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Sweat Yoga is Making Hot Vinyasa More Accessible

By Marina I. Jokic

Tom Schey fell in love with hot Vinyasa yoga years ago. A long-time practitioner of the discipline, Schey was enthralled by the natural flow of the body that hot yoga promoted through its varied asanas and heated environment. Three short years ago, Schey decided to open his own studio, complete with a modern, clean look, spa-like dressing rooms, and a team of dedicated instructors. Thanks to its successful model, Sweat Yoga also has a New York location.

"Sweat classes are heated, most to about 100 degrees," Schey said. "The heat isn't suffocating, yet certainly noticeable, [and] allows our students to get loose quickly, facilitates a great cleanse, and is an enhanced component of a shorter class."

Many practitioners prefer the shorter duration and heightened intensity of a hot yoga class to the conventionally longer session of a regular one. Not only do they find themselves conserving time, but also progressing much more quickly in their practice. Contrary to the widespread view that hot yoga is performed in an uncomfortable, stifling environment, Schey can't stress enough how pleasant and conducive Sweat Yoga's space is for practicing. The cutting-edge filtration and ventilation system that the studio uses maintains great air quality and humidity.

"We installed the same air scrubbers NASA uses, ventilate the room frequently, and scrub it clean daily, so that hot yoga room smell?well you won't find that at Sweat [Yoga]," Schey said. "Music [is a big part, too], the joy of a class with a creative playlist, a reflection of a teacher's determination to keep it interesting, current, and well-choreographed."

Sweat Yoga caters to most levels of experience, although it's not the easiest place for complete beginners. A good place to start is the "Candlelight Yin,' a class that introduces students to basic, sustained movements with long holds in a candlelit room that's heated to approximately 90 degrees. Coupled with mellow tunes, the class is a great introduction for beginners.

On the other end of the spectrum, the "Rise N Sweat" is perfect for early birds who love a dynamic workout to start their days. Bringing breath and awareness of your body in sync, this session will subtly develop into a flow of postures that will activate and energize you. In a similar vein, the "Sweat-Chizle" class is a dynamic combination of cross strength and flow yoga, integrating weights but still firmly grounded in the hot yoga tradition. The "Yoga + Brew" really dials up the intensity by encouraging some dance moves set to louder-than-usual tunes. The class has different themes each week marked by a specific artist or genre.

"We don't believe there is a perfect practice, [but] we do believe being aware and connected is our style of yoga," Schey said. "Sweat is a reflection of my many thousands of hours in a yoga room, reflecting those days when the experience hits on all cylinders: the right flow, the right dialogue, great music, and feeling part of the community in the yoga room."

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