Whenever she strolled down a sandy beach or marveled at the redwoods of a lush forest, LeTa Jussila would be reminded that Santa Cruz was the most beautiful place in the world. It seemed a shame to her that most people spent so much of their days inside houses and offices rather than taking advantage of the diverse landscapes of their surroundings. Inspired, she spearheaded the foundation of Optimal Health and Fitness—a multidimensional outdoor-fitness program.
Today, LeTa and her staff of trainers conduct energetic boot-camp classes at local beaches, forests, and mountain trails. They use the tools of their surroundings as exercise equipment, such as running up park stairs for a cardio workout. Encouraging well-rounded, healthy lifestyles, the instructors also conduct seminars on holistic topics such as stress management and meditation. Nutrition specialists, meanwhile, provide students with balanced meal plans and supervise detoxifying cleanses. The staff also offers various treatments popularized in the East, including traditional Chinese acupuncture treatments and rejuvenating qi gong stretching classes.
Filled with vibrant colors, hand-painted murals, and Eastern sculptures, the Pleasure Point Yoga studio exemplifies the way the space is often thought of by its staff, which is "your local, everyday retreat." Instructors encourage guests to use yoga and breath as a way to connect with themselves, their neighborhoods, and the global yoga community. As they lead classes held every day of the week, instructors guide practitioners of all levels through Vinyasa Flow classes and workshops that are offered monthly. Guests are encouraged to bring their own mats or shag carpets, but can also borrow mats from the studio when necessary. Helpful props intended to take poses to different levels are also available, such as straps, blocks, and supportive blankets.
Santa Cruz Power Fitness’s array of workout equipment and fitness programs has been helping locals get in and stay in shape since 1968. Along with one-on-one workout sessions, the gym's certified personal trainers lead classes ranging from the fast-paced, such as kickboxing, to the calming, such as yoga stretches set to really quiet books on tape. For gym-goers' convenience, Santa Cruz Power Fitness keeps its doors open 365 days a year and accommodates health-minded parents with complimentary daycare services. An onsite health bar replenishes athletes with drip coffee and protein shakes, whereas plenty of free parking ensures they won't tangle with any bodybuilding meter maids.
At Santa Cruz Aerial Playground, expert instructors––including former gymnasts and a flying-trapeze artist for Ringling Bros. Circus––look on, belting out safety tips and encouragement to students who take to the skies in not only classic aerial-silks classes, but an inventive form of yoga as well. In these sessions, fabric hammocks help them to achieve both traditional and new poses, all of which are designed to tone muscles and boost flexibility. The staff aims to have something for everyone, with classes that help them to attempt everything from a simple handstand to circus-worthy acrobatics.
TriYoga's classes guide students through traditional poses supported by rhythmic breathing and a deep, centered focus. The practice’s founder, Yogini Kaliji, travels the world to teach her signature style, with occasional stops into TriYoga Center of Santa Cruz to lead master classes. Yogini Kaliji designed her method and classes to shuttle beginners and experts alike toward deep relaxation, attainable elsewhere only by convincing a sea breeze to sing you "Happy Birthday." As students graduate through levels and master TriYoga’s wavelike movements, they often note boosted strength, flexibility, endurance, and breath control.
Members of CrossFit Amundson Santa Cruz find themselves amid a second family that supports their athletic endeavors. Coaches tailor workouts to challenge every person that swings a Kettlebell, lifts a barbell, or flips a tractor tire. Kids as young as five years of age can partake in CrossFit as well, with special kids classes that focus on having fun with functional fitness exercises. The gym also holds Krav Maga classes?dubbed by the trainers as ?The CrossFit of Martial Arts? for its self-defense techniques steeped in functional fitness. There, students learn such classic moves as a knee strike or noogie.