Review: Hot or Not Yoga & Massage Studio

Down for some downward dog? Check out a local yoga place in Hidenwood

~Anna Dorl, Lifestyle Editor~

Hot or Not Yoga & Massage Studio in Hidenwood Shopping Center is a great place in which students can de-stress and find their inner and outer strength.

After hearing a lot about the place from CNU friends, I decided to give it a shot and try one of their classes out for myself.

I  had only done hot yoga once before a couple years ago and I was excited to give it another shot.

I dropped in on a class on a Saturday afternoon and purchased a $20 pass that gave me access to unlimited yoga classes for a full week, which I definitely recommend for anyone wanting to try hot yoga but not able to make a huge financial commitment. 

Hot or Not encourages yogis to bring their own mats if they have them, but they do offer cheap mat and towel rentals for those who need them.

After I was loaned a mat for a dollar, I followed a woman down a hall where she showed me around the place.

As we walked down the main hallway, I noticed it was lined with different colorful canvases representing the different chakras, creating a very zen and spiritual vibe. 

In the back of the building were a few massage rooms, cubbies where people could put their jackets, phones and other personal items and the main hot yoga room.

When I walked in to join the hot yoga class, I felt like I entered a different dimension.

I opened the door and was hit by a wave of dry heat, which felt really nice at first since I had just came in from the cold rain outside, but it soon made everyone break into a sweat.

The room was triangular and extremely dark, dimly lit by a couple of warm orange-yellow floodlights. 

Floor-to-ceiling mirrors lined the walls, making the black and white checkerboard floor look like it stretched out forever.

I was Alice, and Hot or Not was a yoga Wonderland.

“You’re supposed to be on a white square,” an older man whispered as he shuffled up next to the black square where I had rolled out my mat.

Talking loudly, or in general for that matter, is discouraged while practicing yoga at Hot or Not because it distracts your mind easily and takes away from the overall experience.

I thanked him for letting me know and moved my mat over.

The seasoned yogis who attend class regularly always know what they’re doing and are happy to help out those who are complete beginners or just out of practice like me.

The class itself was somewhat of a spiritual experience.

The dim lighting really helped me focus on what I was doing as I squinted to see myself in the mirror.

Unlike most other yoga places I’ve been to before, there was no music playing, which allowed everyone in the class to focus on the voice of the teacher and nothing else.

Sweat glistened off of everyone’s bodies as we moved through different positions.

In the darkness, I could make out my muscles moving under my skin and saw how hard my body was working.

I appreciated my body for what it was doing and felt grateful for its strength.

This feeling helped attendees grow physically as well as mentally.

The class moved through lots of different yoga poses, such as the classic downward and upward dog, the empowering warrior two sequence and the leg-lengthening pigeon pose, all of which were restorative as well as strength-building.

We focused a lot on balance and breath work, which helped us center ourselves as we moved through the different positions.

The class I took was advertised as good for beginners, but some of the poses we adopted were still a little difficult. 

When you take a yoga class, your teacher will usually let you know that it’s okay to do the most basic version of the position, or if you need a real break, to just stay in the relaxing child’s pose (where you basically lay on the ground with your head on the floor).

The dry warmth created by the heaters in the room definitely made the poses challenging because I was sliding all over my mat in my own sweat, but the heat definitely warmed my muscles up and improved my flexibility. 

After the actual yoga was over, we lay flat on our backs with our palms open to the sky (I assume to receive good vibes and open ourselves up to the energy of the universe) while our teacher, Thomas, came around and placed cool wet washcloths on our sweaty foreheads that smelled like lavender. 

We deserved that relaxation after working so hard in such sweltering conditions.

Thomas ended the class by chanting a mantra: “ohm shanti shanti shanti.” 

He said ohm is the sound of the universe and shanti means peace, something I and everyone else definitely felt a lot of in that room.

True to its name, Hot or Not offers hot yoga as well as non-hot vinyasa yoga and a form of yoga using a chair as a support, although hot yoga is definitely their specialty and what most yogis go there to do.

The concept isn’t just some passing trend that doesn’t have any real significance in terms of health benefits. Practicing yoga in a heated environment helps warm up the muscles, improves blood flow and helps you burn calories faster.

Hot or Not Yoga & Massage Studio offers discounts for students and members of the military on monthly passes.

They have something for everyone, whether you’re a seasoned yogi or a complete newbie. Its close proximity to school offers a relaxing environment for yoga practice just a minutes’ walk  from CNU. No matter who you are, you’ll leave feeling restored, renewed and refreshed.

Hot or Not Yoga and Massage Studio offers many different classes from Monday-Saturday in the morning, afternoon and evening They are closed on Sundays. Book a class and get more information at hotyogamassage.com. 

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