Hot Yoga studio centers and works out
Thick, hot air greets incoming guests of the Yoga Kula Project, a hot yoga studio at the Westgate Park City Resort. Dimmed lights and soft music set the mood as guests roll out their mats. Studio’s owner Trudee Sanbonmatsu believes the Yoga Kula Project is a tucked away gem for those looking to relax after a hard day of work or a hard day of play on the mountain.
"It’s a wonderful way to detox, stretch your muscles, become more flexible and hot yoga really forces you to focus on breathing. Moving through each breath from one position into the next, that’s huge. That is yoga."
Kula means community in Sanskrit and Sanbonmatsu chose it because when she started the studio she wanted it to have a community feel. Sanbonmatsu taught at another hot yoga studio, but after leaving she started getting calls asking if and where she might be teaching.
The Yoga Kula Project was beginning to develop.
"I wanted it to be a community project," Sanbonmatsu said, "where we get together and practice. I never wanted a boss-type situation where I was telling everyone what to do."
When she talked to Westgate managers about turning the yoga studio into a hot yoga studio, they jumped at the chance. Soon after, Sanbonmatsu was setting up and preparing the classes. She included the Bikram and Vinyasa styles, offering some classes in a 75 to 80 degrees setting and others at temperatures from 100 to 105 degrees.
"When we practice at the 75 to 80 degrees range, it’s just very warm," she said. "Often times, people just came off the mountain. They feel good and their muscles are relaxed."
The cooler setting is a good way for people to settle down and prepare for a good night’s sleep. The hotter classes are another story. The main purpose of heating a room to 100 degrees, or more, is that the heat forces a person to focus on their breath, Sanbonmatsu said.
"Before any practice, you should set an intention," she said. "So someone could think, ‘When I get home tonight I want to be nicer to my husband,’ or ‘I’m going to stop cussing,’ or ‘I want peace for the world,’ or ‘I want to be more thankful.’ Whatever is on you’re mind."
That intention is what keeps people focused and from running out the door, Sanbonmatsu said. If someone can’t think of an intention for the session, Sanbonmatsu gives them a card with an intricate design on it. While it may not be standard practice in yoga, she believes the image helps to let people focus more in her classes.
"They can focus in on something and it really helps to calm them down when they are on the verge of leaving," Sanbonmatsu said. "Hot yoga especially can be challenging. With something set on your mind , it really helps."
For her though, yoga is something more than a workout that requires a lot of concentration. Hot yoga, or any yoga, is about the connection of the mind and body, she said.
"With yoga there seems to be a connection between spirit and body that you start to feel," Sanbonmatsu said. "I don’t think I ever felt it doing any other thing except for maybe being at the ocean or being at the very top of a mountain. A regular yoga practice does something to connect the body with the soul."
Yoga Kula Project
3000 Canyons Resorts Dr.
Monday at 9 a.m., 5 p.m.
Tuesday at 5:30 p.m
Wednesday at 9 a.m., 5:30 p.m.
Thursday at 5:30 p.m.
Friday at 9 a.m. 5 p.m.
Saturday at 9 a.m., 11 a.m.
Sunday at 9 a.m., 4:30 p.m.
*check website for details on whether class is Bikram, Vinyasa or Power Yoga
Anita Lewis, Brent Ovard and Travis English were influential in shaping how residents interact with the county.