As a new mother, Tanya Rose Bordner found herself suffering from the severe headaches, hormonal imbalances, and emotional lows that often accompany motherhood. She knew she needed to take better care of herself and decided to try Bikram yoga. Though skeptical at first, she found herself hooked after one class when she discovered that she felt better physically, emotionally, and spiritually, and she eventually decided to become a Bikram-yoga instructor.
Now, Tanya and her team of certified instructors—all of whom have trained for several hundred hours—strive to share the benefits that Tanya felt in that first class with others. Using two breathing exercises designed to circulate oxygenated blood, these instructors lead students through 26 postures that carve out toned muscles and pump up flexibility. The classes take place in a 105-degree room with a recently renovated rubber floor, and after each session, staff members encourage students to press an ice-cream cone or the provided frozen lavender towels against their heated brows.
Founder swami Vishnudevananda created the nonprofit Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm to foster a community of students and instructors interested in introspection, self-discovery, and their holistic health. Located within an 80-acre expanse of the Sierra Nevada's foothills, the secluded farm enfolds visitors with oak- and pine-filled hills, three nearby rivers, and enough wildlife to stage a cartoon musical.
Under the tutelage of three swamis, a staff of volunteer instructors uses the peaceful setting to help focus students? attention on personal growth and bodily awareness during traditional outdoor yoga classes and specialized workshops. They faithfully teach the five points of yoga?proper exercise, breathing, relaxation, diet, and meditation?as they lead students down the four paths of yoga. Through the path of action, the path of devotion, Ashtanga, and the yoga of knowledge, they help their students forge a union of body, mind, and spirit. They weave specialized psychology, philosophy, and spirituality lessons into their asanas, which are bolstered with wellness programs and treatments such as massages with herbal oils, nutrition and detoxification programs, and ayurvedic therapies. To further unite their students with the world around them, the yogis promote sustainability with well water, solar-power systems, and an organic vegetable garden with which they can learn permaculture strategies.
The farm has onsite accommodations, including tents and heated cabins that overlook a pond. To keep their guests well-fed, a team of cooks whips up organic vegetarian cuisine following yogic and ayurvedic dietary principles, which means that meals are free of meat, fish, eggs, onions, and caffeinated beverages.
The 17-strong staff at Sattva Yoga, Pilates & Ayurveda brings an abundance of experience and certifications to each class, whether yoga, Pilates, or Barre. KCRA awarded the wellness emporium the title of Best Pilates Studio in 2010 and nominated it as a finalist for Best Yoga Studio in 2011. The team gears its yoga classes toward helping participants achieve tranquility, while directing their Pilates focus toward strengthening core muscles both in clients and in apples. They also teach two variations of Booty Barre, one meant to augment a Pilates regimen with its cardio component, and one that builds on both yoga and Pilates with long, fluid dance movements.
At East Wind Yoga, instructors have options for every skill level. Basic classes ease newcomers and returning students into the body mechanics of yoga. Flow classes improve their breathing and cardiovascular endurance, and yin classes combine postures from hatha yoga with deep stretches to address any joint compression and misalignment. Held in a room heated to 105?110 degrees, hot yoga classes help purge toxins after a long day of sleep-testing sarcophagi. Intense Yosu yoga targets balance through the use of soft and rubbery BOSU balls. Each of the studio's two locations offers a welcoming interior of paper lanterns, exposed brick, and stacks of colorful yoga mats for rental.
The instructors at Granite Bay Pilates and Yoga lead students through challenging classes to sculpt muscles with ancient southern Asian poses and time-tested isometric exercises. The certified staff guides individual and small-group workouts, emphasizing form and alignment as they impart the basics of yoga’s gentle movements to build balance and flexibility, and Pilates’s controlled, muscle-isolating exercises to develop core strength. During beginners' Pilates workshops, students bask in personalized instructor attention as they practice mat-based exercises. In addition to melting stress with low-impact movements, students can seek relief for their bodies and minds with functional bodywork, performed by certified massage therapists.
Inside ShriKula Yoga's spacious, citrus-hued studio, owner Trish Pietrzak fosters a community-oriented collective of instructors and students who gather for classes designed to accommodate all skill levels and physical abilities. Under the tutelage of certified instructors, students work at their own level during more than 25 weekly classes, such as yin yoga, yoga for kids aged 7–12, and hot power yoga held in a separate, 100-degree room. The main studio boasts temperatures of 80 degrees, which helps promote pliable muscles and comfort cold-blooded spirit geckos. Students looking for a way to improve their flexibility outside of class can try out the apparatus wall, where a system of supportive ropes helps them achieve advanced poses safely. After class, mat mavens can change back into the costumes of their pedestrian alter egos in men's and women's changing rooms, then enjoy a complimentary cup of tea in the Kula lounge and tea bar or in their outdoor seating area.