Want to feel and look your best? That requires a whole arsenal of health and wellness resources. Luckily, the Bay Area has tons to offer—and we've curated the best of them for you. Here are our picks for the yoga and fitness classes, healthy foods, healers, and more.
(From the editors: This guide was originally published in January 2017 and has been updated to reflect the latest news and closures.)
Stretch + Sweat: The Best Yoga, Pilates, and More Fitness Classes & Apps in the Bay Area
YOGA TO THE PEOPLE
Stephanie Snyder's studio may look, feel and have the amenities of the Mission's toniest spa, but the droves of devoted yogis who practice at Love Story (473 Valencia St, Mission) come to sweat it out to challenging, spiritual-spiked All-level Vinyasa flows taught by Snyder and her crew of A-list instructors. Advanced users pack the weeknight Vinyasa Flow Level 2/3 classes mat-to-mat. // It may be corporate, but there's nothing formulaic about Yoga Tree's Bay Area studios (multiple locations), which offers a broad spectrum of classes from kundalini to kirtan, acro to restorative. // Due to its prime Union Street address, The Pad (1694 Union St, Cow Hollow) has become It Girl central. You can find the beautiful ones enjoying the studio's creative programming, which includes a restorative practice with aromatherapy and reiki training. // Unobtrusive from the outside, packed and buzzy on the inside, Yoga Flow (1892 Union St, Cow Hollow) is best known for its challenging heated flow classes. // The East Bay's Namaste Yoga (multiple locations in Oakland and Berkeley) offers a wide range of class styles that cover not just athletic variations on flow, but also Nia dance and intensives such as yoga for beauty and aging. // Looking to avoid the sweaty studio? Kinesiologist and anusara teacher Jami Grassi teaches regular yoga classes in her Napa Valley barn, with views of Atlas Peak at the Silverado Hills.
PILATES FOR STRENGTH
Set in a chic and industrial studio, Informed Body (1731 Buchanan St. #1b, Japantown) offers expert classical instruction on a variety of Pilates machines either one-on-one or as part of a duet or trio (amazing for getting all of the personal attention while saving a few bucks). // The studio of choice for so many fitness professionals due to its focus on classical machine technique, Mighty Pilates (3654 Sacramento St., Presidio Heights) also offers non traditional coursework (try booty and core) using a variety of Pilates machines to fine tune form and dig deeply into muscles you never knew existed. // If you've got your technique down and want to amp up the resistance and speed, the 'FitFormers' at Pilates ProWorks (multiple locations, Bay Area–wide) will push you beyond anything Mr. Joseph Pilates could have imagined. // Founded by a ballerina turned Pilates pro, MNTSTUDIO (766 Brannan St, SoMa) offers reformer classes rooted in classical Pilates but with an athletic approach—even though your heart is pumping and you're breaking a sweat, your technique remains, ahem, on point. // Situated in Union Square, Maiden Lane Studios (80 Maiden Ln, Union Square) is a small, sunny, and modern space where we can breathe through our hundreds in peace. Plus, reformer and mixed apparatus pilates classes are limited to just four people, so we can get all the special attention we need.
Having been called the "SoulCycle of yoga," Ritual (586 6th St, SoMa and 49 Kearny St, FiDi) offers a 55-minute fast-moving Vinyasa in a heated room. It is also the only studio to include one private yoga class per week in its $200 monthly membership. // Not for those looking for a relaxed ride, SoulCycle's (multiple locations Bay Area–wide) energetic and inspiring instructors lead some of the most intense 45-minute cardio classes in town through a series of flat sprints, hill climbs, core work, and the signature SoulCycle "tap back." You thought SoulCycle's standard 45-minute sessions were sweaty? The brand's new, 60-minute HIIT class will push your heart rate and your sweat glands to their limits. // If you love barre but feel like you need a second workout just to get your cardio in, SALT's (327 Divisadero St, Lower Haight) clever barre-and-boxing fusion class, Barre Fight, will get you strength, length, and sweat in one 60-minute session. // The interval class that launched a thousand copycats, the tried-and-true Barry's Bootcamp (multiple locations in SF) formula mixes treadmill grinds with resistance work. The franchise just opened a third SF location in FiDi. // New to North Beach is a training gym focused on small group fitness, but unlike the many excellent and hardcore gyms across town, TribeFit (222 Columbus Ave. #220, North Beach) offers an Exercise Basics and Movement class as a gentle crash course on proper form for popular movements used in standard classes here and elsewhere.
FITNESS FOR BEGINNERS
This gorgeously converted church plays host not just to mind expanding art and wellness talks, or posh coworking digs for monthly members, but some of the most forward-thinking group fitness classes in town. In addition to strength classes like Stronger and recovery classes like Liz Letchford's the release, the Assembly (449 14th St, Mission) acts as (a stunning) homebase for visiting superstars including Taryn Toomey's the class. // If you're Ashtanga-curious and not yet ready to commit to a self-led Mysore practice, the Ashtanga Primer class at Asta Yoga (417 14th St, Mission) modifies poses to be challenging yet not out of reach for beginners. // SF's most stylish spin on ballet fitness, Avant Barre (592 3rd St, SoMa) features a signature class with fun and functional choreography that uses full-body movements such as pushups en relevé that are more about the sculpting than they are about technique. // Dance and Pilates-inspired, Vertical Method (2848 Webster St, Pacific Heights) uses a vertical pole and a series of bands and weights to strengthen the core and correct "tech neck" and "desk slouch." // For eager beginners hoping to fast-track their way to stripper strength in an non intimidating space, the classes at SF Pole & Dance (301 8th St. #202, SoMa) include Intro to Pole, Intro to Handstand, and Intro to Floor Acrobatics.
While the dream might be to have JLaw's personal trainer leading us through workouts, showing us what to eat and checking in with check-ins on our progress to starring in the next Marvel movie, the next best thing might be SF's newest digital fitness startup Everfit. A Slack-enabled 'trainer in your pocket' creates weekly workout plans, nutrition plans and recovery plans with regular check-ins on progress and encouragement along the way. // Like a magical gym where you can take class at any time from all of your fitness faves, Cody App features classes from sculpting to Acroyoga taught by superstar instructors (including the Bay Area's own Janet Stone) that can be purchased á la carte or in training bundles without an ongoing subscription. // Just launched in the Bay Area in January 2017, Handstand is an on-demand personal training app for finding a thoroughly vetted (and affordable) trainer or coach that can help you strength train or fine-tune your yoga technique on your own schedule. // The app for exploring new studios and buying classes at a discount, ZenRez has a large inventory of classes offered by an impressive roster of partner yoga studios. // Friends have gone from couch to 10K using Aaptiv, an audio app that specializes in running and yoga for any level of fitness, and provides goal-based challenges and coaching along the way.
From beginners learning their first "footlock" to those who can "wheeldown" with ease, the aerial-silks courses at Aerial Artique (132 9th St. #302, SoMa) will do wonders for your upper body and core while doing your best Peter Pan and Tinkerbell. // It may not have the sleek locker rooms of a luxury gym or that new-studio smell, but SF's landmark Circus Center (755 Frederick St, Inner Sunset) is where you can work on strength and balance with circus and acrobatics experts in handstands, aerial silks, and tightrope. // Formerly called Basic Training, Revision Athletics' classes, held outdoors throughout the city at locations such as Aquatic Park Pier and the Palace of Fine Arts, combine interval work with bodyweight exercises to build functional strength and endurance in a community-driven environment. // Fitness bootcamp, yoga, and meditation for the time-deficient, Zenfit (multiple pop-up locations) rolls them all into one hour-long night pop-up class that begins with 25 minutes of HIIT, followed by 20 minutes of a yoga flow, and finishes with a 10-minute guided meditation.