On the last Saturday of each month, Robin Soll hosts a free yoga session, open to all. The gesture is typical of Robin, a certified instructor who has been blending her passion for yoga and her community since the 1970s. To encourage her neighbors to practice yoga, she also conducts custom sessions at homes and offices around the area, as well as demonstrations for businesses where employees can learn stress-management techniques that don’t involve ripping the photocopier in half with their bare hands.
Robin leads more in-depth classes at her Marlton studio, where she practices eight yoga styles, one of which relies on a combination of moves from yoga and Pilates. She introduces students to 26 fundamental poses during slow-paced Gentle Yoga sessions, while her faster Power Yoga courses plow through various movements and stretches. She also integrates blankets, blocks, and straps to meditative sessions where poses are held for long periods of time.
Hot yoga doesn't just help practitioners lose weight, increase flexibility, and tone muscles. It also helps them heal from life-threatening injuries. Bhakti Yoga South Jersey owner Ed Gergler is proof of that. After a near-fatal car crash, Gergler discovered hot yoga, which helped him treat his chronic back pain without surgery. It was so effective that he switched careers from a construction pipe worker to a yoga teacher and studio owner. Now he and his staff lead students through heated yoga classes that strengthen their cores and Warm Yoga with Nidra that helps them reduce stress and achieve peaceful mindsets. The teachers even offer up tips to new students, encouraging them to drink plenty of water and keep an open mind.
One gym can hardly contain Master Solomon Brenner's martial-arts expertise, which is why his school—Action Karate—has expanded to 13 different locations. Brenner believes that the martial arts are a lifelong pursuit, so he takes on students aged 3–93.
His classes for kids blend fitness with self-discipline, whereas his classes for adults focus on toning exercises and self-defense. Not all of his classes involve combat; some dedicate entire hours to pure strength training or cool-pose striking. He and his staff also host birthday parties for kids, which include fun martial-arts instruction, games, and a ceremonial slicing of birthday cake with a samurai sword.
Ten years ago, Jon Haas counted himself among other out-of-shape office workers. He'd begun to fill out and develop back pain thanks to long workdays spent in front of a computer screen. To stave off the effects of his sedentary lifestyle, Jon began performing short, powerful workouts in the comfort of his hotel room, often using simply his own bodyweight and a chair. Then he added a kettlebell. Eventually, the exercises gained such popularity among his family, friends, and coworkers that Jon opened Warrior Fitness Gym, which offers a variety of fitness classes, including boxing and martial arts, to combat ill health and extra pounds.
At the age of 4, Josh Gannone got his first taste of wrestling. His father thought the sport might be more captivating for his son, who previously had fallen asleep during a karate class. After being beaten up for the entire first session, Josh went on to win a state title in his youth, wrestle for the Team New Jersey for a select time before college, and begin coaching after graduating. Today, he teaches his first love, wrestling, alongside newer passions: Jiu Jitsu, MMA, and circuit training.
Though Retro Fitness may boast a time-tested approach to fitness, the gym itself is anything but old fashioned. The stationary bikes are hooked up to the Internet, and treadmills sport personal TVs. Guests can also take a variety of group fitness classes, including yoga, kickboxing, and Zumba.