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DC Yoga Studio Brings the Heat

Hot yoga is a broad term, so don’t be fooled by their name – Hot Yoga Capitol Hill (HYCH) originally opened as a Bikram yoga only studio at a time when the founder of the style mandated that all studios offer only that – 26 postures and two breathing exercises held for 90-minutes in a room heated to 95 degrees or more, no deviations, no exceptions. And while HYCH still offers that style, they have massively diversified their portfolio in recent years introducing an abundance of class times and options, both heated and not, catering to the diversity and hustle and bustle of city life. Recent forays into hot Pilates, their own spin on hot barre, warm vinyasa flow, yoga sculpt, synergy movement, and yoga nidra have enthralled studio members. They plan to add to their repertoire with the upcoming renovation of upstairs space to keep pace with the ever-growing Capitol Hill area and recently upgraded the flooring to the main studio space, with plans to go solar later this year.

Hot Yoga Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. on October 28, 2017. (photo ©Allison Shelley Photography)

Examples of classes include an after work 5:15 p.m. Hot Yoga Express, one of the best ways for a working warrior to punch the clock, making them less stiff after being in an office all day. Hot Barre + HIIT class Instructor and HYCH general manager, Mariam Sufi’s commitment to form and technique leaves everyone feeling longer and stronger. The class is filled with props – bands, balls, blocks, oh my! and Sufi puts them all to use not just to ensure toning from head to toe (although that is a nice by product) – she ultimately wants studio goers to move and feel better. ‘I aim to work the secondary muscle groups in this class…these muscles help support us in our every day lives, but are often neglected until we experience pain or are injured’, emphatically states Sufi, who has been teaching for over 15 years.

All the classes are designed to complement one another which sounds like a sales gimmick, but in fact, it is not. Fundamentally, they aim to improve your breath control, while some target flexibility, strength, stress reduction, and more, ensuring a well-rounded wellness routine for all. “Although the research is still limited…the added element of heat brings movement to our internal fluids and systems which is particularly helpful when we have injury, in combating the effects of disease, and the aging process in general,’ notes Lara Atella, the Director of HYCH.

The studio offers several special programs, such as children’s and family yoga and trauma yoga. And for those interested in becoming an instructor someday, the studio is a registered yoga school with Yoga Alliance and there is also a HIIT, hot Pilates and barre training in October this Fall.  And of course, what would a yoga studio be without its sense of community. ‘It feels so much like a community because Lara and all the instructors are so kind, welcoming, and caring,’ shared long-time member, Jennifer San Pietro.

Hot Yoga Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. on December 15, 2017. (photo ©Allison Shelley Photography)

The studio does outreach to local schools and underserved communities and provides donations for fundraising events. Additionally, they have a work study service program and house a program that makes yoga accessible to those with special needs.

But before you go, here are a few hot yoga things to know:

  • Some immediately take to the heat while some take time to adjust and it is not uncommon for practitioners to lie down in savasana to rest when needed.
  • You’ll need a mat, towel, and water for any of the classes. You can bring your own or rent a mat and towel and you can also follow them on social media for a free mat rental
  • Check the studio’s websites for class descriptions. Descriptions can be helpful for whatever your goal for a class might be
  • The studio offers a new student unlimited month membership for $39. Plan to arrive early for class so you can get registered, put your stuff away, set up your mat, and adjust to the heat. Doors are locked at the start of class.

Find out more at the studio’s websites at: https://hotyogacapitolhill.com/

Scarlett Salem, M.S., MPH has written in local publications covering area events and happenings. She enjoys public health, fitness, learning, and all things wellness.


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