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.
When the climbers of Planet Granite say that community anchors everything they do, they have a history of outreach to back it up. After Castle Rock State Park appeared on California’s closure list, Planet Granite’s team quickly organized a fundraiser to save the sanctuary. They pledged $10,000 in matching funds, threw an auction, scheduled guest speakers, and obtained support from companies such as REI. In one night, they raised $20,725.
This kind of response has typified Planet Granite’s team since opening its first facility in 1994. One of the first climbing gyms in the country, Planet Granite has expanded to three gyms in Belmont, San Francisco, and Sunnyvale. The diverse array of climbing resources at each location led Popsugar to name the gym conglomerate one of the top five in San Francisco in 2011. At the Sunnyvale location, members scale 25,000 square feet of climbable surfaces that ascend from low bouldering terrains to 60-foot walls.
In keeping with their commitment to community, the staff tailors instruction and climbing routes to every ability level and affinity for hand sweatiness. They also supervise each gyms’ fully equipped fitness centers, ranging from CrossFit to yoga, which provides a peaceful counterbalance to the full-body workout of rock climbing.
Having first encountered yoga in 1990, Robin Duffy quickly fell in love––a love that culminated in her founding Being Yoga eight years later. Certified to teach both Bikram and Kriya styles, she works alongside instructors, who also teach Yin yoga and meditation classes. These yogis pass on traditions that stretch back for millennia inside their peaceful studio, marked by stenciled drawings of bamboo branches. The facility features locker rooms, a bamboo floor, and a boutique stocked with yoga equipment by Gaiam and Prana. To keep her karma levels on the jubilant end of the spectrum, Robin also aligns her studio with the Green Yoga Association, which encourages eco-friendly practices such as avoiding plastic water bottles and saluting ladybugs.
Inside a heated studio mere blocks from the beach, Pacifica Yoga welcomes guests of all backgrounds to brave the heat of its Bikram and hot yoga flow classes that meet seven days a week. Its certified teachers run through Bikram yoga's 26 postures and two breathing exercises during morning and evening sessions, which emphasize personal growth over fast-paced posing. The team cultivates a silent studio atmosphere to lend students the opportunity to reflect inwardly, as well as to reenact old Fritz Lang movies where workers take over yoga factories.
In addition to espousing inner peace, the staffers at Pacifica Yoga also commit to sustaining the environment. They polish surfaces with Biokleen products and shine up mirrors and windows with an earth-friendly water-and-vinegar solution.
Studio Rincon’s diverse staff of yoga, dance, and fitness professionals believe there are multiple ways to burn a calorie. On specialized sprung floors that help prevent injury, they lead high-energy kickboxing, Zumba, and hip-hop classes throughout the week. They also helm traditional Vinyasa yoga classes and modern YogaRok classes set to upbeat music, instead of the usual soothing sounds of a whale snoring in the jungle. For younger clients, the instructors also offer kids’ hip hop, ballet and tap, as well as small group summer camps. In order to be as inclusive as possible, the studio offers classes accessible for all ages and genders and never requires a membership fee, encouraging visitors to drop in any time.