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Yoga a 'hot' topic





Cycling through yoga positions and doing pushups can be a full workout for many people, and doing it in 95 to 100 degrees is even harder.

Hot yoga is one of the classes offered at Awaken Yoga Fitness & Boutique, 3003 Hall. Its schedule also contains less intense yoga classes in cooler conditions that emphasize proper posture, flexibility, muscle strengthening and stretching.  

The studio encourages members to "revive your inner beauty," and sessions can be a blend of meditation and exercise.  

The downstairs studio is an intimate space that can hold up to 12 people, but most classes contain 10 to 11. The lights can be dimmed, and the music can range from laid-back tunes to more upbeat songs for faster exercises. A steam shower, expanded restrooms for changing and lockers are available.  

Traci Pfannenstiel, the owner, said she taught classes at the Center for Health Improvement, and she believed the community would appreciate a space suited for yoga. A gym often is chilly to accommodate other members, and the studio's decor seeks to foster a peaceful atmosphere.    

The high temperatures can help flush unhealthy chemicals in the body.

"Your skin is your biggest organ. Whenever you're sweating, it's cleansing. It's detoxifying, so you're getting rid of toxins," Pfannenstiel said.

"I've heard everyone is just glad to have a place to practice that has the ambiance of this studio," she said.

Pfannenstiel and three instructors lead 12 to 13 classes a week that last from 60 to 75 minutes. Light weights are involved in some routines to challenge different muscles, and there are cardio workouts.  

Clothes are sold upstairs.  The organic cotton, hemp and bamboo natural fibers dry quickly, resist wrinkles and are anti-bacterial. Toe socks are a popular item.

Carol Montgomery, who has participated in classes, gave Pfannenstiel a testimonial.

The studio emphasizes "tight abdominals" to hold postures, but it also encourages balance in life, Montgomery said.

"It is about experiencing that dynamic centered point of balance in our thoughts and in our body, allowing us to move into our everyday life: relationships, responsibilities or unexpected events with a feeling at our very core there is physical and mental strength of support," Montgomery said.

Drop-ins are $6.50, but there is a $60 punch card for 10 sessions that also gives a 15-percent discount on clothes. Yoga mats, weights and blocks are provided for classes.

More information is available at awakenyogafitness.com.