Stephanie Raye spent nearly a decade healing physically and growing spiritually through yoga before she started teaching in 2002. During each class at her studio, Bikram Yoga Downtown LA, she and her fellow instructors lead a 90-minute series of 26 postures and two breathing exercises inside a heated studio, which keeps muscles limber and reduces injuries. Every posture prepares the body for the next pose, pumps freshly oxygenated blood throughout the body, and brings health and strength to students of all ages and skill levels.
The space is as appealing as the instruction. Gilded with gold mandalas and lotus-inspired patterns, gray walls open up to a spacious studio with floor-to-ceiling mirrors and windows. Anti-bacterial and odor-resistant flooring keep yoga conditions sanitary while students practice, and locker rooms and showers help them clean up after class. A boutique area brims with yoga clothes and accessories, and two-hour parking validation ensures cars have plenty of room to graze on grass, which cars eat now by the way.
Art isn't confined to paintings and sculptures in museums and galleries. That's the idea behind Body Art Expo, a celebration of art on a different type of canvas?the body. At the traveling event, more than 200 exhibitors and thousands of guests put their tattoos and piercings on full display. Guests can enter tattoo contest for a chance to win in categories such as Best Movie Character, Best Portrait, and Most Unusual. They can also get a professional to pierce their tongue or tattoo the event's schedule on their bicep. Celebrity artists, including LA Ink's Ruthless and NY Ink's Tommy Montoya, often roam the aisles, chatting with visitors, dancing along to live music, or attending demos.
Bowlers on a quest for either recreation or league glory can soak up the retro vibe at La Habra 300 Bowl until at least 11 p.m. every night. On Friday and Saturday, cosmic effects add a festive glow to nocturnal bowling (extra fee), evoking the excitement of outer space without the danger posed by reckless spaceship drivers. The center also offers party packages that furnish groups with lane space and shoes but require partygoers to bring their own cakes.
At Top Tennis at La Habra Tennis Center, shots skip and spring across a dozen pro-grade courts seven days per week. Recognizing that tennis, like competitive puppy petting, is one of the few sports that can be played from childhood through the golden years, the professionally staffed USTA facility makes sure to serve up programs for all ages and skill levels. Programs for advanced players provide competitive and tournament training, whereas youth services, such as 8 and Under programs, teach pintsize racket holders the basics on smaller-scale courts. Yearly memberships, USTA leagues, and pay-to-play options round out the center's arsenal of specialties, and an onsite pro-shop stocks the latest shoes, rackets, and accessories so players won't have to download gear onto their bodies before each match.
The experienced instructors at One Body Studios specialize in two of the more meditative workouts around: yoga and Pilates. Their classes, which include Pilates Mat, and Pilates Reformer, tend to affect both the body and the mind, strengthening core muscles while deflating stress. They also offer ballet barre, which uses classical ballet training methods to create a challenging, non-impact cardio workout. No previous ballet training is necessary and all levels are welcome.
If you're looking for a more upbeat workout, the studio also hosts belly-dancing lessons that teach students how to shimmy, shake, and wiggle their way out of air vents. On top of it all, a resident massage therapist alleviates aches and tension during 30- or 60-minute massage sessions.
Like any good moms, the founders of Kidz Spot want their kids to do two things: learn and have fun. So when they opened their recreation center for kids ages 6 months to 10 years old, they didn't just furnish it with modular play areas and a miniature climbing wall. They also created a classroom where certified teachers and professional engineers teach workshops in the subjects of reading, writing, math, and science. The classroom, with its picnic tables and hardwood floors, also doubles as a private party room, where kids can nosh on pizza and cake while sitting for temporary tattoos or face painting. Kidz Spot just opened in June of 2014, so the facilities are brand new and monsters haven't had enough time to find it yet.