Guided by a mission of embracing every student's quest for personal growth, the team at YogaWorks offers programs for all ages and walks of life. Harnessing a minimum of 500 hours of Yoga Alliance training, expert instructors build lean muscles with traditional Ashtanga, Iyengar, and Vinyasa flow classes enhanced by inspiring music, ambient candlelight, meditation, and props. Their fitness classes further the body-shaping results of yoga, strengthening core muscles with Pilates, increasing endurance and lean muscles with TRX classes, and building stamina with resistance-based SculptWorks.
Instructors also host exotic yoga retreats, which marry the excitement of travel to far-away locales with the benefits of yoga to bestow students with the confident grace required to approach a foreign yoga mat without startling it. Those in search of further training can access online videos by subscribing to myyogaworks.com, which offers a free, 14-day trial for new users. Students can search for videos by workout duration, skill level, and the targeted area of the body.
Part of Therapy Services Plus and named for its location above it, Yoga Upstairs elevates visitors’ spirits and fitness levels with accessible Hatha- and Iyengar-style yoga classes, as well as basic, gentle, and Vinyasa flows. Sunlight warms the bamboo floor of the practice space as seasoned teachers demonstrate movements to help strengthen muscles and center minds. Iyengar class instructors walk students through routines to open joints and cultivate stamina, and students perform restorative-yoga routines to melt stress with gentle stretches and breaths deeper than a bass solo inside a moon crater. In addition to posing on mats, students can visit the studio’s four-panel yoga wall, where sturdy straps assist inverted moves and other advanced body-weight exercises without risking injury. Like a medieval castle’s daycare center, many classes incorporate blankets, blocks, and sandbags, which help students hold their poses as they hone their alignment.
Studio founder Conni Ponturo combines her dance training from NYU Tisch School of the Arts with her fitness education from Bodyline studio in Beverly Hills to oversee a full repertoire of fitness classes. Joined by instructors who boast as many as 30 years of teaching experience, Conni creates an environment where students can safely challenge themselves physically and mentally without having to telekinetically lift a medicine ball. The instructors lead centering yoga classes, invigorating cardio workouts, graceful Gyrotonic sessions, and muscle-toning Pilates where pupils employ mat or spring-loaded Reformer exercises to tone and firm bodies.
Yasa Yoga’s name comes from the Sanskrit words for “good-hearted,” a reflection of the studio’s noncompetitive, welcoming community of yogis and instructors. They gather to practice in a red-tiled, Mission-style building originally constructed in 1912. Husband-and-wife duo Ryan and Stephanie Besler lead a majority of the classes, accommodating students of all skill levels with a variety of yoga styles. During Yasa Basics classes, students absorb foundational yoga poses and breathing techniques in a naturally lit practice space with 20-foot arched ceilings. Yasa Flow yoga instructors crank up the room temperature to bolster flexibility and teach challenging, inverted moves during workouts suited to intermediate stretchers. Students also gather inside the building—Charlie Chaplin’s former home and production studio—for a variety of other classes such as prenatal, deep-stretch, and flow-style sessions.
Though each course strengthens core muscles and focuses the brain, students also calm their minds with meditation or revel in the camaraderie of like-minded classmates as they learn to control their breathing or tendency to constantly blurt out their credit-card numbers.
At Bikram Yoga Santa Barbara, instructors, each of whom was personally certified by Bikram yoga?s eponymous founder Bikram Choudhury, guide students through 26 classic poses in 105-degree heat and 40% humidity. The patient teachers accommodate yogis of all skill levels, modifying poses and offering corrections during each class? 90 minutes of sitting, standing, balancing, and core-strengthening. The recently-renovated studio with new flooring and heating system helps melt muscles to make limbs more pliable while summoning sweat, boosting blood flow, detoxifying the body, and soothing soreness from injuries, stress, and overzealous hokey pokeys.
A diverse team of instructors fills Rising Lotus Yoga's bright studio with a profusion of beginner and advanced yoga classes seven days a week. Through more than a dozen types of yoga classes, the instructors help students deepen familiar poses, develop breathing techniques, and finally remove their yoga mats' training wheels. They teach traditional yoga styles such as Iyengar and hatha-based Gentle & Therapeutics, as well as the studio's signature class, Rising Lotus Flow, which aims to merge body and mind through dynamic, creative vinyasa sequences. The instructors guide students through three different skill levels and can train the most dedicated among them to become yoga teachers.
When not perfecting students' postures and teaching trees to breathe louder, Rising Lotus Yoga's instructors lend their time to the Seva Project, an initiative to bring the healing benefits of yoga to people in crisis.