Although its classes can provide a physical challenge, South Mountain Yoga emphasizes a mindful, contemplative form of yoga practice that teaches self-empowerment to students of all skill levels. The renovated studio space?housed within a 100-year-old building overlooking Spiotta Park?features modern amenities, such as a new, strand-woven bamboo floor and a back wall of sliding glass doors. This practice area is where the instructors share their passion for yoga?and encourage students to make yoga a part of their everyday lives. During beginner-level sessions, students learn the fundamentals of maintaining safe postural alignment and performing mindful breathing exercises. As they deepen their practice with South Mountain Yoga, they can begin to master inversions and other complex postures while constantly honing their strength and flexibility.
Guided by a mission of embracing every student's quest for personal growth, the team at YogaWorks offers programs for all ages and walks of life. Harnessing a minimum of 500 hours of Yoga Alliance training, expert instructors build lean muscles with traditional Ashtanga, Iyengar, and Vinyasa flow classes enhanced by inspiring music, ambient candlelight, meditation, and props. Their fitness classes further the body-shaping results of yoga, strengthening core muscles with Pilates, increasing endurance and lean muscles with TRX classes, and building stamina with resistance-based SculptWorks.
Instructors also host exotic yoga retreats, which marry the excitement of travel to far-away locales with the benefits of yoga to bestow students with the confident grace required to approach a foreign yoga mat without startling it. Those in search of further training can access online videos by subscribing to myyogaworks.com, which offers a free, 14-day trial for new users. Students can search for videos by workout duration, skill level, and the targeted area of the body.
Seth Weisberg and Alison McCue, cofounders of Garden State Yoga, strive to foster growth and community for both students and teachers of yoga. Along with their fellow instructors, they teach yoga classes inside two distinct studios. Their heated studio offers hot power Vinyasa classes, inspired by the Baron Baptiste style, that detoxify bodies, build strength, reduce stress, and encourage self-awareness. The other studio hosts Vinyasa, Zumba, restorative yoga, and yin yoga classes at normal temperatures. When they aren't striking peaceful poses on their home turf, instructors offer corporate yoga at retail businesses such as Barnes & Noble and Whole Foods. Seth and Alison also pass along their knowledge during regular teacher-training courses for yogis who want to earn their certification through Yoga Alliance.
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.
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.