How does a yoga studio with no electrical outlets to plug a sound system still resonate with the tranquil ambiance of waves, wind, and wildlife? By hosting its classes on the ocean. The instructors of Paddle Board Bliss beckon students to the calm waters of Laguna Beach, Dana Point, and Mission Bay to practice invigorating yoga atop paddleboards. While balancing on their boards, exercisers progress through a series of traditional yoga maneuvers that call for them to stand for poses, sit for meditative exercises, and do cannonballs for attention. If the ocean’s soothing whispers aren’t enough, a live guitarist strums alongside students during Acoustic Flow sessions.
Although its yoga classes have received a lot of press, Paddle Board Bliss isn’t exclusively a yoga studio. It also dedicates its time to fostering aquatic exploration with paddleboard rentals, tours, and lessons.
Since opening in 2003, Bird Rock Yoga has supported its students' journey to health and wellness by creating a calming, welcoming environment for its all-levels Vinyasa Flow classes. Every day of the week, yogis settle into the lightly heated spacious practice room, where certified instructors lead a series of continuous physical postures linked together with deep, mindful breaths. Specialty classes, such as the Surfer's Flow, are designed to help athletes develop the strength, endurance, and flexibility needed to hang not just ten, but any number of their choosing. Those looking to enhance their practice even further may benefit from one of Bird Rock's intensive, subject-focused workshops, or can become a certified cobra impersonator through their Yoga Alliance–recognized teacher-training program.
During Pacific Coast Kettlebells' boot-camp classes, exercisers bounce from one timed movement to the next with short breathers in between. At one station, they might do kettlebell swings or pull-ups, at the next, they might grunt through presses or tire flips. It's all part of an approach that balances intense cardio exercise with strength training in an effort to build lean, muscular physiques. Thanks to the nature of this approach, classes at Pacific Coast Kettlebells are quick and efficient. Classes are personal, too, since groups are capped at 15 exercisers.
Together, breath and movement form the basis for all of Reach Yoga's heated yoga classes, taught by a staff of 23 teachers in the locally owned and operated studio in the heart of Pacific Beach. Set to inspirational music, these Vinyasa flow classes are designed to help students of all levels and abilities reach their goals. And these "goals" aren't limited to physical fitness; boosting mental and emotional health is also a big part of the studio's mission. Students may take advantage of more than 70 complimentary parking spots. Classes are held between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.
At Namaste Pacific Yoga, seasoned instructors dissolve stress and its symptoms with a relaxing blend of stretches, exhalations, and meditation. The studio specializes in Ashtanga Vinyasa instruction, which weaves ancient poses and deep breaths into a flowing sequence that cultivates strength, flexibility, and stress relief. Some routines also feature focusing exercises, which clear the mind of panic-inducing thoughts, such as a giraffe nabbing your diary from your second-story window. In addition to sharing personalized tips during group classes, teachers lead one-on-one yoga sessions to customize students' practices as they perfect their technique and alignment. After class, students may steam away any lingering tension in the studio's showers.
In addition to bolstering bodies with holistic exercise, studio owner Chris van der Merwe fortifies them with a stockade of vitamins, probiotics, and other nutritional supplements. His nutrition boot camps teach attendees how to boost energy by eating healthy meals that eschew pizza-wrapped candy bars stuffed with pizza-wrapped candy bars.
Outfitted with barres that stretch across wall-length mirrors, Barre Body looks like a ballet studio at first glance. However, its students aren't necessarily ballerinas, and they definitely aren't there to dance. The company's instructors—former gymnasts and competitive dancers—transform the ballet barre into an exercise tool with which students can stretch, tighten, and tone their bodies. The routines draw inspiration from yoga, ballet, and Pilates, combining high-intensity controlled movements at the barre with mat-based stretches and exercises with free weights. During select classes, the instructors heat the studio, which helps students finally stretch far enough to tickle their own toes.