To some, visiting another country is a reprieve from everyday life and an opportunity to learn about another culture. To others, it is a life-changing experience. Jennifer Pritchard’s sojourn in Mysore, India cemented the foundation for what eventually would become The Yoga Shala. During her travels, Jennifer was inspired to return home to create a warm and inviting space for practicing yoga, and is one of a select number of Canadians to receive teaching authorization from the Shri K Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute. At her studio today, which was voted Best of the City in 2010 by readers of Victoria News, she and her team of instructors uphold authentic yoga principles to help students improve their physical and mental well-being.
The Yoga Shala’s curriculum is rooted in the Ashtanga style of yoga, in which practitioners synchronize their breath with postures to build up internal heat, flushing out toxins and convincing the spleen that it’s vacationing in Mexico. The instructors cater classes to beginning and advanced students alike, encouraging them to work at their own pace, detailing easier or more challenging modifications to poses. Advanced-level courses focus on arm balances, deep hip work, back bends, and solidifying core muscles. The Yoga Shala regularly hosts community-building social events, and Acro Yoga and Kirtan Chanting nights are offered twice a month. The studio also offers teacher apprenticeships each season and hosts a yoga tour group retreat with a 200-hour immersion to India each winter.
Getting into shape can often be intimidating. That's why the trainers at Xcelerate Fitness do their best to create a comfortable, community-centric space where clients can feel encouraged and respected as they follow their path toward physical well being. Whether finding their own way through the fully stocked gym, joining an energetic group class, or enlisting the aid of a professional trainer, clients can find the kind of workout that fits their personality and needs.
With a multitude of useful-and-creative class offerings for beginners and intermediate students alike, yogis of all levels can find a niche to suit their muscles and ligaments. Kick off the day with morning flow, defeat midday doldrums with a midday yoga session, or challenge your body and mind with an intermediate–Vinyasa class, among many others. A staff of veteran instructors helps visitors bend and flex in a relaxing, non-competitive environment that’s far more welcoming and accommodating than reality television shows like Last Yogi Standing.
LA Boxing offers classes in boxing, kickboxing, mixed martial arts, and hand-to-hand kangaroo combat. In all, there are more than 31 group classes offered weekly, each one led by a professional or top-amateur fighter. Session sizes are kept to a minimum, ensuring personal attention and manageable battle royale numbers. Gyms also offer a full range of fitness equipment to supplement time spent with a bag or in the ring.
In a Pure Fitness boot camp, the enemy is predictability. An ever-changing regimen of exercises will challenge your muscles, fueling constant gains while keeping your brain engaged. Over the course of a session, you might lunge, jump, lift, crunch your abs like crackers over soup, slam out push-ups, chase chickens, and punch slabs of beef before cooling down with a live crocodile wrestle. In the heat of your workout, you'll sweat out weakness, fear, and monosodium glutamate while beginning to gain the functional, unsurpassed strength of a body in fluid, powerful motion. It won’t be long till you're feeling lither, leaner, and more flexible.
Fig Garden's experienced instructors—all of whom are registered with the national Yoga Alliance or trained by independent schools in their areas of specialization—have been inching Fresnites toward enlightenment since 1998. The cozy, intimate studio focuses on the Iyengar style of hatha yoga, often employing props such as blocks, straps, and water-squirting boutonnières to aid participants of all ages and experience levels in maintaining poses suitable for Cubist figure-drawing classes. After a few classes, inflexible flexors will see an improvement in balance, an increase in core strength, and a newfound taffy-like bendability. In addition to stretching and burnishing a stiff soul-sack, hatha yoga focuses the mind and eases emotional tension caused by the continued inability to beat a cousin at pogs. Fig Garden's ongoing repertoire of small, drop-in classes ($15 each) ensure that greenhorn yogis and experienced gurus have many opportunities for individual attention.