We wanted to get a different perspective when writing about our events, so when one of our writers, Megan Levy, suggested she write an article about GJC Wellness Day from a Hoboken resident experience, we said yes! If you joined us, we hope you had an amazing time. If you couldn't we hope you join us next time.
- Jenna Firshein, Editor-in-Chief.
To join us this year, buy your ticket here
As a Hobokenite, I’ve come to know (and love!) a lot about the neighboring Jersey City community. Many things attract me to Jersey City — the ease of getting there by the Light Rail or Uber, visiting friends who reside in JC, delicious food, and a less chaotic bar scene. Up until this past weekend, I hadn’t been drawn towards JC specifically for the health and wellness community. With the exception of heading there for the occasional yoga class on ClassPass, I hadn’t explored too far out of Hoboken for my fitness needs.
Cue: GJC Wellness Day 2018.
GJC’s Second Annual Wellness Day was a full day of fitness and wellness with local Jersey City businesses + a Health and Wellness Market consisting of over 30 vendors. With over 120 attendees this year, it’s safe to say this event piqued the interest of residents.
I asked Jenna Firshein, the Editor-in-Chief, of GrowinginJerseycity.com a bit more about what inspired her to start the event.
Firshein: Last year I realized I was writing a lot about health and wellness - natural beauty options, fitness classes, yoga, etc. And I thought what if we brought everyone together for a whole day of fitness where you could try different classes and learn a little. At the same time, I had actually hurt myself and was on the journey of recovery. I found my chiropractor and my personal trainer from the wellness event and have been working with them ever since.
At the first GJC Wellness event, everyone took the same classes, the food was included, and the goodies bags were premade. This year, I wanted to pack in as many classes as possible, while also allowing participants to interact with as many businesses as possible. So, we had a huge market with 30 vendors and 15 classes taught by 12 instructors. Classes in Jersey City run about $20 each so our event costing $35 for a whole day was a great price. And, all of the vendors loved creating their own experiences - from free manicures and braids, to health evaluations, henna, food samples, and everything in between.
After learning about GJC Wellness Day I knew I had to check it out. I’ve done two-a-days before, with the occasional spin class followed by yoga.
Or yoga...followed by yoga nidra.
But a full day of workout classes was a first for me. And I was up for the challenge.
The Wellness Market:
When I entered Nimbus Dance Works, I was able to check-in and head straight to the vendor section. The crowd of attendees was large but not overwhelmingly so. It set the scene for an intimate interaction with each business. Each of the various tables featured friendly, excited, and passionate business owners. There were a variety of different types of vendors, ranging from acupuncture to juices, and frames to fitness studios. It wouldn’t be fair to single one out over the other, but each brought their own unique spin on what revealed to me that Jersey City really does have a thriving health-minded community.
My goal was to get there as early as possible and take advantage of as many classes as I could. The schedule began early and there were two large studios with action happening simultaneously. There were 15 classes total covering yoga, pilates, full body fitness, Zumba, Bollywood, M.E.L.T., meditation, and more.
I took Barre with Jenna Barclay and then Melt Method with Liberty Pilates. Following Melt, I took Yoga and then Meditation with Jessica Namit.
I absolutely loved each for different reasons. Barre kicked my butt, but in a good way. Barclay was positive, encouraging, and non-judgmental. The moves weren’t as hard as some other barre classes I’ve taken, but I certainly worked up a good sweat (and a serious shake). Melt class was a super interesting experience. I’d never heard of the ball method before and loved getting to use the diagram and see which pressure points on my feet impacted different parts of my body. I was a skeptic turned believer. Yoga and Meditation were my favorite parts of the class schedule. The yoga class was relaxed and focused with a light and empowering flow. I hadn’t ever done group meditation before and Jessica made this extremely undaunting by breaking up the session.
When my day of classes was done, I sat with Ms. Firshein and asked for her take on what made JC's wellness community unique.
Firshein: We have so many types of practitioners and fitness experts that we don’t have to go into the city to find them. A lot of times you have to go all over and instead they are all here.
Also, everyone is so supportive - there is a phrase “community over competition” and everyone who participated in GJC Wellness Day definitely embodied that.
When discussing plans for next year's event, Jenna had this to say:
I absolutely loved the space at Nimbus Dance Works and look forward to working with them next year (if they will take us). It is important to continually expose people to different (not just new) businesses, so I want to make sure we continue to provide a fresh perspective and bring people together that have similar goals. Also, last year we had workshops and a panel and I think to break up the day we might add one or two back in, especially after the first round of classes which kicked everyone’s ass (A Green Unicorn’s full body workout and Leah Boston’s Yoga and meditation session).
The net-net? I’ll be back next year.
Did you experience this year’s GJC Wellness Day?
Let us know in the comments, we’d love to hear from you!
Sponsors: Jersey City Economic Development Corporation, Jersey City Department of Health and Human Services, Health-Ade Kombucha
Instructors: A Green Unicorn, Shehnaaz Dance Academy, Jane Do, Body by Brooke, Golden Sneaker Fitness, Laura HipFit, JC Barre Studio, Leah Boston, Jessica Namit, Sattva Yoga, Jenna Barclay, Liberty Pilates
Vendors: JC Barre Studio, A Green Unicorn, Golden Sneaker, Liberty Pilates, Little Batch Candle Co, 8 and One, Laylani Crafts, Graze and Braise, Busy Bee Organics, Hi Fi Bars, Erin Kumpf Acupuncture and Herbs, Acuworx Acupuncture Studio, Downtown Medspa, Iron Republik, Joi-Louise The Label, Modern Sage, Health-Ade Kombucha, Pure Balance Center, Juice Basin, 37 Ferns, Pina Designs, British Swim School, OM LIFE, Jersey City Health Dept, Jersey City Economic Development Corporation, Exclusive Physical Therapy Services, Kaderique, Choiselle, Biofit JC, Doll House Express
Photos provided by Jacklyn Lune Photography