◊ THE CLASS: Hot Hips ◊
WHAT YOU NEED
Large towel (for your mat)
Small towel (for your sweatyness)
Barely any clothes
HotShop, as the name suggests, is one of a handful of studios in Calgary that specialise in the hot yoga variety. Also offering spin classes at some locations, this three studio brand has been around since 2013 and has the loyal fan following only a studio in biz for five years can drum up. We tried one of their most popular classes; Hot Hips at the Victoria Park location, which is the only studio that keeps things strictly focused on the hot stuff. The class was juicy, fluid and, of course, sweaty as hell and we left feeling particularly elated after spending an hour getting into the nitty gritty of our hip joints. Which was no accident btw – we learned open hips = happy hearts and we’ve been doing daily lunges ever since.
HotShop has three locations in Calgary; Victoria Park (their first location and the most central), their second studio to open; Silverado in Calgary’s south and the 3rd studio; Northwest University. The Victoria Park location used to be Hot Yoga Lounge, a hot yoga studio I frequented a LOT when I used to live in Calgary, so this location brought back all the memories. It’s a great location, just a half a minute outside of Calgary’s downtown true core but still walkable from the office tower hub. It’s tucked away on 13h Avenue just off of 1st Street SW on a quieter street with condo’s across the street and Hotel Arts in their backyard. It’s easy access by public transit, with the closest C-Train station six blocks away on 7th Ave and buses running north and southbound on 1st Street SW. Street parking is your best bet if you’re driving.
CLASS SCHEDULE + PRICE
The HotShop in Victoria Park focuses strictly on hot yoga and all classes are held in the room at 37ºC with 50% humidity. Even with hot yoga only, they offer a decent variety of classes ranging from yin (Yin/Yang, Hot Yin, Yin, and Candlelight Yin) to various Vinyasa and Flow classes like Core Power, Power Flow, Freestyle Flow, Yoga Sculpt and Hot Hips, which obvi focuses on Hips – more on this later. The Silverado and Northwest University locations offer spin classes as well but more than that, they offer spin/yoga hybrid classes that have half an hour of spin followed by half an hour of yin (which is one of their OG classes and a fan favorite). Back to Victoria Park though that’s all about the hot yoga, they also have some fancy options on their class menu to make things spicey. In the summer, they partner with their good neighbours to the south, Hotel Arts, to run Poolside Yoga on Saturday and Sunday mornings at 9:00am (oh hey Calgary dishing up a lil’ slice of LA pie). They also have Karma classes ever Friday evening for $5 rather than the full fare, and a free class on Saturday afternoons – great opportunity for newbies.
As far as pricing, HotShop is pretty affordable and in-line with most of their competitors at just over $20 for a drop-in class. The only thing that’s not the best is you have to rent everything; mat for $2, shower towel for $2, bottle water is another $2, so if you’re just travelling or coming from work and don’t want to lug your mat with you to the office, you’re looking at another $2-$8. Anyway, there are a TON of pricing options other than drop-in and a bit of discrepancy between the website and your total tally (i.e. Mindbody) so listen up. Between all locations, there are over ten types of passes you can purchase, 10 classes, 20 classes, and a slew of unlimited passes which essentially are memberships without the contract. Some of these are only available at some locations, which makes perfect sense for the spin passes for example that are only available at Silverado and NW University where there’s spin, but it struck us as odd when the annual unlimited passes for example are only avails at the NW University studio. I’m sure they would sell it to you at other locations, no!? The website also claims classes are $22 for a drop-in but low and behold when you actually check-out they’re only $20.95 woop woop, and not all pricing options are advertised on the site vs purchasable through MindBody. So yah. All of the actual options are below.
- Drop-in: $20.95, w/ shoe rental $22.85
- First-Timer Unlimited Spin & Yoga: $45 per month
- 10 Class Pass: $170 ($17 per class), w/ shoe rentals: $190
- 20 Class Pass: $320 ($16 per class), w/ shoe rentals: $360
- Unlimited Hot Yoga Drop-in OR Unlimited Spin Drop-in: $160/month
- Unlimited Spin Drop-in + Shoes: $185/month
- Unlimited Spin AND Yoga Drop-in: $240/month
- Yoga Annual Unlimited Drop-in: $1350/year
- Spin Annual Unlimited Drop-in: $1350/year
- Spin AND Yoga Annual Unlimited Drop-in: $1999/year
- Monthly Unlimited Membership Yoga OR Spin (contract): $110/month
HotShop is cute. The front lobby of Victoria Park is bright, white, and open with light shinning in and plants along the walls. The layout is pretty basic with the big front lobby, a narrow hallway that leads to the mens and womens change rooms that are quite big, and the single hot yoga studio in the centre of it all. They’ve put their branding on the place by sprinkling in small pops of red like the ‘HotShop’ logo and a giant red Buddha in the main lobby, and the space has a hint of an industrial feel with cement floors and exposed ceilings. The exposed ceilings are only in the lobby part of the studio, thank the lord, bc we’re not sure how we’d feel about it if that was in the hot room as well…But other than that, the place is quite simple with not the most personality that we’ve ever seen, but they definitely have all of your needs considered, like including blow dryers, hairspray, spray deodorant, and giving you a cold lemongrass scented towelette at the end of your class. No lockers though – your things are left open in the change rooms – and considering it’s a hot studio you wouldn’t bring your bag in with you, so leave your vals at home.
The crowd for our Hot Hips class was pretty seasoned and familiar with their practice. Not super surprising, really, as it’s ideal you know a thing or two about yoga before you brave the heat. Our class was half full (which is typical for a middle-of-the-summer sauna fest), there were a handful of men, and ages in the class ranged from late teens to 40+’s. There’s no doubt that most people were HotShop regulars/members as they were chummy with the staff and catching up on summer plans. Cute community vibes, guys.
- Mens and womens change rooms with showers and washrooms
- Blowdryers & combs
- Hair ties, tampons, q-tips, spray deodorant, hairspray, gel, lotion, and hubba bubba suckers 🙂
- Towels (for $2)
- Yoga mats (for $2)
- Bottled water ($2)
TEAM & INSTRUCTOR
HotShop was founded by the lovely Jessica Drybrough, who opened the first doors to Victoria Park on July 15th, 2013. When Jess was looking to open HotShop at the time, the yoga studios in Calgary had the same vibe; muted colours and a quiet atmosphere, and she felt the need for something a bit livelier. She envisioned bright spaces, music playing, constant chatter amongst a tight knit community, and a welcoming space for regulars and newbies alike. And so she went for it, making hiring a team that was lazer focused on building a community a top priority. Jess plays a pretty behind the scenes role and lets her team of over 28 instructors be the stars, and the more broad class schedule (i.e. not Baron Baptiste style classes only) allows for them to be creative and inject their unique personalities into each class.
After a breakup, Tania eat-pray-loved it and went to Hawaii to become a yoga teacher because, as it turned out, yoga was the only thing that brought peace to her mind and heart. Same girl, same. She’s now been practising yoga for over ten years and has been a teacher for over five and it’s a treat for us that the guy screwed up. This one oozes experience as she teaches with such a melodic pace that’s void of any ‘um’s’ or ‘like’s’ because she knows exactly what she wants you to do and she knows exactly how to explain it. It honestly felt like she had a script and she was reading directly from it, even for the beginning breathing section as she talked us through setting an intention. She spent the majority of the class walking the room, so the queues were verbal versus us being able to follow her along (another reason it was more of an advanced class). She started perfectly on time – which always gets our nod of approval – even though she was running late and literally ran in from the street directly into the yoga studio. But as soon as she crossed the barrier into the heated room, she put on her calm, confidant, yogi voice and you would have never known.
LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY
WAY HARD | HARD | MIDDLE OF THE ROADSIES | CHILL | HELLA CHILL
We’re considering the Hot Hips class Hard with full fruits and probably more approps for experienced yogis. The 37ºC temps and the 50% humidity alone had us morphing into hot messes, but the flow of the class got us working overtime. Interestingly enough, before the class even started a good 90% of the yogis set up shop in the hot room to zen out in savasana ten minutes beforehand. A lot of this is to get climatised so you don’t waste the first few poses adjusting to the heat, which is smart. Once Tania came in, she got the soothing and upbeat music going and talked us through setting an intention for the class. And then we went for it. We began moving through a dynamic class that was geared specifically to opening up our hips. We warmed up by doing a lot of sun salutations and moving through warrior one’s and two’s and crescent lunges (for dem hips). There was opportunity to take more advanced versions of poses, like three legged dog flows and king pigeon (which is where you grab your foot behind your head when on the ground in pigeon pose), but Tania always gave modification options. There wasn’t any dedicated time for water or towel off breaks, so everyone just took them when they were getting particularly blinded by their own sweat. We spent less time standing and in balancing positions than a typical flow class so we could get to the ground sooner and continue to work on stretches focusing on our hips. Hips are typically the tightest areas of the body and they take a little bit of coaxing to open up. They can often cause issues in the rest of the body if they’re tight and they’re associated with negative emotions like fear, stress and the sads. By focusing on opening them up you’ll inherently combat those emotions hopefully feeling happier, and open hips can release back pain and improve leg circulation. So, to sum up, hips fix everything, so do this class.
To try this class or anything else on their schedule, see HotShop’s schedule here.