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 14 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. On November 8, The Yoga Shala is hosting a show featuring Dave Stringer, a musical performer who practices Kirtan, a form of devotional chanting. The studio also offers teacher trainings each spring and fall and plans a group yoga retreat and a 200-hour immersion to south India in January.
Curves' 30-minute workout whittles women with a signature circuit of hydraulic resistance machines designed to work with female bodies and promote weight loss, protect against osteoporosis, and deal with arthritis. Ladies can hop into the circuit circle at any of 13 strength-training stations, each of which works to tone two major muscle groups. After 30 seconds of repetitions, they step onto a nearby recovery board, which welcomes women to walk, jog, or speed-skate in place for a half-minute. This cardio burst jolts the heart rate, torching more calories as exercisers move onto the next resistance-training machine. An experienced trainer is always nearby to help manage participants’ machine maneuvering and Play Doh–based muscle making.
The next time you're on the roof of a five-story building, look down at the ground, and you'll get a rough idea of just how high people climb at Touchstone Climbing. The gym's seven locations feature lead walls that rise as high as 50 feet off the ground, though height isn't the only dimension that makes the space feel immense. Each spot has at least 11,000 square feet of climbing terrain, not to mention as much as 3,000 square feet of bouldering.
To prevent newcomers from feeling intimidated by the magnitude of the environment, the gym holds introductory classes. During these sessions, participants learn the basic techniques they'll need if they want to conquer the gym's crack systems and boulder problems. The classes are also an opportunity for students to scope out the terrain features at each location, such as Diablo Rock Gym's steep prow, which juts out crookedly like a thumbs up from a dizzy ballerina. While they're at it, the visitors might notice something else: the social nature of the gym. As the San Francisco Chronicle recounts, the fact that lead climbs require two people means that climbers are constantly asking around for new partners and chatting back and forth as they ascend.
Each location also boasts a weight room, cardio machines, and a studio space for everything from yoga to spinning to core classes.
After being diagnosed with juvenile arthritis at the age of 6, Kettlebells of Fresno's Dina Juve spent more than 15 years in a sedentary lifestyle. At 21, she decided to take charge of her health and began to educate herself on the principles of a healthy lifestyle. Today, this mother of three, certified Russian-kettlebell instructor, and personal trainer stays in shape using the same exercises that she teaches in her fitness classes and private group training sessions. Her kettlebell workouts have even been featured on the KSEE 24 News.
During training sessions, Dina uses weighted cast-iron kettlebells and the TRX suspension-training system to help clients of all fitness levels increase strength, endurance, and muscle tone throughout their entire bodies. Using the knowledge she gained to turn her life around, Dine also helps her clients reach their fitness goals with nutritional guidance, giving them the know-how to steer clear of tempting chocolate-covered barbells.
In 1976, educator, musician, and kinesiologist Robin Wes longed for a children's gym that prioritized personal growth over competition. Unveiled at a time when physical-education classes pushed students to focus almost exclusively on winning, Robin's program was swiftly adopted and is now used in more than 300 Little Gyms worldwide. Robin still pens original music to accompany lessons, which engage whippersnappers 4 months old–12 years old with gymnastics, dance, karate, and parent and child activities.
Each of The Little Gym's classes introduces simple movements that sharpen motor skills and set brains whirring, allowing kids to progress at their own pace until they can finally build a computer out of macaroni and glitter. Staff members strive to build a base for lifelong social skills and self-assurance with each exercise, including activities rooted purely in fun, such as summer camps or birthday parties, which helped The Little Gym to earn title of #1 Birthday Chain in Parents Magazine.
This expansive and elegant fitness facility boasts a well-rounded offering of equipment and group classes to ensure each and every part of your body is worked out equally. Zumba, Pilates, pole fitness, and cycling classes, among others, are taught in gleaming and spotless studio spaces, while the equipment rooms, packed full of high-quality workout apparatuses, buzz with human-powered energy. Your Groupon is good for 29 whole days of unlimited use of the facilities, so suit up for a month-long treadmill race against yourself on the specialized cardio equipment, ensure your biceps are bulging sufficiently for your upcoming cotillion by pumping iron in the machine and free-weight area, or drop into a dozen or so group sweat-sessions for new friends and tandem exercise encouragement. The gym also offers daycare and a junior fitness program for kids aged 8–12.