Mandy Grant is an expert at working up a sweat; she’s been a fitness enthusiast for decades. So it’s no surprise that the avid exerciser went on to open her personal yoga studio, which she lovingly named after the Zulu word for sweat. Students will also be pleasantly surprised to learn that Mandy donates 15% off all profits from this studio’s classes to assist AIDS orphans in South Africa and all donations from community classes to other charities.
Mandy’s passion to help others doesn’t stop there. At the Bergen County studio, students of all levels are given ample attention during 75-minute yoga classes, which are rooted in Hatha but also incorporate elements of Vinyasa flow, pranayama, and meditation. This style of teaching encourages yogis to connect their breathing with their postures and calming thoughts. Mandy and her dedicated instructors also spice up workout routines with heated Vinyasa sessions and mat Pilates.
A licensed chiropractor and experienced martial artist, Dr. John Surie started practicing hot yoga when he met his future wife, Natalie. Charmed by her Australian accent and passion for the practice, he soon became an avid Bikram student himself, and in 2002, the husband-and-wife duo opened their first studio with Natalie helming her own curriculum of Bikram-inspired classes. Today, their hot-yoga empire has expanded to five studios sprinkled across the United States and Australia, each teeming with certified instructors who lead students through 13 different class styles. Designed to make hot yoga accessible to everyone, classes range from the studio’s signature Ignite series, which introduces newcomers to the foundations of hot yoga, to intense Shape classes that see stretchers melding hot-yoga and Pilates moves while solving Pythagorean equations.
Each studio comes equipped with special flooring tailored to the humid environment of hot yoga, as well as air-circulation and advanced heating systems to keep fresh, hot air blowing.
Regardless of the climate outside, students can count on tropical temperatures upon entering One Love Hot Yoga's spacious garage studio. Heated to approximately 95 degrees with 50% humidity, the studio surrounds practitioners with a balmy atmosphere that helps detoxify bodies and lengthen muscles as they move through a continuous series of poses and unhurried, deep breaths. While each class is taught in this Vinyasa tradition, the certified instructors often infuse their own unique experiences and specialties into their practice.
CGI Holistic Fitness & Spa makes it their mission to engineer a world where everyone benefits from "healthy bodies, happy hearts, and peaceful minds." So far, the sprawling mecca of Eastern holistic-health philosophies, state-of-the art exercise equipment, and luxurious spa facilities has conquered 30,000 square feet. The venue features a gym full of cardio and weightlifting machines, as well as an air-purification system. The heated, competition-sized pool hosts aqua-aerobic classes, and the entire 25-yard body of water is pumped through a natural-element filtration system that reduces the need for chlorine in the water. Group fitness classes take place in the gym or in classrooms, ranging from high-energy dance aerobics to meditation-minded yoga classes.
In the spa, patrons relax in the heat of multiple kinds of saunas, some infused with salt, others heated with classic steam, and one constructed of Korean-imported Mec granite, a stone famed for its array of body-friendly minerals. Aromatherapy baths submerge all the senses in a mix of hot water and essential oils. Hot and cold soaking tubs assist members in recovering from injuries, cooling down after a particularly intense workout, or saving their pet snowmen from the ravages of summer.
Naturally Yoga gets the whole family breathing, bending, and relaxing with yoga classes based in Vinyasa flow. Children as young as 3 can prepare for a lifetime of practice during sessions that incorporate creativity and storytelling. For adults, Naturally Yoga offers up a slew of options, including Thai yoga, which incorporates therapeutic stretching, acupressure, and Hatha yoga poses and a restorative class that melts away stress in a much more peaceful fashion than sleeping on a bed of hot coals. After class, practitioners can visit the juice bar and vegan cafe or browse through the constantly changing selection of wares at Naturally Yoga's boutique, picking up everything from eye pillows to herbal lotions and shawls.
Gina Goldberg—the director of hOMe yoga experience— discovered Anusara yoga more than a decade ago, and she is now a certified Kripalu-yoga instructor and children's yoga teacher. Gina's time in trainings and workshops has greatly influenced and inspired her to awaken the same passion in her students.
Gina and her fellow instructors teach an array of classes inside a hot studio, which cleanses the body and loosens muscles. In addition to guiding adults through intentional movements and conscious-breathing techniques, they also teach children's classes sans heat. After each session, the lounge and gift shop beckons students with cozy furniture and yoga accessories. When she isn't instructing students, Gina presides over workshops, teacher training, and drum circles.