Followers of London's 'hottest' yoga trend sweat away the stress and weight in an inflatable heated pod
“It looks like we’re entering a bouncy castle!” one woman says as she enters an inflatable pod-like structure.
This is Hotpod Yoga, a new fitness concept that aims to offer, among other benefits, to burn up to 700 calories per session. The cleansing practice involves an hour of yoga in an inflatable, heated studio, or pod, that’s 2.6m high with an 8 x 9m floor plan.
Participants rid their bodies of toxins by sweating them out through their skin. New forms of yoga are emerging all the time as the popularity of the Indian discipline increases however Hotpod Yoga aims to be more innovative.
Max Henderson and Nick Higgins, the directors of Hotpod Yoga kick-started their business in January 2013 with their pop-up taster sessions held in various London venues, Brixton, Fulham and Notting Hill, inside a blow-up portable pod. “It’s a lovely and peaceful place to do yoga,” Henderson says of the pod, adding that the aim was to provide a womb-like ambience.“The lighting creates a warm glow and there’s something about going into an inflatable structure that’s quite fun and kid-like,” adds Higgins, a fully qualified yoga teacher who currently leads the pop-up sessions.
Throughout the session, Higgins monitors the class, reminding everyone to remain aware of their breathing, how they feel and to take sips of water when necessary. The heat intensifies with each new posture, however everyone seems to embrace the fact that they’re sweating more than they do in the gym.
Beyond weight reduction and detoxification, there are other benefits to practicing hot yoga. A workout in temperatures rising up to 38C lifts the heart rate, meaning the body has to work harder, which makes for an intense workout.
“It’s great for your joints and the heat especially helps to warm up the muscles so you may move from one posture to another safely,” says Higgins. “It’s great for you physically and you get to work on a lot of the core elements including flexibility, weight reduction, building muscles, strengthening and toning,” claims Henderson, who’s been practicing hot yoga nearly every day for the past two years.
Like regular yoga, there are several versions of the practice including Moksha and Hot Power yoga. Bikram, the most famous form, was founded in America and is practiced in certified studios around the world. It is considered the first and most known incarnation of the form.
So how does Hotpod Yoga differ? “We wanted to stay true to traditional yoga,” Henderson explains. “We felt there was room for expression for everyone.”
Higgins adds that Hotpod Yoga offers room for expression and interpretation. “We allow the teacher and each individual person to put forth their own personality and interpretations of the sequences. It’s an enjoyable experience.”
“Companies may be looking for innovative and exciting ways to look after their employees,” Henderson explains. “The important point is the gradual realisation that it’s in a company’s benefit to look after their employees and that the happier and fitter their people are, the happier and fitter the company is going to be.”
What health benefits does yoga offer?