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.
Guiding Fitness’s staff doesn’t believe in quick fixes or fads. Instead, they’re partial to the simple approach of informed exercise and eating. The team of certified personal trainers do their part during private and small-group personal-training sessions, and the team of fitness instructors schedules month-to-month in-studio and online fitness classes.
Part of yoga’s beauty lies in its adaptability. Whether performed by an experienced practitioner or a first-time student, the postures can be modified to become simpler or more complicated. For students looking for an added level of impact, another variable awaits: heat. During sessions at Bikram Yoga Lincoln, instructors lead students of any age or ability level through a series of 26 postures and two breathing exercises in rooms infused with sultry waves of super-heated air. Deep breath work awakens the body with a refreshing jolt of oxygen before muscles, ligaments, and joints shed stress and stiffness. A final series of balancing postures closes classes, as students push the limits of their concentration, patience, and prior training as a unicyclist.
Illuminated with natural light coursing in through a wall of large windows, Bikram Yoga Lincoln’s studio is lined with a sweat-proof and antimicrobial Flotex floor. Guests are invited to converse with peers either before or after sessions in a community lounge, and enjoy a refreshing cool down in spacious steam showers.
He’s sculpted the physiques of bodyguards, soldiers, and professional athletes, but at Lincoln Fit1, trainer Herb Tanton works his fitness magic on the everyday exerciser. He leads the KRE cross-training class, a powerful mix of body-weight exercises designed to transform muscles. He and owner Susan Jansson also head up group fitness classes ranging from Superkids karate to Zumba to cycling.
Though co-owner Adam Downing may be able to deadlift 450 pounds and squat 325, his strength is of little use if he can’t pick up his daughter and carry her to bed. He understands strength has practical application, which is why he and co-owner Mark Dingman teach functional fitness for the real world at CrossFit Echelon. Instructors teach students to master the mechanics of each movement before adding speed and intensity, and they adhere to a passionate creed of personal responsibility, consistent effort, and limitless potential. Adam and Mark pride themselves on keeping a clean, well-organized space that accommodates the training needs of first-timers as well as serious athletes. Along with traditional barbells and kettlebells, workouts integrate heavy rope, strongman stones, and giant truck tires pilfered from mutant Micro Machines.
Channel the exercise of kangaroos and beans with a two-hour open jump session. Slip on sky shoes and prepare for 120 minutes of aerodynamic excitement as you bound up and down, side to side, and through dimensional planes. The all-ages activity is an uplifting alternative to treadmills and stagnant fitness routines, and no athletic prowess is required. Fill out a quick liability waiver before living out leapfrog fantasies during dodgeball (subject to availability) or other over-the-top events. Check out a virtual tour here.