Bring on the heat at the Hot Yoga Claremont Studio!

Hot Yoga Claremont’s featured symbol as seen in the entry shop.

Walking into the antechamber of Hot Yoga Claremont near the intersection of Foothill and Mountain, one feels an immediate sense of peace. The warm, bright room has Hot Yoga Claremont merchandise lined against the back wall up for sale, and a shoebox right by the entryway prompts everyone to put their shoes away and walk barefooted.
After checking in with the instructor at the front desk for the Bikram yoga class, I stepped into the hot room. Being previously warned that the room was supposed to be heated to 105 degrees Fahrenheit with 40% humidity, I thought I was prepared for all the heat could throw at me. As time passed ominously slowly, I realized I was definitely dead wrong.
However, in the meantime, I set up my mat and water and dropped off the rest of my stuff in the women’s locker room at the back. Entering the hot room, I examined it more closely. The room was long and rectangular and two of the walls were mirrored. There was a clear glass barrier between the entry area and the hot room. Only the long back wall was solid.
As the clock turned to eight AM, the instructor walked in and had us start with a breathing exercise. Even though this seemed innocuous, the slow moving process was very draining. I was alarmed by how fast my energy seemed to sap from me, both due to the heat and the poses.
Bikram Yoga is a series of 26 poses with a breathing exercise at the beginning and end, and each class lasts 90 minutes long. Each pose is repeated twice, which to me was like torturein the depths of hell. Indeed, I noticed that there were two switches (presumably to control the temperature) labeled “Breath of Hell” and “Breath of Heaven,” with appropriate pictures to match. I thought that I was out of energy by the second pose, but I found that I was (mostly) able to keep going for the class. I frequently stopped to get a drink of water from my water bottle during the standing poses for the first hour. I did not need as much water during the final half-hour with the sitting poses.
The instructor for that day gave a lot of instruction. The huge room was very echoey, so everyone could hear their directions. There is a full roster of approximately fifteen instructors. Sharon Colalongo, one of the Bikram Yoga instructors, shared with me her favorite part about being in this profession.
“Getting to know the people who come through the yoga studio, whether you’re just a first time student or if you’ve been with us for twenty years or maybe longer [is my favorite],” Colalongo said. “Everybody comes in and practices for a different reason. It always has been my favorite part of teaching, just getting to know people and why they do what they do.”
This, for one, is a great way to join a great community of caring instructors who take the opportunity to reach out to their students.
Not all instructors teach Bikram Yoga, though. Even though the studio name is Hot Yoga Claremont, there is not just Bikram Yoga being offered. In the hot room, Bikram Yoga and Hot Pilates (divided into Inferno Hot Pilates and HIIT Pilates) classes are given. Hot Pilates is designed for people to increase their fitness levels in a hot room with Pilates and HIIT principles. While in the Loft, also known as the cold room, there is Kundalini Yoga, Yin Yoga, Vinyasa, Restorative Dessert, and Sound Bath. Unfortunately, as I did not have enough time to take these classes, I cannot write about any of them. Descriptions can be found on their website,
For anyone who wants to step out of their comfort zone and try something new, Hot Yoga Claremont is the place for you! Also, for everyone worried about COVID, the yoga studio offers six “Private” Bikram Yoga practices each week, mandating that everyone participating has to be vaccinated. The studio cleans the rooms three times a week and the hot room is cleaned with bleach after every class, according to an update from their newsletter. Classes are broadcasted over Zoom so that people who want to participate but also stay ultrasafe can join in. And again — no matter if you are flexible or not, all that matters is that you push yourself. So stretch into Cobra pose and try one of the classes at the studio out in the future!