Feelings of wellness seem to catch like wildfire at Dragonfly Wellness Studio, a recently relocated and revamped health haven on Route 9 in Dennis Township, Cape May County, just a stone's throw from the border with Middle Township.

From the moment a person wraps a hand around the door handle of the studio, the transformation seems to set in. From yoga, meditation and massages sessions, to health-centric cooking classes, nutrition counseling and seasonal detox workshops, the wellness studio is a "one-stop shop" for people looking to become their best, said owner Amanda DeBurgos-Milstead, a certified instructor of Kripalu yoga.

Kripalu yoga incorporates an interplay of body, mind and energy into a unified practice, DeBurgos-Milstead said.

Since moving to its new location in fall 2012, the studio has added on several new offerings, including a membership-based organic food cooperative - run by DeBurgos-Milstead's husband, Doug Milstead - and its own on-site, health food market.

DeBurgos-Milstead said she opened her studio six years ago with a hope of helping her community to help itself. She is assisted by two fellow wellness warriors: Mara Lamanna, a certified health and nutrition lifestyle counselor, and Heather Jones, a chef and food writer who focuses on integrating local, whole and seasonal ingredients in her cooking and cooking classes.

The trio join under the Dragonfly Wellness roof to educate and encourage their community towards their unified mission.

"To offer the best of the best," said Lamanna, who among other things, is in charge of stocking the studio's shelves with the select health-food products "We wanted to make it easy for people to take a step toward wellness. This is a community that really needs support, and there isn't much like this around."

DeBurgos-Milstead said Dragonfly's clients also play an important role in their mission by encouraging each other, sharing tips and inspiration.

"It's become a sort of community space," she said. "It's magically, really. It's like the space draws in people who are warm, friendly, inviting, encouraging. ... Everyone seems to know everyone, and if they don't, they make it a point to get to know them."

Lamanna said the people who walk into Dragonfly Wellness all want the same thing.

"We're just a goofy bunch of people who are here to transform our lives," she said.

Contact Elisa Lala:


Upcoming events

Jan. 13 - Meet and Greet and Open House

Tour the facility and learn about its offerings. Hosted by Mara Lamanna, a certified health and nutrition lifestyle counselor who works at the studio.

Jan. 15 to April 15 - New Year, New You Challenge

Challenge yourself with an individualized, well-rounded set of goals, (including more yoga,) and keep track your progress with fellow challengers. Participants will get a change to win cash and prizes and more importantly, to be a better "you." Registration Fee is $25.

Jan. 20 - Holiday Detox Day

Moving into 2013 with purpose. Daylong event includes movement, meditation, lectures, healthy lunch and more.

Jan. 27 - Balance 101

Start of a four-week series of group wellness.

For more events, descriptions and prices, see dragonflywellnessnj.com. For details on the food co-op, see thelotusexchangeco-op.com.

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