With an ERYT certification from Yoga Alliance, more than 200 hours of training, and 2,500-plus hours of teaching experience under her belt, instructor Umang Goel strives to instill mind-body wellness in her students during classes in a variety of yoga modalities. During classes that can be filled with children and adults alike, Umang emphasizes the connections among the physical, spiritual, and spandex aspects of yoga practice, encouraging students to perform challenging poses as they clear their minds through meditation, which she studies in basic and advanced courses at the Art of Living Foundation. Umang incorporates life-coaching skills into classes such as laughter yoga, helping students of all skill levels reap a host of benefits, including stress reduction, increased body awareness, and sharper vision in the third eye.
Started by Billy Wee—a student of Bikram Choudhury, the original founder of Bikram yoga—Bikram Yoga East Bay is a hot yoga studio dedicated to helping its students discover the healthful benefits of Bikram yoga. In each 90-minute class, students stretch and twist into 26 postures, working every major organ system in the body while sweating in a room specially heated to help release toxins. Classes are intense and challenging, but suitable for beginners and experienced yogis alike, and the studio is spacious and mirror-lined. Open 364 days per year, Bikram Yoga East Bay offers complimentary towel service to its members as well as a feeling of community in each class.
The Studio's high-end workout facility espouses active lifestyles with a 2400-square-foot fitness center and a schedule of group classes staged inside five exercise-specific studio rooms. Endowed with 7 or 14 day passes, guests can hone ghost-story plot lines near the lounge area's fireplace or incinerate calories with the fitness center's free weights or medley of strength and cardio equipment—including a smith machine, circuit line, ellipticals, and treadmills. One-hour cycling classes churn heart rates with a fleet of stationary bikes equipped with CycleOps PowerTap technology, which monitors progress by tracking the force behind each pedal. Yoga instructors demonstrate poses inside a studio with wooden floors and an arched window that mimics the arch of spines and dutifully impressed eyebrows as students tackle a variety of yoga styles, such as gentle, Hatha, Iyengar, Vinyasa, or Yin.
Lavender walls evoke a tranquil dusk sky as students and yogis make the transition through the ancient poses of the Hatha, Ashtanga, and Bikram traditions. Here, experienced teachers guide groups toward states of intense focus and increased physical fitness with a series of stretches, bends, and deep-breathing exercises. An emphasis on safety abounds as the instructors help students align their bodies properly, and padded, Zebra floor coverings absorb joint pressure that would otherwise build up in knees and backs until it took over bodies and forced them to be spokespersons for aspirin.
The schedule of classes meets students of all skill levels where they live. Easy-going Vinyasa classes weave poses and breaths into a graceful, dance-like sequence, and more demanding Bikram sessions explore 26 classical poses in a 95-degree room, which helps loosen muscles and oust pent-up toxins. After class, students retire to an ADA–compliant changing room, where they can bask in showers and relax like a kitten reclining on a pillow made of sunbeams.
Hot Box Yoga's cadre of yogis, some of whom have earned their 200-hour certification or spent time learning the art in Asia, helps students foster emotional poise and physical strength. Instructors guide their charges through a schedule packed with yoga styles, including core-forging Ashtanga and time-tested Hatha. Within the studio's 2,200 square feet of stretching space, hot yoga sessions usher toxins out of the body by harnessing the flexibility-boosting powers of warmth in the sun-soaked studio. Those gestating tiny humans can build strength, flexibility, and bottle-juggling skills through gentle prenatal yoga classes.
You’ll be free to stretch yourself in a dozen different flavors of yoga yogurt at any of the eight YogaWorks LA-area locations (see sidebar for locations covered by this Groupon). As an added bonus, the first lucky contortioneers to redeem today's deal will receive a complimentary YogaWorks DVD (a $15 value, limited number available). Today's deal cannot be used towards Pilates classes, but it is valid for Pilates mat classes.