Yasa Yoga’s name comes from the Sanskrit words for “good-hearted,” a reflection of the studio’s noncompetitive, welcoming community of yogis and instructors. They gather to practice in a red-tiled, Mission-style building originally constructed in 1912. Husband-and-wife duo Ryan and Stephanie Besler lead a majority of the classes, accommodating students of all skill levels with a variety of yoga styles. During Yasa Basics classes, students absorb foundational yoga poses and breathing techniques in a naturally lit practice space with 20-foot arched ceilings. Yasa Flow yoga instructors crank up the room temperature to bolster flexibility and teach challenging, inverted moves during workouts suited to intermediate stretchers. Students also gather inside the building—Charlie Chaplin’s former home and production studio—for a variety of other classes such as prenatal, deep-stretch, and flow-style sessions.
Though each course strengthens core muscles and focuses the brain, students also calm their minds with meditation or revel in the camaraderie of like-minded classmates as they learn to control their breathing or tendency to constantly blurt out their credit-card numbers.
At Bikram Yoga Santa Barbara, instructors, each of whom was personally certified by Bikram yoga?s eponymous founder Bikram Choudhury, guide students through 26 classic poses in 105-degree heat and 40% humidity. The patient teachers accommodate yogis of all skill levels, modifying poses and offering corrections during each class? 90 minutes of sitting, standing, balancing, and core-strengthening. The recently-renovated studio with new flooring and heating system helps melt muscles to make limbs more pliable while summoning sweat, boosting blood flow, detoxifying the body, and soothing soreness from injuries, stress, and overzealous hokey pokeys.
Paula Brown has been practicing and teaching yoga since 1999, ever since she discovered that yoga went beyond mere exercise. As a registered Yoga Alliance instructor, she draws on techniques developed 2,500 years ago in India. Each posture cultivates flexibility and strength while calming the mind and fostering health. Paula's style is based on the teachings of B.K.S. Iyengar, a yoga master who recently celebrated his 90th birthday. Iyengar's method is unique in that he emphasizes proper alignment, timing, and sequencing while moving between postures.
All of Paula's 14 instructors offer daily classes and private sessions inside the more than 9,000-square-foot Yoga Space studio, built in an old bank and furnished with eco-friendly paint, all-natural air, and an abundance of light. In addition to three yoga rooms, the studio includes a healing center that offers massages and more, an outside patio, and a tea bar. When students finish their classes, they can browse through the studio's store, which is stocked with yoga mats and clothes made with organic cotton and recycled karma.
Custom Workouts might feel a bit smaller than your average chain gym—that's part of its appeal. The private setting allows gym-goers to work out on top-notch equipment without feeling intimated or overwhelmed. Staying true to its commitment to the individual, the gym also offers personal training with a reasonable price tag. But those who crave the motivation of peers can opt for group classes such as Zumba and spinning.
Diane Curriden might wear a variety of different hats—she's a personal trainer, yoga teacher, and an alternative healer—but helping her clients feel great and heal naturally is always the goal. At Valley Alternative Healing, she helps her clients with a variety of health ailments and concerns, including depression, weight management, and headaches. She provides heart-centered therapy and reiki healing along with personal training, yoga, and lymphatic therapy.