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.
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.
At Flow Pilates Centre, Gina Santangelo and her staff have three roomfuls of Stott Pilates equipment at their disposal, including reformers, stability chairs, and vertical frames. It's this ample space and massive equipment arsenal that allow them to offer up to five equipment-based Pilates classes per day, where small groups of eight students focus on strengthening their cores and building lean muscle on the fitness contraptions. For those new to Pilates, mat classes instill the technique's core principles without a reformer's resistance or a pulley's physics equations. But the studio's offerings extend far beyond Pilates, with classes ranging from yoga and Zumba to Xtend Barre and TRX suspension training. Santangelo, who is also a certified health and wellness coach, can also help students replenish and detoxify with her anti-inflammatory nutrition program.
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 nine 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.
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.
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.