Mahatma Gandhi once spoke the words, "Be the change you wish to see in the world." Yoga instructor Kimberly strives to live by this motto. Though she holds degrees in civil engineering and finance, she chooses instead to volunteer in the community, coach young female runners, and support education programs. At Yogacentric, Kimberly helps students of all ages manage stress, lose weight, and successfully impersonate a rubber band through 10 classes and counting. Trained in the Ashtanga system of yoga, Kimberly emphasizes breath as the connection between asanas.
Bodily alignment can help create order in the mind and heart as well, according to Omni Kitts Ferrara, the professional dancer who owns Yoga Montclair and sister studio Yoga Morristown. At the Yoga Alliance approved 200 RYS and 500 RYS studios, she and her team of Yoga Alliance–certified teachers shepherd students toward the peace and goodness that lie within using flowing movements and moments of meditation. They welcome students of all experience levels and walks of life, inviting them to stay "as long as the conversation intrigues [them]." To cultivate physical and metaphysical strength, classes pair inspirational words with poses as playful as a puppy fetching a red clown nose. Instructors begin each session with a mind-centering exercise before launching into stretches, balances, and breath work that melt stress and bolster flexibility. Basic and Gentle routines teem with beginner-friendly poses and alignment guidance, and Level I/II classes ready students for intermediate-level backbends, headstands, and handstands.
AE Fitness Montclair offers more than a typical workout experience, but rather a roadmap to a comprehensive healthy lifestyle. Their gym corals the usual suspects such as cardio machines, strength training machines, and free weights, and supplements them with a posse of classes ranging from yoga and Zumba to Pilates, and Burn 30 Weight Loss. They also employ a team of certified personal trainers that design a customized workout plan for each client.
Yoga Desha's founder, Rebecca Bergstrom, is no stranger to struggle, and has long turned to yoga whenever she finds herself in need of physical and spiritual uplifting. Her interest in the mind-body connection began when she was just a teen and fueled her studies in human biology and psychology at Stanford University, as well as her time spent dancing at the Martha Graham School. Her search for spiritual healing took an entirely new direction, however, when she suddenly lost her young husband while expecting their first child. Finding her prenatal yoga practice to play an integral part in healing her emotional ails, she soon decided to become a yoga teacher herself and dedicate her life to helping people from all walks of life heal from their own mental, physical, or spiritual traumas.
She has since earned the 500-hour teaching certification from the Yoga Alliance––the highest possible certification from the program––and compiled a team of instructors that leads classes seven days a week. Classes range from pre- or postnatal yoga and beginner's Vinyasa to sessions that emphasize alignment and focus.
Aikido is the "loving protection of all beings," in the words of Morihei Ueshiba, who created the martial-arts style. Although it sometimes incorporates wooden weapons, at its heart, aikido seeks to act as a replacement for violence. Greg O'Connor, founder and chief instructor at Aikido Centers of New Jersey, brings Ueshiba's tenets to his students, who have included children and seniors, as well as members of the New Jersey State Police, the Department of Homeland Security, and the US Secret Service. O'Connor and more than 40 other instructors teach students self-defense tactics that redirect attacks, as well as more advanced methods that include wooden sword and staff training and aikido's dramatic falls and rolls.
Curves is a fitness center designed exclusively for women. Redeem your Groupon at one of the 21 participating locations. Each membership can be used toward unlimited visits and free weight-management classes with trained professionals. The value of this Groupon also includes a one time $99 service fee.
Powerhouse Gyms ferry fitness seekers to their goals with a host of exercise equipment while experienced trainers tune up fat-burning engines in a plethora of free fitness classes. Beginning bench pressers and workout wizards alike can rev their muscle motors with free weights, weight-training machinery, and cardio equipment outfitted with personal flat-screen TVs to help make workouts fly by quicker than a hummingbird in a tornado. Gym membership also grants unlimited access to group fitness classes; Saline's schedule is packed with courses such as Pilates, Boot Camp, Cardio Kickboxing, and Yoga Fusion, which helps practitioners relax, stretch tendons, and rectify posture. Powerhouse Ypsilanti keeps hearts healthy with classes such as Latin-dance-inspired Zumba, spinning sessions, and kickboxing group workouts.