It’s cold outside, but inside Hot for Yoga, students are sweating as they go through 90 minutes of poses in a 105-degree room with 40 percent humidity.
About 45 minutes in, Molly Fladlien, 33, of Valencia, executes a perfect standing bow, stretching her right leg behind her while balancing perfectly on the left.
It looks like an expert move, yet Fladlien has only been a student at Hot for Yoga since May 17.
“The first class I thought I would get sick, so I walked out of room for a minute,” she recalled. “But I came back the next day because I wanted to keep doing it.”
Fladlien, a mother of three children, once weighed 300 pounds. She had gastric sleeve surgery to reduce her weight, but her progress had plateaued until she discovered Hot for Yoga and signed up for the 60-day challenge.
Taking one to two classes a day, Fladlien found her body dramatically changed during the process.
“I was expecting to lose some weight and tone up a little,” she said. “But I ended up losing 50 pounds and building more muscle mass than lifting weights. I’ve never had results like I have with Bikram.”
Bikram Yoga is the style practiced at Hot for Yoga. It’s designed to work all the major systems of the body from the inside out, including cardiovascular, respiratory, endocrine, lymphatic, central nervous, digestive, and musculoskeletal. The heat allows the body to cleanse, detoxify, and heal by stimulating the circulatory system.
Hot for Yoga owner Ravinder Pilson is also an instructor, leading her class with equal parts discipline and compassion as she runs through the program with constant verbal coaching.
“It’s about getting you out of your head and connecting you with your body,” Pilson said. “We call it meditation in motion.”
The routine was scientifically designed and is always taught in the same order, according to Pilson.
“One position builds to the next, and at the end of 90 minutes, you’ve worked everything in your body,” she said. “It’s a type of yoga for all levels, but it is challenging.”
Pilson, who has been teaching yoga for 10 years and the Bikram method for 6 years, recommended taking a class three times a week for two to four weeks to acclimate and fully feel the benefits.
She opened Hot for Yoga in 2015, because there weren’t any other studios exclusively dedicated to the practice in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Tim Falco, 31, of Newhall, used to have to drive to Pasadena or Marina Del Rey to practice Bikram Yoga, so he was thrilled to find an option closer to home.
“I’m a drummer, so I’m either sitting on my drum set or at my computer all the time,” Falco said. “It’s definitely anti-2018 to bend backwards to counter all that hunching forward. You’re never going to do that on your own.”
Depending on his schedule, Falco takes one to three classes a week.
“Coming here has given me a range of motion and mindfulness that is insane. I always sleep best on yoga days,” he said.
For Roberta Gelmont, 67, of Agua Dulce, Hot for Yoga was a way to help with major back problems.
“I come because I’m not a flexible person. I’ve had to push myself and work at it,” she said. “It helps with flexibility. I love it.”
Pilson noted that Bikram Yoga has increased in popularity because of its results and holistic approach.
“This is not the typical Western way of taking a pill for something that hurts. It addresses the core issue and gets to the cause of pain,” she said.
That was certainly the case for Vincent Stella, 48, of Valencia. A lifelong athlete, Stella found that he was suffering from stiffness and soreness as he got older.
He did some research and decided to try Hot for Yoga.
“The first class was the most challenging, dealing with the heat,” Stella said. “From the second class on, as I learned the postures, it became easier. I like that it’s guided and they take you through every move.”
Now he’s sweating and stretching about 4 times a week, losing an estimated liter and a half of fluid during each class.
“It’s purging out all the toxins and salts in my system,” Stella said. “And it really helps with functional movement. I can turn my neck all the way around now.”
Results like that make Pilson smile.
“I love seeing a positive difference in people from the first time they walked in the door,” she said.
Hot for Yoga is located at 24366 Walnut Street, Newhall and offers an introductory special of $39 for one month of unlimited classes, a 5-class pass for $75, or single drop in classes for $20. Hot pilates and warm yoga classes also available. For more information, call (661) 244-2511 or visit www.hotforyogascv.com.