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Yoga class stretches the limits of the thermostat | Health

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Yoga class stretches the limits of the thermostat
Yoga class stretches the limits of the thermostat

The ancient practice of yoga started in India as a physical, mental, and spiritual discipline.

Modern yoga in the United States focuses on the physical benefits of poses and stretches.

A modern variation keeps the poses and stretches but really heats up the room.

Yoga student Mieko Olson said, "It makes me stronger. It makes me stand up taller. It's great."

She moved to Knoxville from Seattle about a year ago. That's where she first tried hot yoga.

"Yoga for me reduces stress and hot yoga in particular helps me shake the weight off that I sometimes pick up so it's amazing that way and afterwards you just feel great. Really refreshed and energized," she said.

Cindy Coats is co-owner of Real Hot Yoga.

She's practiced yoga for more than a dozen years.

"Basically yoga is yoga," she said. "And it's been around for many thousands of years and there's lots of different versions of it but what we've found is with a heated room you're more flexible so you get a deeper, safer stretch."

The stretches happening in a room heated to 105 degrees are deep.

The studio features a specialized heating system.

"As the air travels through our ducts it removes over 99% of germs and bacteria, viruses, which I am so excited about with cold and flu season coming up. And then also the odor. Sometimes in a hot yoga studio that's the other problem that you have. And then we can also precisely control the humidity as well," Coats said.

Olson said, "It just kicks up your metabolism and makes you sweat and feels great. It feels great." :

When the owners designed the space they made sure to include showers so students can rinse off after a real hot yoga class.

"I use the one here more than at home now because I'm here all the time," Coats.

Real Hot Yoga opened last month in West Knoxville and Coats says the response has been positive.

"It turns out it's unanimous. Knoxville likes to sweat," she said.

She hopes to spread the word about the physical benefits of yoga.

"There's a lot of emotional and spiritual benefits but we leave that up to you to decide all those other benefits. We're going to focus on getting you a great workout, working your muscles, getting you sweaty, and then you can see what comes for you," she said.

And here's a little advice from Olson. Drink a lot of water before and after class.

"The 90 minute format I think can be intimidating if you haven't done hot yoga for 90 minutes before but you can do it," she said.

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