For the next 90 minutes, our instructor Rebecca leads us seamlessly through the traditional 26 pose Hot Yoga series; and for that 90 minutes, I notice nothing of the world of people and dogs and cars passing just outside. Like the heat of the room – 103 degrees today, Rebecca says – the yoga practice envelopes me wholly.
When we finish, the dozen or so yoginis and I, skin beaded with sweat, we emerge heady and renewed. And I now understand what owner Keri Gaddis was talking about, when she told me that it only takes one class to get hooked on Hot Yoga.
“We want to get people in at least to try it, because it’s a different kind of practice on account of the heat,” Gaddis says later. She has just finished teaching a Fusion class at Telluride’s sister Shantihi Yoga Studio in Ridgway, her skin still flushed from the practice as she moves fluidly around the cozy space, tidying errant yoga mats.
She tells me that opening the Telluride studio was originally her and husband Dan’s “three year plan.” But the almost immediate success of the Ridgway space, which opened last fall, convinced Gaddis to go ahead and open a Telluride space this March.
“Even with off-season, we still had more and more people coming in each week, which we like to see because it means we’re hooking a few more people each week,” Gaddis says.
As she explains, the added element of heat in the yoga studio helps warm the muscles in advance, allowing yoginis to descend deeper into each asana earlier on than in a traditional yoga class. Heat also adds a detoxifying element, and helps speed up the body’s metabolism.
Hot Yoga is the Shantihi Studio’s cornerstone class, with more beginner-oriented 60-minute classes as well as the more advanced 90-minute class held in a room heated to 100-103 degrees, but there are also a number of other practices available on the schedule. Flow is a Vinyasa-style practice held at a lightly heated 92 degrees; Fusion is a blend of Hot and Flow in a slightly warmer room at around 98 degrees; while Sculpt utilizes weights for added muscle toning in a room warmed to around 92 degrees.
The heated yoga studio isn’t Shantihi Yoga Studio’s only distinction, however. Classes at both Telluride and Ridgway locations are completely donation-based.
“In this economy, we know that not a lot of people have money for things like yoga right now,” explains Gaddis. “But we still wanted to make it available to them.”
Suggested donations for a class are $12-22, but Gaddis stresses that if someone can’t pay that, they can pay whatever they’re able.
“We want to make yoga available to everyone, no matter what they can pay,” she says of the donation-based payment system. Gaddis also offers free yoga classes periodically, in the spirit of making yoga available to more people in the community. The studio also offers monthly Beginner’s Workshops.
Gaddis and husband Dan moved to Ridgway last fall from Castlerock, Colo., where Gaddis was an instructor for the Denver-based yoga studio giant Core Power. When the couple returned to the area (Dan Gaddis is a Telluride High School graduate) they saw a potential demand for Hot Yoga.
“We thought it was a good niche to get into in this region,” Gaddis says.
Shantihi Yoga Studio also offers private and semi-private classes, as well as personal training services. For more information and a listing of classes for each location, visit www.telluridehotyoga.org and www.ridgwayhotyoga.org.
The Telluride studio is located at 220 E. Colorado Ave., #107, (down the breezeway from Ace Hardware).