Best of the East Bay 2011 - Health and Fitness
Shape up or ship out! These yoga-loving, veggie toting businesses will help you stay healthy.
Since the 1970s, Greg Riley has been harnessing the power of yoga for physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. Now, the 54-year-old finds no greater joy than translating the poses and philosophy to others in a way that’s accessible and fun.
Diablo: With all the different yoga styles available, how do you pick one that’s right for you?
Greg Riley: Shop around. Keep trying different classes and teachers until you find one that resonates with you. Find a teacher who demonstrates physical, emotional, mental, and possibly even spiritual qualities that you’d like to develop within yourself. There’s an old saying: “When the student is ready, the teacher appears.”
How many times per week do you recommend practicing?
If you’re not practicing at all, once a week is a radical improvement. However, to really experience the life- changing qualities of yoga, a consistent practice of at least two to three times a week is required. Once you do that, it’s no longer a burden; it’s a joy that you won’t want to miss.
How has your practice influenced your life off the mat?
The word yoga means “union,” and that means achieving a connection with your highest self. The consistent practice of yoga has removed layer after layer of the mental, emotional, and physical limitations that have prevented me from living up to the potential that I, and all of us, are blessed with.
What’s your favorite yoga pose?
The pose I’m in at any given moment: The ability to be mindful of my body moving through space.
At In-Tun Health Center, Christine Hardy gets right to the heart of your weight- loss struggles—your metabolism—and after a series of tests, she’ll identify your metabolic type and customize a list of foods and supplements that’ll get you losing weight naturally and feeling better. 425 El Pintado Rd., Ste. 111, Danville, (925) 552-6574, in-tun.net.
Health Food Store
Open Sesame has the ingredients for any diet, whether you’re after organic produce and high-protein grains, or dairy alternatives like coconut butter. The store is also stocked with vitamins, as well as enticing vegan cookies and gluten-free cake mix. 983 Moraga Rd., Lafayette, (925) 283-2207.
Fitness guru Pedro Bernardy analyzes his clients’ diet, exercise, and rest habits to help them lose fat and keep it off. He suggests sitting down for breakfast, eating many small meals, cutting back on sugary foods, engaging in short high-intensity workouts, and getting enough sleep, since that’s when muscle fibers are rebuilt. (925) 980-9466, pedrobernardy.com.
Started in San Francisco to work specific muscle groups without hurting joints, The Bar Method is all the rage in the East Bay. Set to fast-paced music and often making use of a ballet barre, the class gets you burning calories by alternating between heart-pumping bursts of energy and deep stretches. 3211 Crow Canyon Pl., Ste. C, San Ramon, (925) 830-8825; 1946-A Mt. Diablo Blvd., Walnut Creek, (925) 933-1946, barmethod.com.
For a four-week exercise immersion, sign up for Tri-Valley Adventure Bootcamp, which offers outdoor workouts, including weight lifting and circuits, and integrates trends like TRX and CrossFit. The company also plans adventure days through local neighborhoods. Participants receive a simple nutrition manual, opportunities for social outings, and online support to keep them on track, even after the program ends.
(925) 518-3434, trivalleybootcamp.com.
Listen to your feet. That’s what it says on the foot reflexology brochure. I look down at my long-suffering hooves as they await their first session and wonder what sorry tales they will tell. Tales of being jammed into five-inch platforms, no doubt. My feet do not look happy.
Tucked in a bustling Dublin mall, Foot Logic might not seem like a gateway to foot heaven. Reflexology is done in a large, communal room with eight massage chairs. But with soft music and my feet soaking in a bamboo basin, I’m already getting an out-of-mall feeling. Sandy, my reflexologist, gives me a brief upper body massage through my clothes before drying my swooning feet and kneading the tight muscles in one of my arches. The pressure is firm, remarkably un-ticklish, and instantly trance inducing. I suddenly realize that I’m drooling.
Each toe gets its own mini massage before being tugged, making an alarming but thankfully painless snapping sound. Sandy pushes into my heel, up into my calf, and down the top of my foot. More drooling. The pleasure is punctuated by an occasional flash of pain, as she digs a knuckle (or maybe a thumb?) into various acupressure spots. She points and flexes each foot, working the tiny muscles circling my anklebone before suddenly pinching the base of my Achilles tendon.
After she reawakens my feet by slapping them vigorously back and forth, I’m turned onto my front, and she digs her elbows into the hamstrings, buttocks, and shoulder blades. By the time I stand up, I feel no pain. By the time I walk back into mall reality, I feel like I have new feet.
4288 Dublin Blvd., Ste. 201, Dublin, (925) 829-0188, myfootlogic.com.
In the battle of the bulge, lines often get drawn between dieters and restaurants. That’s why Lark Creek Walnut Creek executive chef Scott Wall’s story is so surprising.
Over two years, Wall lost 120 pounds while eating 80 percent of his meals at the restaurant and sticking to a cardio plan. His success inspired General Manager Jeff Berretta to adopt a similar diet (meals at the restaurant and workouts with the help of Wii Fit). He shed 80 pounds.
Now, diners can indulge in the same pound-shedding dishes at Lark Creek, such as steelhead with orange salsa, quinoa, and steamed asparagus. After all, healthy doesn’t have to mean bland.
1360 Locust St., Walnut Creek, (925) 256-1234, larkcreek.com/walnut_creek.
*Adult Sports League
Diablo Adult Soccer League, diablosoccer.org.
28 Days to Health Program by Innovations for Health, Walnut Creek, (925) 478-8545, 28daystohealth.com.
The Bar Method, 3211 Crow Canyon Pl., Ste. C, San Ramon, (925) 830-8825; 1946-A Mt. Diablo Blvd., Walnut Creek, (925) 933-1946, barmethod.com.
*Local Competitive Run
Primo’s Run for Education, Danville and San Ramon, primosrun.com.
Marcelina Verarde, Changes Salon & Day Spa, 1475 N. Broadway, Walnut Creek, (925) 947-1814, changessalon.com.
Pilates 4 Everyone, 3093 Citrus Cir., Ste. 125, Walnut Creek, (925) 588-5577, pilates4everyone.com.
YogaWorks, 1131 Locust St., Walnut Creek, (925) 478-7272, yogaworks.com.