Gracie Photo by: GARYANDPIERRESILVA .COM Three time world jiu jitsu champion Fabio Leopoldo, owner and head instructor of Gracie Morumbi Academy, with his wife kettlebell instructor, Dini. Fabio Leopoldo is the first place winner for best martial arts instructor, while Gracie Morumbi Academy is the first place winner for martial arts studio.

Best of Health & Fitness




1st Place
Ralph Wilson, Wilson Chiropractic and Sports Medicine, 2000 E. Main St., Ventura, 643-4176

2nd Place
Logan Osland, Logan Osland Chiropractic, 4561 Market St., Ventura, 644-4937

3rd Place
Sharon MacDonald, Vitality Chiropractic, 4080 Loma Vista Road, suite H, Ventura, 648-6866


Cosmetic Surgeon

1st Place
Dr. Yuly Gorodisky, 1801 Solar Drive, suite 150, Oxnard, (866) 909-2945; 32144 Agoura Road, suite 220, Westlake Village, (818) 879-0100

2nd Place
Dr. Michael Pickart, Pickart Plastic Surgery, 1746 S Victoria Ave., suite 250, Ventura, 232-5688

3rd Place
Dr. Samuel Bern, Ventura Plastic Surgery Specialists, 1280 S. Victoria Ave., suite 201, Ventura, 642-1699


Dance Instructor

1st Place
Louise Bretz, 223-0635,

2nd Place
Rob and Diane Van Haaren, Yeahman Productions, 804-7035

3rd Place
Ionia Kershaw at Zumba Fitness, 2640 E. Main St., Ventura, 804-6108


Dance Studio

1st Place
Ventura Danzar and Zumba Fitness, 2640 E. Main St., Ventura, 804-6108

2nd Place
Billy Clower Dance Studio, 75 MacMillan St., Ventura, 643-5036

3rd Place, Home of Happy Feet, 804-7035



1st Place
Dr. Bryan Fisch,Ventura Center for Dental Health, 2807 Loma Vista Road., suite 201, Ventura, 656-7033

2nd Place
Dr. David Satnick, Center for Sleep Disorders Dentistry, 6633 Telephone Road, suite 220, Ventura, 639-3050

3rd Place
Dr. Stacy Schmitt, 3400 Loma Vista Road, suite 8, Ventura, 642-6884



1st Place
Dr. Ross Kaplan, Coastal Dermatology, 3615 Las Posas Road, suite F100, 484-2813

2nd Place TIE
Dr. Peter L. Karlsberg, 1190 S. Victoria Ave., suite 300, Ventura, 677-1600
Dr. Robert Jordan,  3400 Loma Vista Road, suite 1, Ventura, 644-9321


Family Practitioner

1st Place
Dr. Thomas McBreen, 2929 Loma Vista Road, suite E, Ventura, 653-5741

2nd Place
Dr. Robert Warwar, Warwar Medical Group, 72 N. Brent St., 648-3063

3rd Place
Dr. Carolyn Chase, Primary Medical Group, 3555 Loma Vista Road, Ventura, 653-0303



1st Place
Mavericks Gym, 5171 Telegraph Road, Ventura, 642-9600

2nd Place
Ventura Family YMCA, 3760 Telegraph Road, Ventura, 642-2131

3rd Place
True North Fitness, 6010 Olivas Park Drive, suite D, Ventura, 650-1239


Holistic Practitioner

1st Place
Ashley Becker at the European Center for Health, 1975 S. Victoria Avenue, Ventura, 477-0577

2nd Place
Ema Salmon at Ema’s Herbs, 695 E. Main St., Ventura, 648-6426

3rd Place
Lisa Wong at Holistic Healing Center, 5700 Ralston St., suite 110, Ventura, 653-6008


Licensed Massage Therapist

1st Place
Shannon Mathey at ArchiTexture, 25 S. Ventura Ave., Ventura, 641-3900

2nd Place
Abby Nielsen at Embody Wellness, 176 N, Ashwood Ave., Ventura, 217-3307

3rd Place
Kim Freetly, 2021 Sperry Avenue Suite 7, Ventura, 612-0968


Martial Arts Instructor

1st Place
Fabio Leopoldo at Gracie Morumbi Academy, 2160 E. Thompson Boulevard, Ventura, 643-7717; 1182 E. Thousand Oaks Boulevard, Thousand Oaks, 496-1610; 722 Arneill Road, Camarillo, 482-2777

2nd Place
Michael Cerminaro at TaeKwonDo Plus, 5912 Telegraph Road, Ventura, 644-4777; 676 E. Ponderosa Drive, Camarillo, 987-3306


Photo by Gary and Pierre Silva.
Karen Gevara at Gracie Morumbi Academy
is always willing to lend a helping hand.


Martial Arts Studio

1st Place
Gracie Morumbi Academy, 2160 E. Thompson Blvd., Ventura, 643-7717; 1182 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., suite A, Thousand Oaks, 496-1610; 722 Arneill Road, Camarillo, 482-2777

2nd Place
TaeKwonDo Plus, 5912 Telegraph Road, Ventura, 644-4777; 676 E. Ponderosa Drive, Camarillo, 987-3306

3rd Place
Camarillo Mixed Martial Arts and Fitness, 5800 Santa Rosa Road, suite 133, Camarillo, 914-4129

Personal Trainer

1st Place
Shannon Yontz at True North Fitness, 6019-D Olivas Park Drive, Ventura, 650-1239

2nd Place
Blair Ferguson at Ventura Training and Athletics, 1725 E. Main St., Ventura, 805-MAT-2144; (628-2144)

3rd Place
Jami Klein at V-Fit, 4561 Market St., suite C, Ventura, 535-8822


Pilates Instructor

1st Place
Kathy Lopez, Pilates with Kathy, 1455 E. Main St., suite 200, Ventura, 844-3425

2nd Place
Gail DeSart at Mind & Body Wellness Studio, 1445 Donlon St., suite 9, Ventura, 654-8354

3rd Place
Pamela Pilkenton, Ventura Pilates and Spiraling Arts Studio, 1455 E. Main St., Ventura, 648-4191


Pilates Studio

1st Place
Mind & Body Wellness Studio, 1445 Donlon St., suite 9, Ventura, 654-8354

2nd Place
Pilates Influence, 3150 S. Harbor Blvd., Oxnard, 479-1066

3rd Place
Ventura Pilates Studio, 1455 E. Main St., Ventura, 648-4191


Yoga Instructor

1st Place
Audrey Walzer at Camarillo Yoga Center, 5800 Santa Rosa Road, suite 127, Camarillo, 484-8810

2nd Place
Pixie Kastrup at Yoga Jones, 105 S. Oak St., suite 200, Ventura , 643-JONZ

3rd Place
Maribeth Hammond at The Yoga Channel at Silverstrand Beach, 2520 Roosevelt Blvd., Oxnard, 984-2520


Yoga Studio

1st Place
Camarillo Yoga Center, 5800 Santa Rosa Road, suite 127, Camarillo, 484-8810

2nd Place
Yoga Jones, 105 S. Oak St., suite 200, Ventura, 643-JONZ

3rd Place
The Yoga Channel at Silverstrand Beach, 2520 Roosevelt Blvd., Oxnard, 984-2520


Best place to get in the rhythm

Jai Rhythm Yoga
175 S. Ventura Ave., suite 103B, Ventura, 652-7490

Photo by Chris O’Neal.
Jai Rhythm Yoga co-owner Rob Hess can bust a move.

A wise man once said that you’ve gotta get up to get down, but what if you’re not as nimble as some of the cool kids? What if your flow is off and getting down would result in an extended period of staying down? Look no further than yoga, the ancient practice of becoming and staying nimble, and no one gets you into the flow better than the instructors at Ventura’s Jai Rhythm Yoga.

Using a technique known as “Prana Flow,” owners Rob Hess and Colin Brightfield get the blood pumping with an energetic form of yoga reserved for those ready and willing to get down on it.

Open for just a little over a month, Jai Rhythm has made a name for itself by tailoring to the perhaps more advanced yoga practitioners, though newbies are always welcome. Situated inside of the artist commune known as the WAV, Jai Rhythm reaches new students via word of mouth rather than through advertising.

Jai Rhythm has captured an audience of yoga fans for whom the slow, peaceful pace might not be up to speed. Power yoga, another method taught by the group, focuses on movements and athleticism while mastering the corresponding poses.

If you’re feeling a bit stiff and need a good boost to your energy, Jai Rhythm has you covered. You might not be able to bust a move like a professional, but you will be able to stretch it out like a pro after a good session or two. Namaste!

 — Chris O’Neal


Best local, organic food trend

Patagonia farmers market for employees

Patagonia employees enjoy shopping for locally grown
organic produce without leaving the workplace.

Patagonia is known across the globe for high-performing clothes and commitment to environmental causes, and company leaders now hope inviting farmers to the Ventura headquarters will encourage people to eat locally grown food that nourishes bodies and the planet.

They recently started a farmers market for employees with a philosophy about food similar to that of the on-site café, which serves more wholesome and delicious meals than standard corporate cafeterias or office building vending machines. Micah Knox is the chef and manager for Patagonia’s employee cafe, which has always been run by company employees instead of being outsourced. Knox has tried to emphasize company philosophies about simplicity and quality since he took over about seven years ago, and holding a farmers market during business hours is an extension of that.

Patagonia Director of Human Resources Shannon Ellis also believes it benefits the planet when people eat food that’s not shipped from great distances away.

In addition to buying local produce, the cafe also uses herbs and fruit grown on the campus. The company hopes to set an example for other large companies that could invite farmers to sell directly to workers and that it will encourage other people to shop at larger, more-established farmers markets like the ones in Ventura and Ojai. Patagonia might also open up its farmers market to neighbors sometime in the future.

— Alex Wilson


Best place to SOAR and give back

SOAR Trail Run Series
Throughout Ventura County 

Runners enjoy the county’s open spaces near Moorpark thanks to SOAR.

A series of annual trail runs coming up in November will help raise money for continuing efforts to preserve Ventura County farmland.

Save Open-Space and Agricultural Resources laws were passed countywide and in most local cities around the late 1990s, but will need to be reapproved at the ballot box in a few years for them to continue into the future. Backers believe the SOAR Trail Run Series helps people appreciate the beauty of farms and open space by letting people interact with nature up close.

Even though the often controversial laws have been opposed by some landowners and private property rights advocates, other farmers who support slow-growth measures enjoy opening up their land to race participants.

Open space and farmland protected by SOAR measures can still be developed if voters approve the plans. Since the laws were first passed, some developments have won at the ballot box and others have been rejected.

The first race in the series is the ninth annual SOAR Run Through the Orchards on Nov. 3, at Tierra Rejada Ranch near Moorpark, which features 5K and 1K options. The course winds through avocado and orange groves.

Other races in the series include the 20th annual Salmon Run along the Ventura River, the Camarillo Off-Road 5K Trail Run, and finally the Aloha Turkey Roundup across hillside trails of Ventura’s Arroyo Verde Park the weekend before Thanksgiving.

Runners who complete at least three out of the four races are eligible to receive some special rewards for their efforts.

— Alex Wilson

Best massage for less than $50

The Massage Place
652 E. Main St., Ventura, 652-1450; 4255 E. Main St, Ventura,477-7501;
2100 Outlet Center Drive, suite 360, Oxnard 485-0568

Due largely to the presence of Ojai, Ventura County overall is slim in spa options, especially affordabla ones. No doubt, the Ojai Valley Inn and Spa comes readily to mind when the topic arises, but few folks can easily shell out $160 for a 50-minute rub-down, no matter how fancy the digs are. Sure, there are more affordable options to be found in Ojai — Isla, a therapist at Aria Day Spa, is well worth the $110 she charges for a 90-minute massage — but the average going rate up in the valley is in the $75-90 range for an hour-long treatment. Down at the coast, though, that is where sore muscles come to loosen on the cheap. At Twin Palms Health and Beauty, first-time customers can score an hour-long session for $55. (The going rate on that is $70.) That’s not a bad deal, but it’s a one-trick pony. And you can do better. That’s where The Massage Place comes into play. With three Ventura County locations to serve you (Downtown, East End and Oxnard), The Massage Place has your back … literally! Here, a 60-minute massage will lighten your pocket by a mere $47. Feeling extra-tight? Shell out an extra 20 bones and enjoy a 90-minute session for $67. Practitioners — Akiko at the Main Street store is awesome! — offer a choice of deep tissue, Swedish, pre-natal, acupressure, shiatsu and more, so there’s something for everybody. No, the space isn’t nearly as swanky as the Ojai Valley Inn, but your eyes are going to be closed most of the time anyway.

— Kelly McCartney





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