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.
Doctors of Chiropractic Fred Renaud and Isaac Birchall combine their experience and know-how to alleviate and prevent pain associated with the back, neck, and shoulders. They quickly treat symptoms with adjustments and develop plans to correct posture and movement to stop the pain from recurring. Their medical skills also extend to treating whiplash and arthritis.
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.
While all good doctors are thorough, Dr. Babar Rao takes the detection of skin cancer a bit further than most. As a pioneer and international authority on dermoscopy and confocal microscopy—two techniques that afford him highly magnified 3-D views of skin-borne lesions—Dr. Rao is able to discern with great accuracy whether epidermal aberrations require biopsy. His 20 years of experience as a pathologist and surgeon, as well his numerous publications and research projects, provides him with a deep understanding of advanced treatment methods, including MOHS micrographic surgery.
This knack for high precision also extends to his clinics' cosmetic offerings, carried out by his cadre of physicians across three state-of-the-art facilities. The team minimizes wrinkles and discoloration through a range of minimally invasive treatments that includes Botox and chemical peels, and also banishes unwelcome stubble or glued-on sideburns with laser hair removal.
Dr. Rao and his staff's expertise also reach abroad in their effort to give back to communities. Dr. Rao spearheaded an effort to open a burn center in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, which has significantly reduced the mortality rate for major burns, and his staff holds free cancer screenings both locally and in the Dominican Republic.
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.