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 G'nique's Spa Services, owner, aesthetician, and massage therapist Genique Freeman guides her team with the conviction that total wellness is achieved when each patient feels beautiful, relaxed, and cared for. Freeman's staff makes a point of opening communication lines with each client, welcoming both English and Spanish speakers and discovering their patients' treatment preferences and favorite Kevin Bacon films via a simple online health-history form. Organic and wild-harvested ingredients from product lines such as De La Terre ease health concerns, and skin-purifying treatments are frequently paired with massages to heighten the therapeutic effects of both. Calm lighting and soft music welcome clients to leave their workplace stresses at the door, and a no-walk-in policy ensures patient comfort by safeguarding against overcrowding or a sudden influx of encyclopedia salesmen. Also supporting the spa's philosophy that physical and psychological health go hand in hand, G'nique's encourages veterans and their families to take respite in pampering by offering military discounts on specialty services, such as massages and facials.
When a year of physical therapy failed to heal the neck injury Jonathan Mates sustained during a rugby match, he turned to acupuncture. Like 2,500 years worth of patients before him, Mates found that acupuncture swiftly relieved his symptoms.
Inspired, he enrolled at Five Branches University, an academy of Chinese medicine where he specialized in pain management and sports medicine. Even after graduating at the top of his class, however, Mates didn’t feel his education was complete. So he built a raft out of acupuncture needles and sailed to China, where he studied with acupuncturists and physicians. Upon returning to the United States, Mates spent more than 300 hours in orthopedics training at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
Today, Mates' specialties also include rotator-cuff injuries, neck injuries, and sciatica pain. These are part of a wide breadth of clinic services, including holistic-healing treatments such as cupping, herbal medicine, and massage.
Jacquelyn L. Sugich L.Ac. began her career with the single goal of healing people without resorting to drugs. She enrolled in Santa Barbara College Of Oriental Medicine and studied ancient modalities in China as she worked toward a master's of acupuncture and Oriental medicine. After graduating in 2006, she started her practice and went straight to work.
Today, she follows the guiding principle of Chinese medical theory, the cornerstone of which is prevention. She fights off stress and eases muscular tension with her signature massages, and uses hair-thin acupuncture needles to unleash endorphins and reduce anxiety, abdominal pain, and balloon-animal populations. Though these acupuncture sessions are her specialty, they generally make up just one spoke in the wheel of customized, holistic treatment plans that incorporate multiple approaches, including diet and Chinese herbal remedies.
BodyKind Pilates's founder and principle trainer, Jennifer McCandless, has dedicated most of her life to the healing arts. She has spent the last 20 years exploring functional anatomy, biomechanics, yoga, and meditation, and achieved a master’s degree in holistic health and wellness. Entranced by Pilates's innovative blend of Eastern and Western body-healing approaches, she then went on to open her own studio. Here, she and a crew of seasoned instructors foster a noncompetitive community, welcoming students of all fitness levels to practice the strength-developing workout regimen. The bright, private studio is loaded with sticky mats, a collection of specialized equipment, and spandex pants that magically fit everyone. The instructors conduct private and small group classes in the Reformer and mat Pilates styles, helping students build bodily awareness, strengthen their cores, and improve their posture, flexibility, and coordination.
Highlights of Rodrigo Clark's two-decade Brazilian jiu-jitsu career include training with Master Carlos Gracie, Jr., reaching 2nd-degree black belt status, and medaling at the World Nogi Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Championship seven times. At Gracie Barra Jiu-Jitsu Academy Santa Barbara, Clark shares his vast knowledge of the Gracie style of self-defense during programs for all ages and skill levels. His and his team's teachings don't just show students how to defend themselves, though. They can also boost self-esteem, burn calories, reduce stress, and improve one's ability to dice vegetables with their bare hand.
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