Worthing's first hot yoga studio has attracted a loyal following in the town since it opened a year and a half ago.
Katie Robertson and her husband Ross launched Hotpod Yoga Worthing in a studio in Stoke Abbott Road in August 2017, just four months after they left London to start a new life in Shoreham.
The pair ‘fell in love’ with Shoreham while visiting friends and were keen for a lifestyle change that would allow them to spend more time with their two young children.
But they chose Worthing as the place to set up their hot yoga studio after they noticed a gap in the market.
Katie said: “There’s hot yoga in Brighton and some in Chichester, they are the closest places to Worthing that provide hot yoga.”
She said it had been ‘so well received’ so far. “Everyone that comes says such lovely things, they seem really happy to have us here,” she said.
“We have people saying thank you so much for opening in Worthing.”
People attending the classes were beginning to get to know one another and Katie said: “It’s a real community feel now and it’s growing everyday.”
The branch is a franchise of Hotpod Yoga, a company which started in 2013 and has grown to 50 locations in eight countries since then.
Katie said of the company: “It was born out of the idea of wanting to make yoga accessible and dispel lots of the myths, reaching people who have never thought they wanted yoga or needed yoga.”
The classes take place inside a giant purple inflatable pod which is heated to 37 degrees for the hour-long sessions.
She explained: “It’s really low level lighting, there’s no mirrors, no one looking at anyone else, no competition. As soon as you’re zipped in, you’re transported from your everyday life.
“You just have an hour to switch off, which is what so many people need with stressful jobs, young children.
“They don’t have to worry about being a mother or a father or whatever, they can just be themselves for an hour.”
People often had a lot of questions about the doing yoga in the heat, and Katie explained: “It is hot, you do get hot and sweat.
“It’s not a dry heat, it’s humid. There’s air flow coming in the whole time.
“We encourage people to come with no expectations and take it super easy, drink water whenever they need to.”
Katie herself used to be an avid gym-goer and, though she had tried yoga before, said she had never found it challenging enough.
That changed when she decided, on the recommendation of her husband, to give hot yoga a go. “I was hooked after one class. I got the buzz,” she said.
“That was the beginning of my life changing. My mind started to change, I wanted to treat my body better.
“I saw I felt really good when I was practicing. It spiralled from there. The more I did it, the more I loved it.”
Describing the benefits of hot yoga, she said: “Most people definitely lose weight, if they have weight to lose.
“Because you are sweating a lot and working hard, it’s a natural thing that you drop pounds or you will tone up.”
She said it also helped people get stronger and more flexible, as well as helping detoxify the skin.
But the most important part was achieving ‘that clarity of mind’ she said.
“When you are in there you are not thinking of anything else. It changes the way you think about the world as a whole," she said.
“I’ve had so many people come in and say its helped them with depression and anxiety, or people with chronic back pain.
“Lots of people come with a physical aim, but the main thing I hear is that this has given them more peace, helped them feel calmer and less stressed.”