Craig Fruchter and Stephanie Schreiber, a husband-and-wife duo, team up with an impassioned troupe of instructors to lead students toward mental and physical health through a lineup of Bikram and power-yoga classes. Their dual locations swirl with balmy temperatures to loosen tight ligaments and help students ease deeper into the tension-relieving stretches. The warm air pricks beads of sweat on shoulders and brows while flushing out toxins and the spleen's discarded Funyun bags. With an eye on preserving the environment, both studios are scrubbed with nontoxic cleaning products each day and feature textured rubber floors and fresh-air ventilation systems. Marin Magazine in 2010 named Red Dragon one of the best yoga studios in Marin, and Pacific Sun named the business the best Marin yoga studio in 2012, 2013 and 2014.
Guided by a mission of embracing every student's quest for personal growth, the team at YogaWorks offers programs for all ages and walks of life. Harnessing a minimum of 500 hours of Yoga Alliance training, expert instructors build lean muscles with traditional Ashtanga, Iyengar, and Vinyasa flow classes enhanced by inspiring music, ambient candlelight, meditation, and props. Their fitness classes further the body-shaping results of yoga, strengthening core muscles with Pilates, increasing endurance and lean muscles with TRX classes, and building stamina with resistance-based SculptWorks.
Instructors also host exotic yoga retreats, which marry the excitement of travel to far-away locales with the benefits of yoga to bestow students with the confident grace required to approach a foreign yoga mat without startling it. Those in search of further training can access online videos by subscribing to myyogaworks.com, which offers a free, 14-day trial for new users. Students can search for videos by workout duration, skill level, and the targeted area of the body.
Located inside a wooden building with white walls and a peaked ceiling, Embrace Yoga eschews distracting decorations: sleek and simple furniture take up little space, and sheer olive-green curtains provide subtle pops of color. The clutter-free hall makes for a peaceful setting for Anusura, Vinyasa, and Iyengar classes, as well as sessions for mothers and their babies to find inner and outer harmony. High windows and a white chandelier illuminate the spacious studio, where you’ll see a statue of Buddha. The tranquil studio also features a boutique full of clothing and training props.
Embrace Yoga’s welcoming teachers help students—from experts to first-timers— focus on mind-body awareness and proper alignment. In addition to group classes, the studio can assist through private lessons, retreats, lectures, and workshops. After a relaxing session, students can finish their visit with complimentary homemade lemongrass tea.
Arjay Parker came to yoga as a result of an intervention to help her deal with stress in the workplace; Jefferson Parker started while seeking a way to heal his body from a crippling injury. In the practice of Bikram and Power yoga, they not only found what they were looking for, but they also found each other. Soon teamed as husband and wife, the duo decided to open a dual yoga studio of their own. The newly christened Bikram & Power Yoga San Rafael boasts two classrooms, specifically designed for and dedicated to the classes that happen in each one.
Today, the Parkers enlist the aid of other talented instructors they've met throughout the years to bend bodies with both kinds of yoga seven days a week. Their dedication has earned them Pacific Sun magazine’s Best Yoga Studio award for five years running and part of Pacific's Hall of Fame for three consecutive years, as well as countless high-fives from their appreciative students.
Juicy Liberty Sanchez and Steve23 traveled separate, yet intertwining paths before becoming partners in life and in yoga. Juicy was hooked on Bikram yoga after her first class in 2001, during which she fell down many times, but continued to rise to the challenge, both literally and figuratively. As time went on, she grew more interested in yoga than in her erstwhile law career. In 2005, Juicy asked Steve23?making ends meet as an artist?if he wanted to attend a Bikram teacher training with her. It was then they discovered that they had almost met on several occasions in years past. The rest, as they say, is history: the duo became the owners of Bikram Yoga in the Mission in 2006 and was married the following year in Honolulu at another Bikram teacher training. The bright turquoise and orange studio is a vibrant, funky homage to their Latino heritage and Indian culture, complete with murals and artwork painted by the teachers and students.
They and their team of certified Spanish-speaking instructors help perpetuate a yoga method developed by Bikram Choudhury. The sequence of 26 postures, performed in a heated studio, works to stimulate and strengthen every nook and cranny of the human frame. The hot surroundings are designed to loosen muscles, promote flexibility, and add authenticity to karaoke versions of "Hot Blooded." Within the 1,500-square-foot yoga room, up to 70 students become more limber beneath an electric-blue ceiling painted with white swirls that resemble clouds.
When the climbers of Planet Granite say that community anchors everything they do, they have a history of outreach to back it up. After Castle Rock State Park appeared on California’s closure list, Planet Granite’s team quickly organized a fundraiser to save the sanctuary. They pledged $10,000 in matching funds, threw an auction, scheduled guest speakers, and obtained support from companies such as REI. In one night, they raised $20,725.
This kind of response has typified Planet Granite’s team since opening its first facility in 1994. One of the first climbing gyms in the country, Planet Granite has expanded to three gyms in Belmont, San Francisco, and Sunnyvale. The diverse array of climbing resources at each location led Popsugar to name the gym conglomerate one of the top five in San Francisco in 2011. At the Sunnyvale location, members scale 25,000 square feet of climbable surfaces that ascend from low bouldering terrains to 60-foot walls.
In keeping with their commitment to community, the staff tailors instruction and climbing routes to every ability level and affinity for hand sweatiness. They also supervise each gyms’ fully equipped fitness centers, ranging from CrossFit to yoga, which provides a peaceful counterbalance to the full-body workout of rock climbing.