When I walked into Brian’s studio in March 2009, I was recovering from my third knee ACL surgery and was just diagnosed with severe spinal stenosis and sciatic leg pain. I also just had in the 2 months prior, 2 epidural procedures to relieve the pain in my lower back with no success. I was going to physical rehab twice a week, having massages, was on all kinds of pain medication and no relief. My back doctor told me that if nothing was working, our next step was surgery with no guarantees. I was slowly going into a depression and spent a lot of time in bed, could barely walk, move and was in extreme pain 24/7.
My life slowly started to change when I met Brian. I discovered his studio after having lunch at Delfina where I was trying to eat away my worries. I read the testimonials on his wall, checked out his website and liked the fact that he specialized in people with injuries. I had tried all other remedies for my back with no progress so what did I have to lose? The $30 unlimited offer didn’t hurt either.
Brian was great from the very first day I walked in. He asked me all kinds of questions regarding my injuries and assured me that he would be able to accommodate my restrictions. It was not easy for me in the beginning as I was very limited in my range of motion. This was quite frustrating for me since I used to be a very active person prior to all my surgeries. I used to work out with a personal trainer twice a week, run/walk, ski. Brian just kept on encouraging me and showing me ways to do the poses so as not to aggravate all my other ailments.
I have been coming to Brian’s studio for almost a year now and what a difference he has made in my life. I try to come at least 5x a week. All that practice has paid off because now I stand straighter, more flexible, stronger in the core, no more back pain, lower blood pressure and the upside is I have lost almost 20lbs. This is great since it is putting less strain on my joints. I still limp from my sciatic pain but my doctors have told me that this takes time and that I am on my way to hopefully being pain free! I am no longer going to physical therapy because Brian has taken me to another whole level that therapy could no longer give me.
I’ve never been a new-agey or eastern philosophy kind of guy. I don’t know if my chakras are aligned or what would happen if they weren’t (it sounds terrible!). I’ve never been into astrology, although that kind of skepticism is pretty typical of a Sagittarius. My friend had to drag me to my first yoga class at California Yoga Company. It just didn’t seem like the kind of thing that would appeal to me at all.
My first class with Brian had no drum circles or meditation, but was an absolutely brutal workout. By the time we got to the ab series I was praying for the either the end of class to come or the sweet, sweet release of death. But I survived, and came back. I have never found any sort of exercise that didn’t bore me quickly. Brian doesn’t just tell you to do things, he tells you why. He recognizes your specific problems and how to work through them. In my case, my problems started with my freakishly flat feet. Yoga has helped me rebuild my arches which were causing other problems throughout my body. Yoga has also helped my fitness overall dramatically. I’ve lost over 40lbs in the last year from doing yoga and eating more of these things called “vegetables” which is apparently food that grows right out of the ground (yeah, I’m not fully sold on that yet either).
Brian and the classes at the California Yoga Company have, quite literally, changed my life. Bill’s classes on the weekend are no joke either. He also won’t let you settle for anything less than your best effort. At first I was just looking to get into shape, and now I really want to understand and get better at the poses. And who knows, maybe there is something to that mental calm thing after all. Since I’ve started yoga, I have no longer felt it necessary to create a monkey army to destroy my enemies. I’m joking of course — that would be really impractical. It’s quite difficult to find monkey sized military fatigues.
In the spring of 2006 I walked into Brian’s old studio on Russian Hill, a few months late in fulfilling a New Year’s resolution. Not only had I never tried yoga, but I’d never been very athletic at all. In fact, I was a wreck: overweight, out of shape and nursing multiple injuries — one of which I’d just been told would probably require surgery.
Brian assured me that my injuries would be no obstacle, and that yoga would help them heal and perhaps even allow me to escape the surgery. He gave me a set of modifications to follow for nearly every pose. For a year or two my attendance was spotty: work schedule, an ailing father and injury flare-ups all meant that it was a good week if I got to class at all. But that occasional class gave me great relief from stress, and was always followed by a few days of reduced pain.
Beginning in 2008 I was able to get to class 1-3 times a week, and immediately started to see increased benefits. I began losing weight and even graduated from a few modifications. For the past year I’ve been practicing 3-5 times a week, have dropped over 50 pounds and all but a few modifications, and the injury for which I had a surgical consult hardly ever bothers me — no surgery required!
I really appreciate Brian’s teaching style: his calm-but-authoritative voice, his humor, and his knowledge. Yoga has made a huge difference in my life and I expect it to be a life-long pursuit.
Standing in front of a mirror lifting weights at the gym was good for a while, but that only lasted a few months as I realized the biceps developing were just for show and not for strength. Not to mention my mind became pretty bored. With Yoga I have felt a mental transformation about exercise and wellness. My mind longs for that hour of tranquility and meditation. Without it I go “loco.”
It took me some time to understand that the superficial body changes enjoyed are secondary to the internal body change. It’s not shedding pounds for the sake of shedding pounds. Its about knowing how the extra pounds are affecting the whole body. I truly am in love with the understanding of internal healing. I am my own chiropractor.
When I don’t do yoga I feel a gloomy cloud of laziness lurking over me. It makes me feel lazy about eating well, set lower goals for myself, everything bugs me and everything is a drag. Leaving class is an instant chill pill as I am able to tackle issues with more confidence.
I discovered Yogic Motion (today California Yoga Company) a little over 2 years ago, when I visited my best friend in her new city, San Francisco. I did some Bikram Yoga in Zurich and I liked it, but after my first class with Brian, all was different! During my 2-3 weeks holiday in the bay area, I started to go to yoga on a daily basis and this, on every holiday I had for the past two years. Obviously I have a special person in San Francisco, but I would be lying if I wouldn’t mention Brian’s Yoga as a second reason to come to San Francisco. So it became a habit to travel to California every 3-4 month and to spend 2-3 weeks doing lots of yoga. And here is the reason why; I started seeing a lot of changes in my life when doing yoga; I eat healthier, I drink more, I am more relaxed and my body chances within weeks. Also my self-esteem changes drastically! I feel fantastic after every hour of yoga and like what I see in the mirror. Through Brian’s Yoga I have found the way to my inner peace and my inner and exterior beauty. When practicing regularly, the effects of yoga are better than a well-mixed Cosmopolitan, a massage or a day in the sun. Because the poses kind of work form the inside out and opposite, it is a full body & mind exercise and I get totally addicted. So now I am living one of my dreams and will be coming to San Francisco for 3 month this summer and I plan to do a lot of yoga. I want to do something very good for my body, get rid of old & bad habits and try to break out of lazy routines. I can’t wait to see the results of this yoga-summer-body-project, which I have no doubts about, as a class with Brian couldn’t be more into detail, more about finding and fighting your limits and making peace with yourself. I am ready for all of it!!
Having grown up in Illinois (yes, the great Mid West) the idea of doing yoga seemed too ‘California’ and that I never thought I would have anything to do with it. I couldn’t have been more WRONG! I walked into Brian’s studio sometime in July of 2009, knowing nothing about Yoga. He not only turned my misconception and ignorance surrounding yoga but convinced me of all the fun in doing challenge poses,enriching experience of gaining deeper knowledge about my body and the
sense of reward that yoga can bring to one’s life, all within an hour or less.
I have a bit of Tae Kwon Do background so Brian’s Martial Arts interest and background helped me understand yoga better and easier. But still, to this day I don’t know how he does this daily, I just know that I cannot imagine living without doing yoga. Doing yoga 3 to 4 times a week really improved my health in the last 2 years or so. I have always had a very stiff body, but doing yoga is changing that. I have had herniated disk about 9 years ago, along with occasional lower back issues but doing yoga has made me strong enough to the point that I have almost forgotten about my back issues. I have almost completely eliminated my shoulder pain I often experience due to stress. I have a better posture than ever before and I am also very aware of what is happening with my body and what it requires. (yes, I am more ‘kind’ to my body!) And doing yoga has, most importantly, made me feel rejuvenated and relaxed and it continues to do so today. It simply just makes me feel so good after every class! Food tastes better, water tastes ever more refreshing and air enters into my lungs as if I am taking the first breath as a human being (I am not kidding). Who can say no to such experience? I sure cannot. I expect myself to be addicted to this thing called yoga (taught by Brian, of course) for a long, long time.
This is my absolute favorite Yoga studio! I will start by saying that I am a pretty active person. I like to run, go to the gym at times for their weight class, have tried Bar Method for some time, hike, and will soon pick up biking.
My friends know that I’ve tried a few yoga classes elsewhere and there was always something that didn’t keep me interested.
Sometimes it was the intimidation. I love that both men and women are different shapes and sizes and everyone is friendly at California Yoga. No intimidation. Teacher and people around make you feel very comfortable.
I actually love that the teachers know people by name. That was a prerequisite at the Bar Method! It’s good to call out names, to give them more added personal attention. Also, in other studios, I was left to follow the person in front of me as we moved quickly from pose to pose, whereas, at California Yoga, each teacher tries to help to get you into perfect form (more personal attention).
Another plus about this studio is that it’s not the meditative yoga styling. We concentrate on breathing correctly to help you thru the poses. There have been yoga studios I’ve tried that have made me too sleepy or was too slow in a way that made me bored. Not that I am so experienced that I need challenging poses(don’t need to try to do hand-stand), but California yoga gives me a challenge each time to get more perfected in each different pose. You need mental and physical power and strength to build perfection and that’s the CHALLENGE here!
About the heat: I also sweat a lot when I work out. I like that the studio is not too hot like Bikram, where I would sometimes feel like fainting. Definitely warmer in the evening, if you prefer the heat.
One other thing I wanted to mention: I stopped going to yoga for a few months and was running a lot, and pulled my back out. The whole staff is very good about giving you modifications for an injury. They would never tell you to do something that hurt. When they say, “Push through a pose”, it’s for the non-injured participants to help them work slowly to get to their desired perfected pose. Yoga helped my back and now I’m in it for life!
Love you guys! Glad you are close by!
I have been doing hot yoga for a few years now. I found CYC a little over a year ago through a Living Social deal online. It was the best decision I have made physically and mentally! A few things that I noticed about CYC that I hadn’t received in other hot yoga/Bikram studios is the personal attention, personable yoga instructors, and non-competative feel. They genuinely care about your safety through each pose but at the same time push you to improve. Before CYC there were many poses I wasn’t sure how to do correctly, in fact I would just watch the person in front of me and hope I was doing it right. AT CYC Brian, Bill, Diana, and Venis are all very knowledgable about correcting postures and working through body ailments. I also love that there is no competitive feel when you’re in class. Everyone seems generally focused on themselves and not focused whether they “look better” than the person next to them. I have had the pleasure of taking Brian’s Immersion classes, currently renamed posture clinics, and I learned so much on not only “picking his brain” about EVERY pose but learning how to eat right in order to get the greatest benefit inside and outside of yoga. I have become so inspired that I want to make yoga a huge part of my lifestyle. I’m working towards becoming a Monnier Method hot yoga instructor! I’m looking forward to my life change and it all started with an online deal. If you have commitment, determination, and a need to improve your life, this studio is for you!
Have you ever spent an hour with a guy and been worked so hard you can barely walk the next day?? Listen up ladies; after three consecutive sessions with Brian, I was hobbling around like a penguin and popping aspirin like skittles just to get through the day. If you want a hot and sweaty workout, this place has got you covered.
California Yoga teaches Hot Yoga, which I would classify as ‘Bikram for Beginners.’ Many of the poses are what you find in Bikram, although it’s not the exact same routine every time. The room is heated to a tolerable 90 degrees, instead of a nauseating 105- and you are in here for just over an hour, not a full 90 minutes.
Brian is one of the best instructors I have come across in this great city. He cracks a joke here and there, and there’s nothing I love more than giggling in class to keep things light spirited and fun (and to distract from the pain).
Secondly, and more importantly, Brian is very hands on and practically OCD about your form. He gives everyone personal attention and is not one of those ‘Follow me while I go through my yoga routine out loud and ignore the rest of you’ types, but instead spends the entire class pacing back and forth checking on everyone. This could be why I hurt so good, Brian makes it his job (as it should be) to set you up correctly and tell you to push harder, lunge deeper, and bend lower. Many times I thought I reached my limit until he waltzed over to adjust me and give me a good nudge. I may have grit my teeth and forgot to breathe, but progress can be uncomfortable. Although, so is a degenerate and achy body because you never took proper care of it over the course of your lifetime. Pay it forward- that’s my new motto in life.
There are a plethora of yoga studios around the city, and an abundance of mediocre, and sometimes awful, instructors. Cal Yoga is one of the few gems out there.
I believe it was literally 17 seconds after my first class at California Yoga Company that my friend and I turned to each other and said, simultaneously, “You want to come back tomorrow?” After several weeks of coming here, I am officially addicted. Brian is an excellent teacher – he’s tough and expects a lot out of you, but he’s also kind and pays attention to how you’re working through the poses. He’s no drill sergeant, but he’ll have you working your butt off very quickly!
I had only tried one hot yoga class before, and I swore I would never go back. I got dizzy and frustrated and had no idea if I was doing anything correctly – it was basically a waste of an hour and a half. Somehow my friend convinced me to try California Yoga Company and I’m very happy she did. Brian has taught me a good amount already and I find the classes productive and incredibly satisfying. This is one of the few times I wish there were more than five stars! Highly, highly recommended.
Over two years ago I walked into the Brian’s studio because my chiropractor told me I had to do something to strengthen my core muscles if I wanted my back to get any better (L4/L5 disc issues), that and the intro offer was so cheap if I went to two classes and quit I would have gotten my money’s worth. Well, that was the best $30 bucks I ever spent, two years later and I am still going 3 – 4 times a week.
This 2nd anniversary with Brian is particularly special because it’s been over a year since I have had an “acute episode” or any kind of “episode” involving my back! I haven’t been able to say that in ten years.
I like the “No scene, no stress, simply yoga” aspect of the studio. The way Brian tends to each person’s individual needs is terrific.
Tonight, I believe I told brian I hated him, though he couldn’t hear it as i was too exhausted to make sounds. The class is great and the owner/instructor is even better. Both of the people i have recommended take a class now go on a regular basis.
As a stiff guy / ex rugby player, I couldn’t speak more highly of the place and how I feel after each class.
Holy hot yoga class, Batman! At least that’s what I said to myself when I walked into Brian’s studio about a year and a half ago. After recovering from ACL surgery, I was reluctant to return to sports, but desperately needed something to get me healthy again. Luckily, my roommate had become a regular attendee, and since the studio was right around the corner from our house, I couldn’t very well say “no” without feeling like a complete lazy degenerate.
So I went…. and life has never been the same.
That might sound overly dramatic to some people, but hey, it’s true. The combination of Brian’s specific type of yoga and his beginner-friendly style of teaching got me into better health than I had pre-surgery! I started LIVING life — energized, positive, and thirsty for more.
From a logistical/customer service standpoint, Brian is suuuuuuuuuper easy to work with. He always answers my numerous questions (in person or via email) with comprehensive and pertinent information, and does so with a smile! I ran into billing issues at one point, which he also helped me resolve very easily. Not to mention that this yoga studio has the best prices in SF, hands down.
Brian teaches with a more laid-back style than most yoga teachers, attitude-wise. Though he pushes me harder than any sports coach I’ve ever had, his lighthearted nature makes working out FUN, if you can believe it.
Overall, Brian gets 5 stars from me. Easy.
I’ve been coming to California Yoga Company for over two years now and it is absolutely my “yoga home.” Like so many others, I first found out about CYC through a LivingSocial deal. I had never “seriously” practiced yoga before. I had been to a few classes at the gym, but hadn’t caught the yoga bug. Those classes always left me feeling like a failure for being so not-flexible but at the same time not feeling like I got a good workout. So when I moved to the city and heard people raving about “hot yoga” I was skeptical. But a friend and I decided to try it out via the LivingSocial deal and thus began my relationship with CYC. In the last two years I have been transformed physically, mentally and emotionally.
Physically, yoga has helped me achieve lifelong goals. First off, it’s a kick-ass workout. I considered myself to be in pretty good shape when I first started yoga, but that first class kicked my butt. I woke up the next morning sore all over, but sore in the way that I couldn’t wait to get back to class and do it again. I knew that there were real changes happening in my body and it was so exciting. I’ve always been athletic. I ran cross-country and track and swam in high school, and ran cross-country in college. Post-college I set my sights on running marathons and triathlons. I’ve run 4 marathons, a half-ironman, and countless half-marathons and shorter triathlons. But every time I increased the amount and intensity of my training, I’d find myself sidelined with an injury. I could never realize my full potential because of these nagging injuries. Regular yoga practice helped me bounce back from a stress fracture and torn ligament and stay healthy through a season where I ran two marathons and 4 half-marathons. I accomplished my lifelong goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon by running only 3 times a week but coming to yoga 3-4 times a week. Coming to class at CYC balances me – it has made me stronger, more flexible, and leaner all over. The stretching and compression of your muscles, joints, and organs makes all the difference. I have visibly defined abs for the first time since college!
Even more amazing than the physical transformation has been the mental and emotional changes I’ve experienced thanks to CYC. I was extremely intimidated about going to a yoga studio. I thought I would never fit in and would look silly. I couldn’t have been more wrong. CYC is the most welcoming place – no matter how I feel when I walk into class, I always leave feeling cleansed, refreshed, and thoroughly worked out. CYC has taught me to appreciate my body for what it can do and not beat myself up for what I perceive as my shortcomings. I’ll never be perfect, but if I show up to class and put forth an honest effort, I’ll reap the rewards. Before starting a regular yoga practice, I often hated my body. Now, I’m more than at peace with my body – I love my body!
None of this would be possible without the amazing people at CYC. Brian runs a top-notch studio and truly cares about his students. He teaches in a way that is easy to understand and allows individuals of all levels to push to their personal limits in a safe and supportive environment. Bill’s concentration on breath helps move my practice from just physical to meditative. All of the teachers are amazing. Every time I have friends or family visit from out of town I make sure they come to class with me – my best friend says she would move to SF from NYC just because of CYC. My yoga practice at CYC has truly changed me inside and out and I could not be more grateful.
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