By Max Lapthorne
Entirely East Lansing staff writer
The last thing that most would expect to be nestled up next to Subway and Goodrich’s in Trowbridge Plaza would be a hot yoga studio, but that’s exactly where East Lansing Hot Yoga is located.
Also known as Bikram yoga, hot yoga has been becoming more popular in the East Lansing area despite the fact that East Lansing Hot Yoga is the only hot yoga studio in the area. Much of East Lansing Hot Yoga’s success has come due to the fact that it is the only studio of its kind in the city.
Hot Yoga owner Patty Sutherland said, “There was no hot yoga studio within 60 miles of East Lansing before we opened.”
“We had a solid year in 2012, but January (2013) has been over-the-top packed,” Sutherland said.
East Lansing Hot Yoga offers both 60- and 90-minute classes, seven days a week, all of which Sutherland said are about 80-90 percent full these days. Hot yoga uses many of the poses and exercises practiced in regular yoga in the heated studio — ideal temperature is around 105 degrees fahrenheit — to get the most complete workout and cleansing.
Sutherland’s son, Iskander Sutherland, explained that yoga classes are not all the same.
“It depends a lot on the teacher. Sometimes there is a lot of cardio,” said Iskander, 20.
Being so close to Michigan State University, about 60 percent of East Lansing Hot Yoga’s patrons are students — however Sutherland explained that students aren’t the only group she targets.
“I encourage older people to take classes … It really helps them see better and loosens up joints,” said Sutherland.
As of right now, only about 10 percent of the customers are above age 40, but Sutherland hopes to see that rise.
Hot yoga is advertised for all skill levels, including those with minimal experience like Okemos resident Sonya, a customer of East Lansing Hot Yoga for about six months.
“I had never done any kind of yoga before coming here,” Sonya said.
On the flip side, Haslett resident Andrea, who has been going to East Lansing Hot Yoga for about eight months, is no beginner.
“I had done regular yoga before my friend brought me here to try hot yoga,” Andrea said.
Sonya and Andrea agreed that they enjoy the experience, which is why they have kept coming back.
Not usually thought of as a normal form of exercise, hot yoga has recently made a splash in the East Lansing community, and Sutherland hopes that people will continue to talk about her studio.
“Yoga studios do well with word of mouth,” Sutherland said.