Hotpod yoga is hot yoga with a difference. Each class takes places inside an immersive inflatable pod and the focused atmosphere, tranquil music, and calming aromas all contribute to a steady, concentrated yoga flow. I was invited to try out a class, here's how I got on!
What is Hotpod Yoga?
Already established in over 50 locations around the world, Hotpod Yoga encourages customers to adopt a ‘yoga designed for real life’, leaning away from today’s stereotype of bendy Instagram goddesses and green juice guzzlers. Instead, customers are encouraged to adopt a yoga centred around their life; to stretch out the office hunch, release the cyclist’s hamstring, revive the partied-out festival-goer and realign the childbearing arm - to supercharge real life, whatever that may mean. Classes are held in their signature inflatable studios, otherwise known as pods. Heated to 37 degrees, the pods provide the perfect environment to zip away from the outside world and release the tensions and stiffness accumulated in the living of life.
Nick Higgins and Max Henderson, a former Schoolteacher and Management Consultant, founded Hotpod Yoga in 2013 with the mission to bring yoga to the 99% of the world who don’t currently practice. Having launched with pop-up classes run out of temporary locations, Hotpod Yoga is now Europe’s largest yoga company with permanent locations worldwide including South Africa, Germany, Portugal and the UK. Since their launch, they have opened over 40 locations across 8 different countries, delivering over 50,000 classes to 60,000 customers and sparking interest in titles such as Timeout, Elle, Vogue, Women’s Health and The Independent.
Hotpod Yoga now has 4 booming London locations in Hackney, Brixton, South Wimbeldon and Notting Hill, it’s apparent that there is demand for more hot yoga in more locations across the city so they will be opening two more London locations in January 2019. I attended a class at their Notting Hill location which was taken by an instructor called Drew.
Although I have done yoga before, I have never tried hot yoga and I was a little apprehensive about how I would get on in the heat. As soon as I arrived, I was greeted by Drew and we chatted about the benefits of hot yoga. I found my place in the pod – spaces for mats are marked on the floor which avoids other participants getting in your space which I liked – and started to acclimatise to the heat. I could feel myself lightly sweating as soon as I sat down but it wasn't a claustrophobic heat. In fact, it was reminiscent of being on holiday and as the other attendants of the class started coming in I allowed myself to drift off into a daydream of being on a beach somewhere exotic.
I really enjoyed the feeling of being inside the pod. The calming lighting and music really is very immersive and allows you to completely transport yourself away from the stresses of daily life. I have done yoga before in other settings such as church halls or community centres but you can't really unwind properly as you're so aware of your surroundings. Inside the pod there is no outside noise and there aren't too many other people so you can really relax and find yourself.
Hotpod yoga classes are designed to be suitable for beginners and I certainly found this to be true. The class had a fantastic flow and while being somewhat challenging, it wasn't too straining and I was able to relax into the positions rather than feeling like I had to achieve ridiculous poses just to show off. I'll be completely honest and say that some yoga classes I have done have been pretty dull and I found myself clock-watching a bit. However, this was definitely not the case at Hotpod and I enjoyed every moment of it. The Vinyasa Flow style of yoga flowed perfectly and it wasn't repetitive.
Hotpod yoga differs from Bikram in a number of ways. Bikram yoga follows a number of set poses which are the same at every class, plus the heat is far more intense. This can get pretty repetitive and mean you know what's coming. However, at Hotpod yoga there is more freedom and variation.
I truly enjoyed my experience at Hotpod yoga and I would definitely do it again. From the moment you walk in the pod, you feel relaxed and at ease and there is nothing but good vibes floating around. The small details such as the aromas and music all add to the immersive experience and relaxing atmosphere while the class itself is varied, interesting, beginner-friendly, and very enjoyable.
The facilities are excellent with modern showers, individual changing rooms, and plenty of space to relax and unwind after the class before heading back to work or heading home.
I really love the idea of the pod and I can easily see why this concept has taken off so well. Bikram yoga has enjoyed a lot of popularity as well as notoriety, but I think Hotpod has the potential to take over as the yoga style that everyone is talking about.