Yoga Vita seems to be made of sunshine. Glowing paper lanterns and golden-yellow walls greet all who enter, awakening the senses while melting the day’s stresses. Amid lush, green plants, new and seasoned yogis cultivate strength and focus with lengthy poses, controlled-breathing exercises, and guided meditation. To help students to align their bodies properly, instructors such as studio director Debra Lauren incorporate straps, blocks, and other supportive props. Debra has amassed a deep understanding of Iyengar yoga during repeated trips to India, which have refined her teaching skills and earned her enough frequent-flier miles to book passage to Jupiter.
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.
During Shiva Shanti Yoga School's Vinyasa-style yoga classes, founder Felise Berman guides students toward inner peace with outward expressions of love, joy, and gratitude. Known as Shivadasi to her pupils, Berman draws upon studies at India's Bihar Yoga Bharati Institute for Advanced Studies to fill multilevel routines with ancient poses and meditation exercises. Most sessions begin with Shivadasi's signature sun salutation, which unites 24 asanas that warm the muscles and focus the brain. As the class progresses, deep breaths weave movements into a flow that’s more graceful than a swan's royal curtsy. In addition to hosting Vinyasa classes, Shivadasi and her teaching team lead yoga nidra sessions, which relax the body as the mind explores lucid dreams. The studio also helps pupils deepen their yogic practice with one-on-one tutorials and a collection of instructional DVDs available in its online boutique.
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.
BambooMoves yoga studios have sprouted up in towns in New Jersey and New York, each serving as a tranquil retreat from the stress of office jobs and futile hunts for the remote control. Though focal point of the studios is their yoga classes, the seasoned and certified teachers also lead tai chi, capoeira, and meditation sessions. They offer a comprehensive yoga teacher training program too, guiding aspiring teachers in everything from yoga philosophy to nutrition.
The expert staff can also treat clients to soothing massages in styles such as reflexology, Swedish, and shiatsu shin tai. Nutrition specialist are available to guide clients through juice cleanses, which aim to purify bodies of harmful toxins and excess fat.
At Movement Journeys, the experienced staff teach a wide variety of classes, including belly dance, Pilates, and Ashtanga yoga. The outfit balances out its workout fare with jazz, Zumba, and ballroom-dance classes designed to help students stimulate their creativity and move in different ways. They offer most classes in levels that range from beginner to virtuoso and age groups that range from 13 years of age to seniors, ensuring every student learns at a comfortable pace.