Lately, I’ve been hearing a lot about a studio called Garden State Yoga, so I decided to hop on over to Bloomfield one Friday night for the popular Bob Marley vinyasa class with studio co-owner Seth Weisberg. Not having been there before, I arrived a little early and sat for a few moments in my car. I saw absolutely no one entering the door that I thought led to the studio so I figured it would be a low-key, sparsely attended class.
Was I ever mistaken! By the time I figured out that I was sitting in front of the wrong doorway and made my way to the correct one, and up a flight of stairs to the actual yoga center, the place was absolutely buzzing! I checked in, stashed my stuff, and headed to the spacious hot yoga room, where about 49 mats were already down on the floor. I slid in just at the last moment, next to a lovely yogini named Kasia Krzoska, a Rutgers student from Upper Saddle River. I asked her what she particularly likes about the studio and she said, “The community and vibe cultivates a really inspirational and unique atmosphere. It’s so simple, and done so well that people that tend to come here tend to stay!” (Kasia, I learned, is Director of Marketing for Kula for Karma and knows my friend Penni Feiner, Kula’s executive director. It’s a small, small, vast yoga world!)
Now, you may recall that I’m not a real fan of hot rooms, but I do like reggae, and Bob Marley, and when Seth introduced the second Bob Marley flow of the season, I felt a certain sense of anticipation. Did I think (as a woman of a “certain age”) I could keep up with a Rutgers student? Not really…but who cared? “We have a good time here, “ Seth said, “Let go of stress, and ego.” That sounded right to me.
Before I knew it the lights went down low, the candles were illuminated (not real candles for safety reasons), and the music let loose. Seth led the group through a challenging vinyasa sequence (I totally lost track of the chaturangas), but the vibe was playful and loose. At times yogis sang along, and once in a while a collective “Whooo-hooo!” was let out. This yoga was just plain fun!
In fact, with the hot breezes wafting over me I kind of felt like I was in Jamaica, or, as Seth said, “chillin in a warm room.” Why Bob Marley? Explains Seth, “Bob Marley just appeared to be the perfect choice as it goes with the theme of simply enjoying a Friday night experience. It balanced out the art in music with the good vibes it produces, mingling it with a yogic flow. The decision was kind of yoga itself: A union of yoga and music into the good times of a Friday night.” In fact, he says, it wasn’t really a choice: the Marley music just presented itself and he and studio co-owner/director Alison McCue went with it.
I really like the idea of a “chillin’ Friday night class,” but I checked the schedule for other options at this popular studio. There’s hot power vinyasa offered seven days a week; there’s also an anusara class, an Iyengar class and restorative vinyasa, as well as special events and workshops--something for everyone. “Soul Salutations,” the first Sunday of every month with Seth and guitarist/singer/composer Scott E. Moore, is another unique highlight.
Leaving Garden State Yoga with “Let’s get together and feel all right!” thumping through my head, I actually felt way more than just all right!
As my 20-year-old son observed when I arrived home and told him what his ol’ mom had been up to on Friday night, “Well, who doesn’t like Bob Marley?”