Combining philanthropy with the ancient art of yoga, over 100 practitioners gathered at Bloomfield High School this weekend for The Garden State Yogathon.
“We’ve raised over $30,000 today – and we have a lot of smiling practitioners,” said Erin Barry, a yoga instructor and Director of Special Projects at Garden State Yoga in Bloomfield.
Sponsored by www.lookingforyoga.com, the marathon featured twelve hours of non-stop yoga for yoga practioners at every level. There were refreshments, live music, massage and raffles, and local vendors like Anthony’s Cheesecake, Blue Print Cleanse, Vita Coco, Whole Foods, Kind products and Lush products. All donated food and products to the effort.
The Yogathon was the brainchild of Seth Weisberg, founder of Looking for Yoga and co-founder of Garden State Yoga.
“This is our first time doing a yoga marathon,” said Weisberg. “It was about three years in the making.”
During the marathon, participants practiced yoga in teams of four in a continual rotation. With each new class a new teacher was introduced, thereby giving the participants an opportunity to try many different types of yoga.
“Everyone here fundraised at least $250 each,” said Barry. “The grand prize for the person who raises the most money is a yoga vacation. One woman raised $2,447 for Kula for Karma. She’s going on a vacation!”
Three organizations will benefit from the yogathon's fundraising efforts: Off The Mat and Into the World, a global activism network, the Urban Zen Integrative Therapy Program, a healing forum, and Kula for Karma, which “helps bring yoga to children in institutions.”
The organizations are for “people who need yoga most,” explained Barry.
The Yogathon is just one of many things happening this year at Garden State Yoga.
Yoga Under the Stars is a weekly Friday night event during the month of July. From 7-8 pm in the Whole Foods parking lot, participants can experience yoga for free. Zumba, yoga/jog classes, Mind, Body & Spirit workshops and “hot power vinyasa yoga” are just some of the offerings at the studio.
“Our niche is hot power vinyasa yoga, inspired by Baron Baptiste, one of the country’s premier yoga instructors,” said Weisberg, explaining that the hot, humid environment makes it “more like India.”
“It’s much better for your muscles and organs,” he said. “We have a couple of classes that are not heated but most are. If you don’t like heat we’ll direct you to a different studio.”
Massage therapist Darcy Doggett, who was on hand to give massages to participants throughout the marathon, said she had embraced vinyasa yoga, which is similar to Bikram yoga.
“I’ve found the heat doesn’t bother me on days like this, once I started doing yoga,” said Doggett. “It makes days like this not seem so bad.”
Other massage therapists at the yogathon were Cathy Gaines, Jennifer Terrizi and Jill Breier, all working beside a Massageinmontclair.com banner.
Garden State Yoga has also implemented a successful Corporate Yoga program, which brings yoga into the workplace. Participating corporate offices include Barnes and Noble, Whole Foods, Allied Building Products and Price Waterhouse Coopers in Manhattan.
In addition, Garden State Yoga hosts a “yoga vacation” every winter for about twenty participants.
“They’re yoga vacations – not retreats,” Wrisberg said. “Big difference! A retreat is usually very regimented, starts early and you’re required to participate. This is very relaxed. Everything is optional.”
“It’s always at a beach,” added Barry. “We go there to decompress. We want people to come back sunburned in the dead of winter.”
The next one will be in Mayatulum, Mexico in February, they said, and it will be appropriate for all levels, beginner to advanced. Costing $1,600 for seven days, the website promises, "The food will be healthy & delicious, the mood will be festive, the beach will be hot & the yoga will be transformative."
For more information, email Erin@gardenstateyoga.com, go to www.gardenstateyoga.com or call (973) 680-1400.
Garden State Yoga
71 Washington Street
Bloomfield, NJ 07003
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