"The yoga community is so different than a typical gym. It’s warm, friendly and inviting." This is just one of the many accolades shared by Akasha Yoga's happy members who revel in the sense of community the studio fosters. One of the reasons for the close-knit feel—heated classes where students commiserate as they challenge themselves and others to push through the high temperatures. Though possibly overwhelming at first, the raised Fahrenheit helps students sweat out harmful toxins and loosens their muscles so that they can achieve deeper stretches and poses that resemble the flexible animals they're named after. Students can also opt for non-heated classes such as Yin Yoga in which a series of floor postures are held for several minutes making it one of the more challenging classes. Another reason for the close-knit feel—teachers who have discovered the power of yoga after injuries, unwanted weight gain, or career stress and who patiently lead students toward their goals, whether the goals be weight loss, relaxation, or working as the body double for a pretzel.
Since its 1965 founding in Venice Beach, California, Gold's Gym has dotted the globe with more than 600 locations where professional athletes and exercise newbies gather under the umbrella of personal strength. Nearly 3.5 million Gold's members chart and aim for their fitness peaks, perspiring beneath the gaze of certified personal trainers or pedaling beside peers at cycling sessions. In a diverse lineup of group classes, patrons strengthen cores with Pilates, finger-paint pictures of ninjas in martial arts, and amp up heart rates. Many Gold's Gym locations stockpile futuristic amenities, such as cardio machines with individual iPod docks and televisions that help keep patrons motivated.
The class is small, a cluster of hard-working students lift their legs as an instructor walks around them to check posture and adjust forms. The instructors at ReVibe Pilates & Bodywork purposefully keep their Pilates classes intimate to ensure they can attend to each student in turn. This enables the teachers to better help their charges as they build core, arm, and leg muscles by performing exercises on the Reformer machines or on the mat.
In addition to mat and reformer classes, the team also leads Barre ReVibe sessions that use ballet-inspired exercises to create long and lithe physiques. Massage therapists, meanwhile, are on hand to help students recover from injury or stress with treatments such as Swedish massage, hot stone therapy, or group hugs.
Named one of CityVoter's Top Five Pilates Studios for 2011, Lift Pilates strengthens core muscles and sleekifies physiques with engaging exercise classes. Lift instructors have earned their six-pack stripes through the prestigious Stott Pilates education and certification program, preparing them to cosset precious torsos while promoting the flexibility, impeccable posture, and graceful movement of an enchanted pipe cleaner. Spine and tummy tutelage take place in one-hour group mat classes that aim to tone bodies, improve endurance, and build a barricade of muscles to protect spines from injuries and everyday hexes. Belt-strangled middles enjoy freedom of movement inside the airy, 1,500-square-foot eco-studio, outfitted with a bamboo desk, cork floor, and other sustainable materials incorporated throughout. Check the schedule for class times.
Lauded by publications such as Allure and the San Francisco Chronicle, The Dailey Method hosts innovative classes combining the exercise styles of ballet barre, Pilates, and yoga into a full-body workout. During one-hour classes, instructors lead core builders through exercises emphasizing small range of motion and repetition to strengthen arms and sculpt abs into a surface worthy of ironing Zeus's wedding pants. Flexibility and stretching exercises follow each workout to keep fibers receptive. Throughout classes, instructors work closely with students, offering one-on-one guidance, ideas for personal modifications, and conspiracies about the origins of the kettlebell. Clients can gaze over the schedule to find daily classes that suit their temporal demands. The Dailey Method Benicia's well-lit studio unfolds in 2,000 square feet of space. Body sculptors have access to extensive parking, locker facilities, and a fully staffed child-care area so that offspring can play safely while parents sculpt their bodies like young Michelangelo sculpted his leftover potatoes.
With more than 160 acres across 18 parks, the City of Woodland Community Services Department aims to better the lives of area residents through a variety of activities, facilities, and special events. Athletic adults can join up with organized sports leagues in softball, baseball, or volleyball, while kids can enjoy basketball, boxing, and even jiujitsu and fencing. A huge variety of programs for seniors are also offered, such as art classes, health and wellness sessions, and high-stakes bingo.
Rise Yoga's soothing studio begins releasing students' tension with calming, contemporary trappings before they ever set foot in the stress-relieving, mixed-level yoga classes led by experienced and attentive teachers. All of the 60-to 90-minute yoga sessions incorporate gentle stretches and meditative practices, including the beginner-friendly Hatha yoga session, a slow-paced class incorporating long-held poses and calming deep breaths. Vinyasa classes increase heart rates with dynamic flowing movements, sun salutations, and traditional yogic spelling bees in which students bend their bodies into common yoga vocabulary. Yoga therapy works to help students to overcome chronic pain or injuries, and intensive yoga workshops introduce students to the ancient practice or strengthen their relationship to it.