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Northern Highlands Daily Voice serves Allendale, Ho-Ho-Kus, Midland Park, Saddle River, Upper Saddle River & Waldwick

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Northern Highlands Professionals Bring Body Positivity To Bergen

Jen Kraft, left, and Melanie Struble are bringing the first body positive community in Bergen County to Saddle River this fall.
Jen Kraft, left, and Melanie Struble are bringing the first body positive community in Bergen County to Saddle River this fall. Photo Credit: Cecilia Levine

SADDLE RIVER, N.J. — A yogi and mental health professional are uniting this fall to bring a body positive community to Saddle River.

Midland Park psychotherapist Melanie Struble and Jen Kraft of Defiant Yoga first met through a therapeutic yoga organization.

It wasn't long, however, before the two realized that combining their services would do a world of good for a whole lot of people.

"Our bodies are the best gift we're ever going to get," said Kraft, a therapeutic yoga instructor in Hawthorne.

"They move and they stop. You recharge them and they go again," she said.

"And yet we take all the enjoyment out of our bodies and we learn to hate them."

Not at The Body Image Boutique.

Kraft and Struble envision a space full of energy.

The 3-story house on East Allendale Road will be a place where people otherwise struggling to love their bodies alone can celebrate all the amazing things bodies do for us together.

After all, the human body is just a vehicle for the mind.

Kraft's journey also began in her childhood. She vividly remembers playing with Barbie dolls and thinking that she'd never fit society's mold of perfection — all because she didn't look like her dolls.

"We attach ourselves to ideas and visions and imagery that isn't real," the mother of two said. "We attach ourselves to things in our bodies — temporary things that are going to create anxiety.

"We need to focus on the character traits that make us who we are."

On-site family therapists, yoga classes, reiki practitioners and more will help foster that, the pair explained.

"It's having people celebrate who they are... from the perspective of being well," Struble said.

"It's a place where people feel like they are coming home to get well."

CLICK HERE FOR MORE ON THE BODY IMAGE BOUTIQUE.

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