Hotpod Yoga comes to Sunderland: Inside the 37 degree yoga class winning over sceptics and athletes
Sunderland own Hotpod Yoga studio is ready to give its first classes a warm welcome when it opens this weekend.
The sessions, held in an inflatable space heated to 37 degrees, will welcome up to 20 people at time as students follow a pattern of poses.
The pod has been set up in a dedicated studio in a room formerly used as a gym at Silksworth Sports Complex, on Silksworth Lane, with 20 sessions to run initially and plans to hold 40 as its following builds.
The regime has won a following from professional sportspeople, including former Sunderland player George Honeyman, with its first run of classes sold out at its Sunderland franchise.
It has been set up by Wearside woman Elaine Smith, who has pulled together a team of six other yoga teachers to run the venture and has previously taught it at its Newcastle outlet.
“The launch classes are this weekend and we’ve got 120 people coming down,” said Elaine, who worked in marketing before turning her passion for yoga into a business.
“We’ve already been given a lot of good feedback and people have contacted me through email and social media and are looking forward to it, they’re really excited it’s coming to Sunderland.”
The ‘pod’ is heated to 37 degrees which helps people warm up quicker and makes its easier to do deeper stretched in the poses.
Elaine said: “The darkened cocoon-like atmosphere of the pod means that you don’t have to spend ages trying to quiet the busy mind, that happens naturally when you hear the zip of the door closing.
“It supercharges your yoga experience and it’s yoga for real people, we help you get more flexible more resilient and more energetic.”
The studio has already been put to the test by Elaine’s friends, and a private class has been held for an NHS team.
The pod spans seven metres by nine metres and is darkened with low LED lighting, helping people to relax and 9.30pm.
Among those to have taken part in a class is Hayley Dorian, who teaches kundalini yoga and lives in Sunderland.
The regular sea swimmer said: “When Elaine asked me to come down, she had to coax me, because I don’t like the heat, I’d rather be too cold, but she said to give it a try and I loved it.
“It’s the first time I’ve tried Hot Pod Yoga and it’s a bit different and I’ve seen Elaine’s passion for it.”
Members of Everyone Active, which runs the centre, can get a 15% discount on classes.