Hollie Newborough Fox visited Hotpod Yoga Stoke for our latest tried and tested feature.
You may not have heard of Hotpod Yoga Stoke yet. But the fitness class is a big hit within Europe’s yoga community thanks to its modern take on an ancient tradition. And now we can all give it a go by visiting the newly opened studios at the Garfield Works in Longton, which opened its doors on September 14.
Hollie Newborough-Fox went along for Living to give this new yoga class a whirl…
I think it was somewhere between the fourth episode of Tiger King and my third cup of coffee that I realised that I needed to make more effort to move during lockdown…
Like many others, I trawled through the internet in search of a yoga mat in a desperate attempt to stop myself actually turning into a Custard Cream. I find yoga enjoyable; it’s challenging enough to see the benefit and easy enough not to injure myself in the living room.
However, even with all the best intentions, my love affair with yoga lasted all of about a month. I know this because the ’30 Days of Yoga Challenge’ I found on YouTube is tragically stuck on minute 2 of Day 26…
It was all too easy to make excuses, and before I knew it, I was putting the kettle on and watching Netflix again. I needed to try something different.
And lo and behold an invite to the the newly opened Hotpod Yoga Stoke studios arrived.
What is Hotpod Yoga?
Hotpod Yoga is a unique and immersive yoga experience, using heated inflatable ‘pods’ (or giant inflatable tent) to create an environment separate from the world and encouraging a more focused, relaxed approach to fitness. So, I went along to its new location in Longton, Stoke-on-Trent to see what all the fuss was about.
On arrival, I was met by Louise, who welcomed me to the studio and pointed out where the lockers, toilets, and hand-sanitising stations were.
As you step into the inflatable tent, you are greeted with an otherworldly embrace; a wave of heat envelops you, the room glows with soft purple lights, and the smell of orange and lavender soothes your senses.
It’s at this point that I’m reminded why I have always been drawn to yoga as a fitness option – the allure of soft panpipes and heady incense fools me into believing I’m about to have a full-body massage. My muscles definitely got a workout, but I had to put in a little effort myself too.
I used my own mat (I was sure to shake the dust off before I turned up) but mats are provided for you if you’re new to practicing yoga. It’s important that you bring your own towel and bottle of water – you’ll need them both!
Instructor Louise zipped up the entrance to the pod and entered through a separate door at the head of the tent, minimising contact with the group. It was all very covid-compliant and I was put at ease straight away.
What followed was a combination of breathing, stretching and balancing exercises. I leaned into muscles I had forgotten existed! The class I attended was Hotpod Flow, which uses a variety of traditional yoga movements to ‘flow’ through postures to strengthen your body and ease your mind.
Hotpod Stoke also offers ‘Nurturing Flow’, a calmer, restorative class with greater focus on passive, meditative poses. It’s a great place to start if you’re a beginner, if you’re suffering from injuries, or you’d just like to get a good night’s sleep!
Understandably, it was really important that the experience was safe to take part in, and I was immediately reassured by the reminders throughout the building to sanitise your hands and keep your distance.
Hotpod has been working with UK Active to put together a risk assessment for its fitness classes, you can read more about it here: hotpodyoga.com/health/.
The classes are currently running at a limited capacity to ensure adequate social distancing, and spaces are marked out on the floor for yoga mats. Following the session, we were asked to use the sanitiser spray provided to wipe down our mats and exit the pod with consideration of others.
The heating and dehumidifying equipment in the tent also helps to combat bacteria and maintains a healthy flow of air. If you are feeling ill, it is recommended that you do not attend. Even if it’s just the ‘sniffles’, you might find the additional heat uncomfortable.
I’ll be completely honest, there were points during my hot yoga experience where I thought I couldn’t squat or stretch anymore. However, the ethos of yoga is only to push yourself as far as you feel comfortable.
Yoga is never about punishing your body, it’s quite the opposite, and knowing that you can stop, rest, and breathe, is why it remains so accessible.
The great thing about Hotpod Yoga is you feel like you’ve had a workout, a facial
and a therapy session all in just one hour!
If we’ve got you inspired, Hotpod Yoga Stoke is currently running an introductory offer of three classes for £18 for the month of September.
Where: Unit 5, Garfield Works, Uttoxeter Road, Longton, Stoke-on-Trent, ST3 1PF
Book and find out more about the classes here: hotpodyoga.com/studios/stoke/.