Heated yoga can be defined as yoga in a 30-plus Celsius temperature. Though simple to describe, the benefits are plentiful.
Whitehorse’s The Studio, “where yoga and Pilates meet under one roof,” is hoping customers will take in the benefits from heated yoga, which is now being offered at its location in Granger Mall.
It’s the first time the form of yoga is being offered in the Yukon, believes owner Ann Asquith.
“We had lots and lots of people registering and they say, ‘This is wonderful, we’ve never been able to do it in the Yukon before,’” she said.
Heated yoga can also be described as “hot yoga” knocked down a notch. Hot yoga, also called Bikram yoga after Bikram Choudhury, who developed it during the 1970s in India, is practised in temperatures 40 Celsius and above.
In both, the high temperatures help facilitate the stretching of muscles and prevent injury.
“(The stretching of muscles) is one of the most important benefits,” said instructor Bronwen Kettleson. “It will increase mobility, it will alleviate joint pain and arthritic issues and promote an overall sense of relaxation from the added comfort of walking into a heated room.
“Heat therapy has been used through various traditions throughout history, across the world, for healing and spiritual purposes. So this is just adding on to that.
“It’s not that much a break from regular yoga.
“We’re lucky here at this studio because it’s actually able to hold the heat.”
Heated yoga is not the only eastern influence sweeping into The Studio. In mid-October, The Studio will offer workshops on Indian head and foot massages.
“We have Lee-ann Harder, who is a long-time Yukon resident who moved down to Vancouver, and she is certified in teaching the method and is coming up to teach our instructors how to do them,” said Asquith. “I haven’t had the foot massage, but I’ve had the head massage and it was absolutely amazing. It’s supposed to be really soothing, but I felt absolutely invigorated afterwards.”
Dating back thousands of years, Indian head massages have grown in popularity since the 1970s and are believed to provide numerous benefits, among them reduced stress, improved circulation and a general sense of wellbeing.
“I felt the combination of pilates and yoga was really good, so we offer pilates and yoga, and we’re starting (classes in) Indian head massages and foot messages,” said Asquith. “The Indian head massages and Indian foot messages are an ancient tradition from India.
“Relaxation, purification – it’s supposed to be a spiritual experience.”
Not only is The Studio the Yukon’s source for heated yoga, it’s the territory’s only source for the Lululemon form-fitting apparel in its boutique, called The Boutique.
When it opened in 2009, The Studio began with just pilates before subsequently adding yoga and The Boutique. Pilates takes its name from its creator, Joseph Pilates, who developed the exercises to help rehabilitate war veterans in Germany during the 1940s.
“It’s all about developing the core muscles,” said Asquith. “Pilates will protect your back. If you can develop your core muscles, it’s going to protect your back in almost any situation.”
A strong core is beneficial in almost any sport making it ideal for athletes, said Asquith.
“We get so many guys coming in here to do pilates because it’s going to improve their hockey,” said Asquith. “Hockey and golf – we get a lot of men in here doing it.
“Especially the obliques – your waist muscles – it’s really going to help with any sport that requires rotation.”
The Studio is offering five heated yoga sessions a week, spread over mornings and evenings. More information on yoga, pilates or the Indian massages can be found at thestudioyukon.com.
“I enjoy heated yoga because it adds to your flexibility, because your muscles are warmer,” said Whitehorse’s Naali Holmes after a heated yoga class. “I feel like I can accomplish a lot more in terms of flexibility in a shorter time. And there’s the sweating – I’m sweating throughout the class and it feels great.”
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