 1992, and even opened her own school in 2000, borrowing her gym nickname to complete the title of KB Fitness.
Now, with a host of other instructors, Kathy whips clients into shape with one-on-one training, group fitness classes, and temporary tattoos of motivational posters. Her teachers increase flexibility with yoga courses, empower cores in Pilates reformer classes, and turn heart rates up to 11 during cardio kickboxing sessions.
In 98point6 Yoga's eco-conscious studio, a team of certified yoga instructors lead 60- and 90-minute yoga classes seven days a week. Yogis of all abilities can enter the 98.6-degree atmosphere designed to melt muscles into deep, healing stretches, evict toxins, and increase empathy for sun-dwellers. One-hour classes consisting of both static poses and meditative flow sequences help busy pupils maintain regular practice, while body benders in the 90-minute sweat session focus on performing 26 postures with proper alignment and depth and improving strength and stamina. The studio requests that pupils rent, bring, or spontaneously create a yoga mat and bath towel, though before reentering the outside world, students can take advantage of the facility's environmentally friendly low-flow showers.
At Almaden Yoga, owners Ron Victor and Anuja Chaudhri work alongside a team of instructors to reach out to those who have always wanted to practice yoga but never thought they could. Targeting the mind and body, their classes ensure that everyone, from beginning pupils to experts to expectant mothers, can find a course that suits their needs.
Aside from a way to stay in shape and lengthen limbs, the instructors see yoga as a philosophy for navigating the world. They believe that a combination of postures, focused breathing, and meditation is a method for discovering calmness in any uncomfortable situation, be it an all-night study session or a postapocalyptic decade trapped in a fallout shelter. Their life-changing approach has extended to charity events, such as a sun-salutation event to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and their positive influence on health and mental wellness made them a Talk of the Town winner in 2012.