Bikram Yoga Petaluma is the last in a long line of yoga studios opened by Lynn Whitlow. When this yoga championship judge isn't teaching on her home turf, she travels to other studios to lead Bikram yoga seminars and workshops. She and her team of instructors guide students of all levels through a series of 26 poses and two breathing exercises during each 90-minute class.
These intense workouts take place inside a heated studio that has whimsical touches. On the beige walls, there are posters of cartoon characters striking yoga poses, which serve as an amusing guide. The boutique has apparel from the Yoga Hell clothing line, which has a cartoon devil—an playful allusion to all the high temperatures, challenging poses, and tridents you must dodge in a typical hot yoga class.
TRX suspension training was originally developed to whip Navy SEALS into peak physical condition. Inspired by their chiseled physiques, everyday civilians have taken to the regimen, aided by the group classes at Inspired Fitness Training Center. Helmed by trainer Jennifer Fujii, a three-time USA National Aerobic Gymnastics gold medalist, patrons of all fitness levels work their bodies on the portable suspension-training machine to build strength, flexibility, and balance. The SPINNING-certified studio also hosts pedaling sessions on a fleet of more than 20 stationary bikes, and boot camps challenge guests with a total-body workout proven more effective and safe than playing tug of war with a tank. A spacious independent workout area, chock full of free weights, weight machines, and cardio equipment, complements the classes, along with personal-training sessions and nutrition counseling.
"Home of the Fighting SHE-Weezels," boasts SHE Academy’s website, where a sharp-taloned, grinning weasel dons a furiously furrowed brow and a dainty pink hair bow. This combination of fearsomeness and femininity mimics the comprehensive workshops found at SHE Academy, whose name stands for "self-defense, healthy lifestyles, and environmental and economic training." Workshops prep women and girls for real-world situations, sharpening their physical combat abilities and verbal assertiveness, boosting their body images, and increasing their environmental fluency. The academy also encourages further study, sponsoring a scholarship for participants who exhibit a passion for women's rights and ecological sustainability.
Founder and president Helen Grieco is a women's advocate who used struggles from her own childhood as a springboard toward a lifetime of anti-violence activism. Combining a bachelor's degree in women's study with a master's in female-focused clinical psychology, Helen spent more than two decades as a counselor and cofounded the anti-violence organization Brave People.
An experienced gymnastics instructor and fitness enthusiast, Gretchen Iniguez firmly believes a fit body leads to a happy life. The seasoned personal trainer discovered Pilates in 2005, instantly falling in love with the way it strengthened her core muscles, improved her flexibility, and uplifted her spirits. She trained for years in the Pilates practices and is certified to teach pre- and postnatal clients and clients with scoliosis, injuries, or pathologies. Since the opening of her own studio, Gretchen has continued her education, earning certifications in holistic health coaching from the Institute for Interactive Nutrition (IIN), Comprehensive Pilates from Body Arts and Science International (BASI), and Balanced Body Barre instruction.
Within Lifestyle Pilates's sunny and spacious facility, Gretchen conducts Pilates classes for men and women of all athletic abilities. She guides students through lively strength-training exercises using a variety of equipment, including spring-loaded resistance machines, hand weights, and exercise balls. Gretchen strives to motivate her students by keeping workouts fresh and engaging, providing constant encouragement, and screaming onomatopoeias when it looks like they're getting tired.
The studio at CrossFit Sonoma County pulses with high-intensity workout routines. Led by coaches Sarah Pierce and Dan Schmieding, who both compete in national CrossFit events and hold multiple CrossFit certifications, students undergo varied exercises from the scheduled Workout of the Day. Sarah and Dan circumnavigate the floor, guiding movements, ensuring safety, and gingerly removing any unnoticed "Kick Me" signs pinned to T-shirts. Combining weightlifting, gymnastics, and track-and-field techniques, CrossFit aims to build resilience, strength, and versatility, equipping students with the stamina for athletic and everyday activities. Instructors scale each workout up or down to accommodate individual levels of fitness or exercisers recovering from restrictive injuries. Encompassing more than 3,000 square feet, CrossFit Sonoma County’s gym—nicknamed “the playground”—houses atypical equipment such as pommel horses, suspended rings, tires, sledgehammers, and weight sleds to facilitate each patron’s fitness goals.
Across its two locations, Yoga One offers up as more than 300 classes per month. That's 300 opportunities to get up and move, with options covering everything from Vinyasa yoga and mat Pilates to belly dancing and modern jazz dance. Even those with mobility issues will find themselves catered to––Yoga One specializes in yoga therapy, where trainers guide students through customized poses designed to help relieve stiffness, chronic pain and fatigue, and a whole host of other ailments.