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.
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.
Having studied ballet, tap dance, and Greek folk dance in her youth, Maria Kyriakakis has cultivated a lifelong fervor for world music, movement, and fitness. When she discovered Zumba—which combines her passions into a single, energetic workout—she was immediately hooked and board-stomped her way into a certification.
Meanwhile, her future husband Pedro Concalves—a dancer trained at London Contemporary Dance School—had moved to New York to study Eagle Claw kung fu, becoming one of only six people in the world to receive certification from Grandmaster Leung Shum. Today, the espoused duo leads dance and martial-arts training sessions in a studio that looks for all the world like the setting for Neo and Morpheus' first fight in The Matrix. Inside, under a vaulted ceiling, a team of instructors holds Zumba dance-fitness classes, tribal-fusion belly-dance classes, and Northern Shaolin–style Eagle Claw kung fu classes.
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.
Becoming a licensed massage therapist was a natural progression for Nancy Silver. Already an enthusiast of yoga and its pain-reducing effects, she began studying Swedish and medical massage techniques at the Institute for Therapeutic Massage to further her understanding of healing powers. Nancy's studies led her to take courses in chair massage, Reiki levels one and two, Eastern bodywork, foot reflexology, and myofascial release. Today, Nancy uses her yoga and massage training to help clients reduce stress and eliminate pain by applying an array of healing techniques, rather than by scolding sore muscles and sending them to timeout.
Like any factory, NJ Fitness Factory demands hard work. Unlike other factories, though, the fitness studio features the supportive and encouraging words of co-owners Marc Ronches and Russ Teitsma. Their voices can be heard during one-on-one personal training sessions as well as small group training sessions. To help soothe muscles after the calorie-burning workouts, the studio offers massage therapy.
Kate Saab is a certified personal trainer, aesthetician, and massage therapist who’s had a passion for fitness her entire life. Today, she extends her love of health and wellness to others at Versa Fit & Spa. In addition to leading dynamic fitness classes, Saab orchestrates relaxing sessions in the SlimLine Oxygen Pod, which uses gentle massage, heat, and light to improve metabolism, detoxify the body, and, in special cases, transport clients to the planet of Pandora.