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.
In June 2010, all four Gencarelli family members—parents Lou Sr. and Susan, daughter Stephanie, and brother and head personal trainer Lou Jr.—came together to open Hardbodyz Fitness. Today, visitors to the gym will always find at least one Gencarelli chatting with guests, giving out complimentary eye contact, and making sure everything's running smoothly.
The Gencarellis and their red-shirted staff help members navigate a 7,500-square-foot facility to take advantage of a score of strength-building and cardio classes, free-weights, a sunlit spin studio, and a cardio area equipped with individual TVs and iPod hookups at each of about 40 machines. Nationally certified personal trainers, instructors, and nutritionists work throughout the open floor plan to help patrons achieve specific wellness goals or simply blow off steam.
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.
YOUnique Yoga's instructors oversee their studios' schedules of physically invigorating yoga sessions, which meet in intensely heated practice spaces to boost flexibility. Mainly employing Vinyasa techniques, the instructors teach all levels of students to perform a rhythmically flowing sequence of poses that uses synchronized breathing exercises to help students concentrate as they transition from one pose to the next with balance-challenging movements. In time, pupils learn to focus their thoughts while leaving their mind-body connections as balanced as a seesaw in zero gravity. The temperatures can hover between 98 and 108 degrees at each class, helping bodies safely sink into each stretch and shepherd toxins out the nearest sweat gland.
Tia Harris, a mother and a Montclair resident since 2008, couldn't have predicted that an activity she enjoyed as a relaxing hobby would later become her full-time career. She was laid off from her previous job in 2011 and found herself turning to beading as a stress-reducing creative outlet. Embracing her entrepreneurial spirit, Harris decided in 2012 to open TiaMarie Beading Studio, where she shares her passion with other jewelry enthusiasts. She told Barista Kids that "We are striving to create a sense of community and a fun place for creative ideas to come together."
To accomplish the studio’s goal, Harris handpicked her team of multitalented instructors, which includes a former interior designer, a certified fine-arts teacher and writer, and a graphic-design expert. In addition to teaching classes, the friendly crew regularly hosts birthday parties and girls' nights out, where ladies can learn the art of wire wrapping—one of the oldest known jewelry-making methods next to training cobras to coil around your wrist.
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.
Bar Academy 101’s co-owners Robert and Nicki have more than 15 years of experience in the bartending business between them. They emphasize hands-on learning during courses at a 24/7 model bar, where students can spend unlimited hours practicing the two main skills of bartending: mixing drinks and pouring them into patrons’ outstretched hands. Robert and Nicki share the skills they’ve learned in the field at the school’s glossy wooden bar stations, which feature tools and bottles much like those found in typical watering holes. This hands-on learning ensures that pupils are prepared for job placement at the end of courses. The dedicated team meets one-on-one with graduates, matching them with openings in local bars and restaurants.