The instructors at Bikram Yoga Seacliff embody a commitment to wellness through the method's 26 postures. Demonstrating their dedication, the CPR-certified teachers must undergo recertification every three years, ensuring that they can lead classes in the studio's 105-degree heat.
Their 90-minute sessions bend and stretch through Bikram's poses in a progressive order, a sequence that both warms and limbers up the body's connective tissues. As the steamy temperatures flush out toxins through sweat, newly oxygenated blood refreshes every part of the physique. The staff encourages guests to cultivate a deep understanding of technique rather than a drive to quickly perfect it, reassuring them that "there is no standard of comparison except yourself."
Yogic Motion is not your average yoga studio—it's much hotter. The experienced staff specializes in teaching heated-room yoga to beginners and those with physical limitations (chronic injuries, pregnancy, lack-of-being-really-hot, etc.).
Its rapid rise chronicled in in Forbes, Men’s Journal, and a parcel of other press, Hiking Yoga has sent massive waves of invigorated bliss washing up and down the west coast since its 2009 founding. Each of its outdoor excursions melds the cardio workout of hiking with the stretching and measured breaths of yoga. Certified instructors lead pupils through scenic vistas, or, in early-morning sessions, impressionistic dreamscapes, as they alternate between heart-pumping strides and yoga breaks suitable for neophytes and the pretzel-capable alike.
It’s no wonder Meir Leshem knows his way around a yoga mat—his teacher is Tim Miller, the first American certified to teach Ashtanga yoga. Leshem has also taken workshops from the developer of the Ashtanga style, Pattabi Jois. Rather than retreat into a solitary practice, he decided to share the knowledge he gained from the world-renowned yogis with students. In 1997, he opened SF Ashtanga Yoga, where continues to lead students through regular classes, as well as train aspiring yoga instructors during a teacher training program.
Leshem focuses on a style of yoga called Ashtanga, a word that literally means "yoga has eight limbs.” This translation isn’t a simple observation referring to a pet spider affectionately named yoga, though. Nor does it deal with actual human body parts. Rather, the eight “limbs” represent the eight metaphysical aspects of one’s practice, which include morality, concentration, mediation, and contemplation. Meir weaves a tapestry of poses that touch on all eight of the concepts, creating fluid sequences that work to forge flexible and strong muscles while strengthening the bond between body and mind. Through this, he hopes to cultivate inner and outer harmony that results in deep relaxation and overall good health.
What happens when a nightclub owner and yoga instructor partner up in a business venture? They create yoga workshops that incorporate heart-pumping bass and dubstep beats spun by the likes of FreQNasty and Rara Avis, in addition to traditional hatha and vinyasa lessons. Tim Dale and Tara Dale helm Yoga Tree, a studio that offers a wide variety of classes and yoga styles so that practitioners can find the style that best fits their practice, and instructors can lead classes in the specialty that speaks to them. And since opening their first studio in 1999, the duo has expanded their business to include six more locations throughout the Bay area to meet the demand for the Yoga Tree experience.
Teacher training courses are also available for those interested in leading their own classes. Students can opt for a 200- or 500-hour program, or elective classes that focus on Tantric yoga, handstands, and holistic Yoga Nidra. Yoga Tree also sells yoga-related products in their store, such as yoga attire, mats, books, and DVDs.
After 30 years in the corporate world of investment banking, Roy Bergmann needed a change. He decided to ditch conference rooms in favor of studio space, and founded The Mindful Body to explore his passion for yoga, massage, and wellness. He gathered a team of like-minded individuals with the goal of providing a healing and nurturing center.
Today, they employ more than 20 yoga teachers who conduct a suite of more than 60 classes per week, including such styles as the mind-body-synchronizing Ashtanga, the classic-asana-focused Hatha, and nurturing restorative and prenatal yoga for moms to be. Also on board are more than 45 massage therapists trained in everything from Swedish and deep tissue to the Chinese practice of organ massage to neuromuscular therapy, a system designed to make muscles smarter.