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.
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.
For Jagadisha Peter Petrovic, yoga lessons came early and often. What began with a simple stretching exercise on a family vacation blossomed into a lifetime of yogic learning, including stints at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health and certifications from global masters including Dr. Jeff Migdow and Bikram Choudhury. Now, he puts those experiences to use as the founder and head instructor at Be Evolution Hot Yoga, where his team of experienced yoga instructors flush away toxins and increase muscle flexibility for deeper stretches during targeted stretch sessions. The center operates two studios side-by-side: one heated to a steamy 106 degrees for traditional hot yoga, and one warmed to a balmy-yet-manageable 78 degrees for less strenuous sessions. After class ends, students can also pop into the center's brand new boutique, where racks of new gear and practice materials await.
Inside Boone Studio, exercisers follow the lead of energetic instructors as they bend, bob, and stretch their way to stronger, more flexible physiques. During barre workouts, participants alternate exercises that build long, lean muscles with the help of body weight, weighted gloves, and resistance bands. These workouts can also take place in a room heated to 85 degrees, which helps loosen muscles, flush systems, and improve the deep isometrics and contractions of each session. The ballet barre also plays an important role in many of Boone’s other classes, helping yoga and Pilates students emphasize alignment as they bend, breathe, and grind their skateboards.
Bare feet squeak against the maple-hued hardwood floors at Verona Yoga and Wellness Center as experienced instructors guide students through yoga, belly-dance, and kung-fu moves. Floor to ceiling mirrors let students self-correct while moving into warrior pose in yoga sessions and slipping through the quick snaps of martial arts.