Under instructor James Brown, all of the teachers at the YogaPoser studio are graduates of the YogaPoser Teacher Training, where they learned how to excel at tailoring their attention and tips to the particular needs of each practitioner, helping students to cultivate self-awareness, stability, and strength during classes offered seven days a week. The studio's schedule of classes includes offerings to help ease beginners into yoga practice, including foundations classes, which steadily equip attendees with the yogic knowledge needed to master an array of standing, twisting, and inverted poses while reciting the Bill of Rights backwards. Students flow through poses in the Total Poser class with instructor's help, or attend the hybrid AssKicker class, which blends yoga, cardio, and plyometrics. Poser Tech workshops taught by senior teacher training faculty, and open to all, deepen students' understanding of a particular type of pose. Classes take place in a Santa Monica studio, rendering sessions relaxing and cozy as up to 24 visitors stretch out on yoga mats (may bring their own or have one provided) and mortgaged floorboards.
Heather Leon began her 35-year career in the fitness and movement disciplines onstage. In addition to formally studying ballet, jazz, and modern dance, as well as performing professionally throughout the Los Angeles area, Heather sought out workout regimens that complemented her dance training. She fell in love with Pilates and eventually founded Sumbody Studio as a way to share the practice's invigorating benefits with the public.
Although Pilates sessions can incorporate a number of different apparatuses—including the Reformer, the Wunda Chair, and the Cadillac—they all maintain a similar commitment to low-impact exercises that build strength and flexibility. The motions emphasize control and technique over brute force, creating long, lean muscles instead of bulky biceps and washboard foreheads. Gyrotonic and gyrokinesis practices are similar, but also incorporate elements of yoga, dance, and tai chi. The studio's reiki therapist and orthopedic acupuncturist further help clients by treating mental and energetic imbalances.
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 years in a lucrative corporate career, California native Matt Rosas abandoned his desk job and plunged into a passion he'd nurtured since 1976: surfing. At Malibu Paddle Surf, he continues to catch waves and transfer his talents to students and high-profile Hollywood companies, including Sony Pictures, ABC, and the WB. Matt now focuses his attentions on the sport of standup paddleboarding, formulating his lessons as two-hour, total core workouts where pupils master standing, paddling, turning, balancing, and techniques for falling safely into the arms of a nearby octopus. Armed with provided wetsuits, boards, and paddles, students tear across currents and often experience up-close meet and greets with dolphins or seals. Experienced boarders can rent gear and exercise solo by surfing swells or dragging their boards up and down a sand dune.
At the end of a fruitful career that led her from the Cincinnati Ballet to the Sacramento Ballet, Jennifer Williams funneled her dance savvy into creating the barre-inspired exercise system taught at Pop Physique, a 2013 CityVoter finalist for Best Gym. Her fleet of handpicked and personally trained instructors pairs graceful ballet moves with other low-impact exercises in order to chisel cores without injuring muscles. Deep stretches further preserve tendons and leave each student more relaxed than a tortoise moseying past a state patrolman with a radar gun. Sessions run multiple times a day, seven days a week at an expanding network of SoCal locations. The roomy studios are lined with sprung dance floors and design accents that lend each location a distinct personality and a chance to forget its past as a storage room for defective food processors.
Ocean Mist Yoga's seasoned instructors have practiced in such far-flung locales as Hawaii and a Buddhist temple in Thailand to hone the skills necessary to guide students of all skill levels through yoga styles such as Hatha and Vinyasa. The team harnesses their eclectic experiences to lead patrons toward yoga's natural benefits, such as stress relief and weight management. Amid the naturally tranquil seaside at Pacific Palisades Park or the glossy environs of their studio, they host sunrise sessions that wake up students' bodies, and power-yoga sessions that effortlessly weave alignment with philosophy. On Friday evenings, instructors line their studio with candles to further foster a peaceful atmosphere and set the stage for ghost stories.