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Hot Yoga Burlington Is Heating Up the Local Community

By Pamela Sosnowski

"Hot yoga for everybody" is Hot Yoga Burlington's motto and as owner Bill O'Connor confirms, the popular practice known as vinyasa yoga isn't just for young experienced yogis.

"We attract a wide range of folks of different sizes, abilities, and ages," he said. "It is not unusual to find three generations of yogis in the same class of all persuasions. This makes for a community of acceptance no matter what you look like or wear or political preference."

O'Connor's studio was the first in Burlington to offer what is known as hot movement (vinyasa) yoga. It isn't just Vermont's long, cold winters that have given rise to its popularity, but the numerous health benefits the temperature delivers including easing pain, increasing flexibility, and eliminating toxins from the body.

But what makes Hot Yoga Burlington stand out from other studios is its use of Far Infrared (FIR) heat, which produces warming rays that mimic sunshine without damaging or drying the skin. It also creates an atmosphere that is not as stifling as those found in other hot yoga studios, heating the studio without forced air. Even better, FIR has been shown to reduce stress, improve the immune system, and provide many more benefits, making each one-hour class feel a little like a spa visit combined with yoga.

Hot yoga isn't the only offering at the studio; O'Connor realizes that having a variety of classes prevent boredom and conditions every part of the body. "We offer not just vinyasa but rather modern movement yoga borrowing from traditional yoga, dance, Pilates, martial arts and whatever else inspires us," he says. "It is all science based with a creative element to keep it fun and lively. The classes change almost daily to keep the body fresh and awake."

The studio is also running a special summer yoga and paddle boarding class at Burlington Sail Center where students perform poses on paddle boards at Lake Champlain. The two-hour sessions run every Sunday morning until the end of August, and enhance balance and strength.

Hot Yoga Burlington is located in the Old North End neighborhood of the city with plenty of available free parking and bike racks. The introductory rate is 2 classes for $15 and then multi class passes are offered bringing the class rate to $9-11 per class. Private training is an option in addition to the group classes, and the studio also regularly holds special events and workshops for the Burlington community. Earlier this year they hosted a two-hour posture workshop that incorporated yoga poses to improve the body's posture and alignment.

Events and theme parties have become popular at the studio; a class can include refreshments and a social gathering afterwards. The staff can assist with planning whether one is organizing a teambuilding afternoon or a bachelorette party.

"Some of our best events have been weddings, bridesmaids, and birthday parties for some of our yogis," O'Connor said. "When they share their love of yoga with their non-yoga friends there is a special bonding that occurs that is heartwarming. We also host gatherings for school kids."

For aspiring yoga teachers, Hot Yoga Burlington also offers training opportunities including assisting with teaching and planning classes. As O'Connor attests, the studio truly is a welcoming environment bringing together people at all levels of their yoga journey.

"The word yoga means to yoke or union," he said. "Our groups, both private parties and our classes create a yoking and union of individuals into community."

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