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Prime Fitness introduces hot yoga facility
Trends and fads affect any consumer business and, given the infinite possibilities of the human body, perhaps no industry is more subject to changing fashions than health and fitness.
Given this, spending $30,000 to cash in on the popularity of hot yoga may seem extreme. But Prime Fitness owner Brent Mounts believes he couldn’t afford not to invest in the rising exercise movement.
“What we do now is offer the membership to the gym and then we have classes, including regular yoga,” Mount said. “A while back I found enrollment was down in classes, and I found that we had members driving as far as Renton and Kirkland to go to hot yoga studios there. If they were willing to drive that far to take those classes, I figured it must be something we would want to offer here.”
To call yoga a fad would be inaccurate, he said. It has been popularized in the states over the last 20 years, after being imported from India. Unlike India, where yogis are typically men, American practicers have largely been women.
Hot yoga builds on the use of classic yoga poses by recreating the hot and moist environment of its origin country. Studios will incorporate heating systems that bring temperatures up to 115 degrees, and 30 to 50 percent humidity.
The environment in conjunction with the contracting and expanding poses draws heat into the body’s organs and then pushes it out, taking toxins with it.
Regular practice of hot yoga can detoxify the body, burn calories, reduce stress, calm the mind, increase flexibility and relieve joint pain, Mounts said. His own use of hot yoga has relieved Mounts’ pain from injuries he collected as a young wrestler, he said.
To prepare for his investment, Mounts researched studios in the surrounding South Sound area and traveled to Folsom, Calif., normally remembered for its prison but considered somewhat of an American Mecca for new age lifestyles and green practices.
The system he chose to incorporate is called hydronic radiant heat, a fancy term for a water-based heating system.
Mounts hired contractors to build the system into one of his existing studios, placing special coating on the wood floor and styrofoam paneling over the windows to keep in the heat without doing more expensive renovations.
The heat is actually kept a little lower than the norm, around 105 degrees.
Even so, only two or three customers out of 10 trying out a class will stay on because it is so hot and hard, Mounts estimated.
But it has been popular enough that after the first three weeks of operation Mounts increased the number of classes from 14 to 17.
Darcie Weston, the leader of the six instructors hired for the hot yoga program, demonstrated a series of poses from the class.
Weston is a demanding presence, particularly of herself. She watched herself in the mirror, announcing that she was in a pose only when her arm, her leg or her back was in exactly the correct position.
“Yoga acts as somewhat of a diagnostic tool,” she said. “An inability to hold a pose can often tell you what parts of the body are weak and not functioning well.”
Pricing is competitive with the popular hot yoga studios in Tacoma and Renton, cheaper for gym members and even cheaper with long-term commitments to the program.
Prime Fitness is currently offering a 10 sessions for $10, valid over the course of 30 days.
Prime Fitness is at 18209 state Route 410 E. For more information about hot yoga, call the gym at 253-826-5500.