Having first encountered yoga in 1990, Robin Duffy quickly fell in love––a love that culminated in her founding Being Yoga eight years later. Certified to teach both Bikram and Kriya styles, she works alongside instructors, who also teach Yin yoga and meditation classes. These yogis pass on traditions that stretch back for millennia inside their peaceful studio, marked by stenciled drawings of bamboo branches. The facility features locker rooms, a bamboo floor, and a boutique stocked with yoga equipment by Gaiam and Prana. To keep her karma levels on the jubilant end of the spectrum, Robin also aligns her studio with the Green Yoga Association, which encourages eco-friendly practices such as avoiding plastic water bottles and saluting ladybugs.
Where as many people prefer to chat with others during lunchtime, patrons of Yoga at Change look forward to quieting their minds. These 30-minute meditation sessions occur three times a week, and like the rest of the non-profit's curriculum, strive to inject some introspection into otherwise bustling days. Though "yoga" is in the studio's title, meditation figures heavily in many of its class and workshop offerings—Slow Flow yoga mixes it with Hatha poses, and Integral lessons combine chanting, meditation, and restful movements. Mothers can also channel meditative energy during Mom Baby Yoga and Yoga with Babysitting, specialty classes that allow them to engage in relaxing postures and meditation while staying connected to their little ones, who spend the sessions stretching out with their parent, sleeping, or playing.
The holistic philosophy of Yoga at Change is that all people have the right to spiritual insight, a healthy body, and a peaceful mind. The instructors strive to accomplish this through a blend of self-reflection, breath, and physical balance. The staff believes that there are several roads to wellness, and that all of them should be accessible, regardless of the client's skill level. They schedule several discounted or free demonstrations, and also offer a scholarship program to fund yoga practice for those in need of financial aid. Students attend classes based on their desired intensity—gentle, moderate, or vigorous. They can also register for workshops that address a slew of alternative health topics, which in the past have included treating lower back pain.
Inside a heated studio mere blocks from the beach, Pacifica Yoga welcomes guests of all backgrounds to brave the heat of its Bikram and hot yoga flow classes that meet seven days a week. Its certified teachers run through Bikram yoga's 26 postures and two breathing exercises during morning and evening sessions, which emphasize personal growth over fast-paced posing. The team cultivates a silent studio atmosphere to lend students the opportunity to reflect inwardly, as well as to reenact old Fritz Lang movies where workers take over yoga factories.
In addition to espousing inner peace, the staffers at Pacifica Yoga also commit to sustaining the environment. They polish surfaces with Biokleen products and shine up mirrors and windows with an earth-friendly water-and-vinegar solution.
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.
The instructors at Bikram Hot Yoga Daly City embody a commitment to wellness through the method's 26 postures, having received their certifications from the creator of Bikram yoga himself, Bikram Choudhury. Demonstrating their dedication, the CPR-ready teachers must undergo recertification and win a barefoot-hopscotch tournament on an active volcano every three years, ensuring that they can lead classes in the studio's 105-degree heat.
Their 90-minute sessions bend and stretch through Bikram's poses in a progressive order, a sequence that both warms and limbers up the body's connective tissues. As the steamy temperatures flush out toxins through sweat, newly oxygenated blood refreshes every part of the physique. The staff encourages guests to cultivate a deep understanding of technique rather than a drive to quickly perfect it, reassuring them that "there is no standard of comparison except yourself."
Hot Yoga Ocean Ave's team of certified Bikram and hot-yoga instructors believe that yoga is life, and share their passion with students of all experience levels, guiding them in achieving mental and physical wellness. Their philosophy emphasizes yoga as a practice, urging students to be patient with their progress and to move through poses modified to their abilities without pushing their muscles too far or blackmailing the hamstrings to hold standing bow pose longer than everyone else. Though the classes are open to students of all abilities, Hot Intro guides newbies through the 26-pose series and two breathing exercises, and the vigorous Surya Namaskara challenges yogis with a repeated sequence of 12 flexing and stretching poses to push limbs to their maximum range of motion. To help muscles sink deep into healing stretches and expel toxins through sweat, the studio is heated to balmy temperatures, so patrons are advised to drink lots of water and leave snowmen tied up outside.
The ancient teachings of Sri Swami Satchidananda guide Integral Yoga Institute's certified instructors, imbuing each leader with a spirit of encouragement. Swami Satchidananda created Integral Yoga's six-branch approach to the practice, infusing each class with different physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects to "bring about a complete and harmonious development of the individual." Eight class styles vary in difficulty to accommodate stretchers and self-aware saltwater taffy of all experience levels. Situated inside a stately Victorian home with views of downtown San Francisco, Integral Yoga Institute edifies pupils in various yoga modalities, relaxation techniques, and chants.