Susan Powter is back in town and her women's yoga classes are starting up again: Monday, Wednesday, Friday evenings and Sunday noon in Fremont. (Contact me for specifics.) Payment is by the individual class (i.e., drop-in). The first class is a free "tryout." Bring a yoga mat, water, and -- if you have them -- a set of light wrist or ankle weights. You can start the program at any point.
I think Susan's classes are great because they are do-able, entertaining, and extremely effective for transforming fat into muscle. Most people lose weight, but everyone who does her classes loses inches. The classes are based on a Vinyasa yoga workout, but the emphasis is on breathing and on developing strength, endurance, and flexibility.
This is by no means a class for skinny Barbie dolls. A good number of the women in the class are obese to the point that it affects their mobility. There are also a number of women (like me) who work around physical injuries. Susan offers modifications that can work for everyone.
But, to be honest with you, this program isn't meant for everybody.
• The program won't yield exciting results if you only exercise twice a week. Not quite sure what the "magic formula" is, but if your only exercise is this class, twice a week, you'll get some initial effect, but then hit a plateau. To get a great fitness effect, you have do three 90-minute classes a week, or do two of these plus one other aerobic/strength workout during the week. (I'll probably be doing two or three of Susan's classes and a belly dance class; we have other folks who play soccer, or run.)
• You have to be able to modify, doing the versions of the poses that are comfortable for you and working up to the more difficult ones. If you insist on doing everything perfectly right away, you'll turn bright red like a lobster and then hate the class. I've learned that there are people who simply can't modify for fear of being criticized (apparently by some nasty gym teacher in their distant past); this program isn't for them.