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.
Even when she was swamped with a private psychotherapy practice and raising three kids, Bernadette Silva always found time for exercise. For the past 10 years, the certified personal trainer has studied boxing, yoga, and Pilates, ultimately developing her own workout style that fuses the aforementioned techniques with sports drills. In 2008, Silva and a group of local women spearheaded Neighborhood Workouts—the fitness program that would become Real Body Bootcamp.
Today, Silva and her team of certified personal trainers captain a gaggle of fitness classes throughout the week. Their signature boot camp fuses sports drills with high-intensity routines of cardio, strength training, yoga, and Pilates to offload calories, bolster cores, and build more endurance. The class list also includes Zumba and Piloxing fitness classes as well as kids' fitness classes, during which youngsters build self-confidence and the strength to finally confront the lunch ladies who take their money every day.
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.
Although it sounds like an equation dreamed up by a sedentary scientist, IM=X stands for something that’s anything but sedentary: Integrated Movement eXercise. In its 16 years of existence, this fitness method has drawn the attention of media outlets such as Shape, Self, and the New York Times. The program’s concept stemmed from founder Elyse McNergney’s Pilates certifications, MA in movement science, and EdM in exercise physiology from Columbia University.
Elyse devised a method for teaching students how to stabilize their core-muscle groups while keeping the spine elongated and safe during the workout. The outcome she helps clients achieve is a decompressed spine, better posture, and the ability to provide piggyback rides for 12 toddlers at a time. Her program has also been used to rehabilitate professional athletes, dancers, and patients suffering from chronic pain.
Operating from within the Chiropractic Wellness Center of Clifton, the intimate workout space is filled with IM=X reformer machines. A mural of Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada, gazes on serenely as students perform workouts inspired by not only Pilates but yoga, cycling, cardio, and ballet barre.
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.
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.
For the past 25 years, Starseed Yoga & Wellness has provided a space for guests to get in shape and relieve anxiety through yoga and meditation. The staff understands that starting yoga can be overwhelming, so they offer more than 25 classes each week to suit students with different levels of experience or rebellious students who refuse to salute the sun. Students can participate in vigorous Vinyasa sessions or gentle restorative yoga, or head to mind-body workshops held at different times throughout the year.