By Kathryn Worrall
Downtown Waco is getting a new bar, but the Yoga Bar will be a healthier — and hotter — bar.
The Yoga Bar will be Waco’s only gym to exclusively offer yoga and is planning a soft opening by the end of January. Owner Dani Owens, a December 2012 Texas Christian University graduate, never expected to open a yoga studio. Owens, who grew up in Waco, began practicing yoga while at TCU. When she returned to her hometown, she saw the need for a yoga studio.
“I know gyms in town do have yoga, but I couldn’t go to one spot and have a week planned out for just yoga classes,” Owens said. “I knew someone else was going to do it if I didn’t, so I took a leap of faith.”
A unique feature of the Yoga Bar will be the option of infrared heated classes. Different from the common “turn the thermostat up” hot yoga classes seen around Waco, the infrared heaters, located above yoga participants, are similar to the warmth of the sun, rather than a thick, humid “can’t breathe” heat, Owens said.
Elizabeth Oates, a yoga instructor at WRS Athletic Club, teaches the only hot yoga class in Waco.
Instead of infrared heaters, every Sunday, Oates heats the room to about 95 to 97 degrees and students practice a slower approach of yoga, the Vinyasa, which focuses on holding each body pose and getting a deep stretch. WRS’ hot yoga class is the most attended class on its schedule, Oates said.
Other gyms and studios in town, such as Baylor’s Bearobics or the Ridgewood Country Club, offer yoga classes, but do not teach hot yoga.
“Usually hot yoga classes are more power-based,” Spicewood sophomore Sheridan Aspy, a student yoga instructor for Bearobics, said. “If you were compare it to the classes we do at the McLane Student Life Center, we have a power yoga class. It’s similar to hot yoga —the only difference is the room temperature.”
Regardless of the type of hot yoga, the warming of the body helps release toxins and can help improve various health problems, such as allergies, insomnia, and chronic pain issues, Oates said.
“You’re going to feel great after it, even though you’re not going to look so cute,” Owens said.
The Yoga Bar plans to offer the option of hot yoga for its two main styles of yoga — Unwind and Glow. Unwind classes will focus on holding each yoga position and connecting breaths with each movement.
Glow classes will be fitness based, powerful and focus on moving the entire time. Another class offered by the Yoga Bar will be the Essentials class — an option for beginners to learn basic poses, props and proper body alignment.
“I want the studio to be beginner friendly,” Owens said. “Yoga is for everyone — it’s your practice.”
Owens and Jelena Sudar will be full-time instructors at the Yoga Bar. Sarah Hess, who teaches the Farmer’s Market yoga classes, and Amy Tarter, who teaches Beginning Relaxation and Fitness for Baylor as well as at Ridgewood Country Club, will also teach. Owens’ aunt, Mary Dwyer, will teach one group class for three and four year olds.
Once a week, the Yoga Bar will hold a “Healthy Happy Hour,” which will promote various goods to support clean lifestyles. Owens hopes businesses around town will join in and sell their products.
“If someone is selling something natural or making it, or for us, it will be happy hours for fresh juice or essential oils,” Owens said. “It can be anything that’s healthy for a lifestyle change.”
The Yoga Bar’s “Healthy Happy Hour” will promote healthy, eco-friendly choices often associated with the yoga lifestyle. Yoga Bar will be selling fresh juice, yoga wear and other yoga products.
“My goal is to shift small things,” Owens said. “Even if someone just buys a bees wax candle, that’s one thing in their life they can change to make their lifestyle a little cleaner.”
The Yoga Bar will start with 24 classes per week, around four to five one-hour classes per day, and will be open Monday through Saturday. An unlimited monthly membership will cost $110, and five class and 10 class pass rates will be released soon. Private sessions are also available. The first class is free, and corporate rates and student discounts will also be offered.
For more information or to stay updated on the Yoga Bar’s progress, visit their Facebook page at Facebook.com/theyogabarwaco.