Where as many people prefer to chat with others during lunchtime, patrons of Yoga at Change look forward to quieting their minds. These 30-minute meditation sessions occur three times a week, and like the rest of the non-profit's curriculum, strive to inject some introspection into otherwise bustling days. Though "yoga" is in the studio's title, meditation figures heavily in many of its class and workshop offerings—Slow Flow yoga mixes it with Hatha poses, and Integral lessons combine chanting, meditation, and restful movements. Mothers can also channel meditative energy during Mom Baby Yoga and Yoga with Babysitting, specialty classes that allow them to engage in relaxing postures and meditation while staying connected to their little ones, who spend the sessions stretching out with their parent, sleeping, or playing.
The holistic philosophy of Yoga at Change is that all people have the right to spiritual insight, a healthy body, and a peaceful mind. The instructors strive to accomplish this through a blend of self-reflection, breath, and physical balance. The staff believes that there are several roads to wellness, and that all of them should be accessible, regardless of the client's skill level. They schedule several discounted or free demonstrations, and also offer a scholarship program to fund yoga practice for those in need of financial aid. Students attend classes based on their desired intensity—gentle, moderate, or vigorous. They can also register for workshops that address a slew of alternative health topics, which in the past have included treating lower back pain.
Traditionally, the zoo provides the comfort of seeing animals that could not make a surprise visit to your backyard; this is a comfort CuriOdyssey dispatches to give weight to its message of science education. The menagerie of nearly 100 mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and birds primarily showcases local species like the Channel Island fox and the red-shouldered hawk, which have relatively small niches that have been squeezed by environmental degradation and human encroachment. Native species can be glimpsed within a complex of 25 lush habitats, including a 4,000-square-foot walk-through aviary and a replica of the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Sunny, outdoor gardens fill more than 1.3 acres with plots that rotate with the seasons and plants to attract butterflies and hummingbirds for live study. Among the science exhibits, Forces explores fundamental forces in nature such as gravity and magnetism. All the exhibits are designed to enable close observation and experimentation characteristic of the scientific method. This aim is supported by shows, such as daily otter feedings—spied from behind the glass of a cross-sectioned riverbank—and a variety of classes.
With the help of her kids, certified personal trainer Jodi Hamilton-Eichensehr designed a family-friendly playspace celebrating the fun of fitness with games and obstacle courses centered on a giant animal-themed jungle gym. Guarded by a toucan and gorilla, the gym's labyrinthine interior conceals bridges, tunnels, ladders and slides, as well as a trapdoor to the Fountain of Youth. As kids traverse the gym, their bodies covertly enjoy a full cardio workout while building balance, hand-eye coordination, and confidence. Small-group fitness classes teach children about nutrition before building up their appetites with activities such as dashes through the jungle gym or sprints across a running track peppered with hurdles. Jodi also hosts adult classes, which emphasize fun, varied fitness, from cardio to strength training, to build parents' stamina during capture-the-flag tournaments at the office. Staffers also host unforgettable soirees for birthdays, which split guests' time between the jungle gym, party room, and video arcade.
Junior Gym's instructors believe that physical activity and self-confidence go hand in hand. That's why they keep all of their gymnastics, tumbling, and fitness programs noncompetitive. Kids aged 6 months to 7 years old can step through the entrance's blue archways and into the 4,600-square-foot fitness facility, where, under the tutelage of seasoned instructors, they might learn to walk a balance beam or partake in social-development activities replete with music, movement, and parachute games. These activities unfold amid a maze of mats, bars, and obstacles, which the instructors rearrange weekly to confuse any infants plotting a mutiny.
As an alternative to regular fitness classes, Junior Gym's instructors also host camps and the Terrific Tots program. During these loosely structured sessions, CPR- and first-aid-certified teachers tell stories, help kids make arts and crafts, and serve healthy snacks.
Fitness industry veteran Dulcinea Lee Hellings's goal is to bring a high-quality, effective exercise regimen to people who don't love big gyms or can't afford personal trainers. In 2004, she realized that mornings could be used for more than hitting the snooze button over and over for two hours, and founded Boot Camp "Morning Crunch!" to help fledgling exercisers whip into shape.
She designs her all-levels programs to be scream-free morning motivators⎯the first stop in her patrons' journey of daily accomplishments. The fast-paced, ever-changing circuit of strength and cardio exercises keeps bodies guessing and minds from becoming bored. Each of the boot camp's 12 outdoor locations has a different dedicated trainer who gets to know each student personally, remembering their names and memorizing any interesting freckle patterns. They complement their morning routines with a smattering of evening options for those who prefer to work out after the day's activities.
After an eye injury took boxing and martial-arts champion Eddie Croft out of the ring, he set himself a new goal: becoming the first person to train a boxing, kickboxing, and mixed-martial-arts champion. Having already trained a world kickboxing champion and five San Francisco Golden Gloves winners, he is well on his way.
Croft plies his trade at B Street Boxing, where his team of instructors teaches professionals and amateurs the arts of boxing, muay thai, kickboxing, Brazilian jiujitsu, and tae kwon do. In the red, white, and blue ring of B Street Boxing’s gym, students jab and spar, practice their skills on punching bags, or check their form in a mirrored wall. Conditioning and boot-camp sessions also keep students from all backgrounds fit while imparting dedication, discipline, and the desire to wear boxing gloves even in the shower.