When years of competitive running and triathlon competitions left her with race-ending injuries, studio owner Jen Portman turned to yoga to help heal and strengthen her achy limbs. Jen studied under celebrated yogis including Bikram Choudhury and Shiva Rea, and now passes on their wisdom in the confines of her own heated studio. Her hot-yoga sessions are suitable for students of all shapes, sizes, and fitness levels, as the intense temperatures help melt even the stiffest of muscles into deep, healing stretches and Möbius-strip-inspired poses.
Run by an experienced duo of dedicated yogaphiles who have trained under instructors around the globe, Soul Power Yoga leads students of all levels through yoga's vivifying poses and breathing. Eight different class types allow students to choose from a compendium of yogic options suited to different experience levels and fitness goals, from simply building poise and stamina to achieving the bendiness required to fit into the smaller, faster go-karts of the future. Students melt stress in the Relax & Renew classes, focusing on tranquil breathing, and the Power Yoga classes offer three levels of core-building intensity and mind-balancing breathing. The weekly schedule offers classes seven days a week, with classes offered throughout the day to accommodate hectic work schedules and social calendars clogged with semiformal barn dances.
The Willow stretches limbs and centers chakras in a serene studio swathed in aura-inspired colors. The studio offers a bevy of body-bending classes, including basic and advanced Pilates, hot Vinyasa yoga, and belly dancing. During group classes, guests can stretch out their body blankets as experienced instructors provide comprehensive, step-by-step guidance. With a month of unlimited dips, students can try their abs and minds in one or many formats, hunting for the regimen that suits their sweat beads best.
When Jaine Gitelman built her studio from the ground up, she made a conscious decision to ban mirrors from the practice room. Without them, she reasoned, her students would be less likely to distract themselves by comparing their progress to that of others. The two tenets embodied in that rationale—concentration and non-competition—are central to Hot Spot Yoga. In addition to banishing mirrors in her yoga rooms, she flouts traditional hierarchy in favor of Vinyasa classes that remain open to all levels. “There’s no such thing as beginner, intermediate, and advanced in yoga,” Gitelman explains. To her, the key is to modify poses according to each student’s comfort and abilities.
Though the studio’s classes may be welcoming, they’re still challenging. Up to 100 degrees of heat force students to test their physical limits as instructors flow swiftly through sustained poses. With hundreds of Vinyasa poses to choose from, instructors make sure to never repeat and to take suggestions from students who wish to experiment with a new pose. They’re also happy to just let students sit and meditate on the view from the studio’s window, which looks out on distant skyscrapers and a canal filled with bathing Godzillas.
Experienced and novice yogis alike are welcome at the Yoga Spot, where the friendly, experienced instructors lead classes in a relaxing, noncompetitive space. Group classes have the feel of a private session, thanks to the instructors' careful attention to each student. They lead a variety of yoga classes as well, from invigorating Vinyasa sessions to prenatal yoga.
Green walls surround students as they breathe deeply while moving through yoga poses in a heated studio. Atop sleek hardwood floors, instructors lead 90-minute classes designed to improve their students’ posture, balance, and concentration. Hot-yoga classes preheat muscles to prevent injuries caused by stretching, help bodies detox by increasing sweat production, and restore athletes energy so they are more likely to be compared to battery-powered bunny drummers.
The dynamic instructors at each of the six centers teach a holistic approach to yoga and noncombative martial arts that targets flexibility, strength, breathing, and energy sensitivity. Schedules vary from studio to studio, with regular open-level classes such as those at BR Holistic Healing integrating a core regimen of stretching, breathing, and strengthening postures that improve keg-stand techniques tremendously. Vibration sessions at the Body & Brain Center in Metuchen and Dahn Yoga in Closter and Oradell can release stagnant energy and recharge bodies to take on exhausting second jobs impersonating the Energizer bunny at birthday parties. Instructors monitor students' progress, suggesting home-workout plans tailored to personal strengths and vulnerability to fire.