◊ THE CLASS: Union Hot ◊
WHAT TO BRING
Shorts and a bra, or the smallest amount of clothes you feel comfortable wearing
Big towel (for your mat)
Small towel (for your sweat)
And here we are with another hot yoga studio in Calgs. We were pretty stoked about trying this little nugget because they’re a) the same company/owners as One Cycle and we LOVE us some One Cycle, and b) when I used to live in Calgary, Hot Yoga on 17th (their second location) was my freaking home BASE! I went all the damn time, like four times a week minimum, had a hand in my falling in love with yoga a million years ago, and we probs wouldn’t have Fit-City without it. And THEN we found out that Hot Yoga on Crowfoot exists and I figured – sure let’s venture outside the downtown/Mission core and see what it looks like. More to come below, but this location is busy yet zen, and feels like it’s been there forever. Our class was literally the EXACT same class that I took ten years ago and it was predictably hot, sweaty, and felt freaking fabulous.
HYOC is in Crowfoot Crossing in Calgary’s NorthWest, hence the name. They’re located in a v typical suburban North American big-box complex (le sigh) next to The Shoe Company, Indigo, Starbucks, a movie theatre and many many other businesses. As are many places like this in Calgary, it’s the most convenient if you’re driving, but taking transit isn’t too bad with the Crowfoot C-Train Station a 15 minute walk away (bc it’ll take you 10 minutes just to cross the parking lot). Even though they’re not super central, they’re the only studio in the area that has spin and hot yoga so they’re actually super busy and attract a lot more people than just those in the surrounding burbs. Their second location is Hot Yoga on 17th, which only has hot yoga classes btw, and their sister business run by the same owners is One Cycle – woot.
CLASS SCHEDULE + PRICE
These guys have a variety of hot yoga classes and just the one kind of spin. The hot yoga offering is quiet impressive with ten class styles ranging in level of experience and practice style, but are all uniquely different. They cover the more advanced variety with Power Vinyasa Flow, Baptiste Vinyasa Sculpt, and a very intentional balance heavy class called Strong + Slow Flow, but they also have a bunch of great options for beginners or those who prefer a softer class such as Inferno Yogalates (which we’ve never seen and love the concept) and probably our fav, Yin to Bed for sleep prep. YAS. All hot yoga classes are done in a room heated to 42°C with 50% humidity and warm classes are heated to 38°C with 50% humidity. So, hot.
As far as pricing, HYOC is pretty damn great. Drop-in is fairly standard at $20, but their class cards and membership options drive the price down better than most we’ve seen, like ever. The Auto-Renew 10 Class Card, which is such a smart option, is a killer deal with no commitment and works out to $13 per class. Membership options are also super simple with monthly and annual, which is great – sometimes studios get too fancy here. Both memberships have a ton of perks like one complimentary guest pass every other month, 15% off branded merch, 15% off registered classes and workshops, and the ability to hold the membership (for vaca or injury etc.) up to twice a year. The monthly pass is smart to sign-up for if you plan on going more than three times a week (which would drop classes to $9 per), and the annual pass for at least two times a week ($10 per) but if you’re doing less than that, then go class card route. Full fruits, guys. Nice job with the moneys.
- Drop-in: $20
- 5 Class Card: $80 ($16 per class)
- 10 Class Card: $150 ($15 per class)
- 20 Class Card: $280 ($14 per class)
- Auto-Renew 10 Class Card: $130 ($13 per class)
- One Month Unlimited: $160
- Auto-Renew Monthly Unlimited Membership: $109
- Auto-Renew Annual Unlimited Membership: $1090
- New Client Weekly Unlimited: $25
- New Client Monthly Unlimited: $45
HYOC has been open for years and years and years, or more accurately since November 2010. It’s super zen with muted colors and they have done A LOT to be an eco-conscious space. Think a customised HVAC system (ensuring constant fresh & clean oxygenated air circulating through while maintaining the hot temps and humidity), eco-friendly construction with natural clay walls and VOC-free paints, and they’re green, obviously, with natural cleaning products and efficient plumbing to minimize water usage. The artwork has deeper meaning just like their friends at One Cycle, with a handmade Om symbol at the end of the hallway, made completely of repurposed material like cork rounds and wire.
There’s a really nice flow of traffic, which might seem like a lame balls thing to comment on, but especially in a spin and hot yoga studio it’s appreciated that you’re not bumping sweaty uglies with your neighbs. On that, it’s packed with people filling up the one spin room and the one hot yoga room, which often have classes starting around the same time. The studio is large and a bit windy and there’s a long hallway running from the main lobby and sign in desk, to two change rooms, lockers, and a water station. There are plenty of amenities, yummy complimentary tea and shower products that are grade A, and the post-workout chilled face towels won extra pineappley points.
- Filtered water
- Spin shoes provided
- Womens and mens change room that include showers, bathrooms, blow dryers, and Aveda product that make the showers smell like a heavenly spa
- A complimentary selection of teas
- Post-workout chilled face towels
- Shower towels ($2) and workout towels ($1) for rent
- Yoga mat for rent ($2)
- Retail boutique that includes yoga apparel, mats, water bottles and more
“alright beautiful humans”
Amber is a super zen, tatted, bad-ass yogi that barely opens instagram (respect girl, you focus on your world). As we started the class in child’s pose, Amber spoke for about 2-3 minutes about a lot of the stereotyps yogi things like setting an intention, feeling the ground beneath you, focusing on your breath and let go of the day – basically all the things getting you to go inward, take a hot minute (hah, no pun intended) to shut out the world and focus on being present. I loved that she made numerous references to us looking in the mirror and not judging ourselves. Which, she acknowledged, is really hard to do – but letting go of judgement, comparison, and looking at our outfit, our body, or our hair and instead to focus past the tip of our nose and let our reflection just be there. Sigh – such a refreshing moment to let go and exactly why we even go to yoga, so👏🏼. The one thing that caused us to munch away half a pineapple, is that Amber didn’t really show us or talk us through modifications that could exist for each pose, therefore we were all moving through the exact same sequences. And as we all know, we aren’t all the same, and having an opportunity to modify our practice for our own journey is something we look for.
LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY
WAY HARD | HARD | MIDDLE OF THE ROADSIES | CHILL | HELLA CHILL
We’re considering this hot and sweaty flow class Hard. We took the Union Hot class which combines a traditional hot yoga class (series of 28 postures performed in a precise order) with a Baptiste vinyasa flow class. It’s designed to be a cardiovascular workout that loosens, strengthens and tones, and the heat allows for deep, safe stretching and detoxifies the crap out of your skin. Woot. The crazy thing is, if I go back in my brain to 7+ years ago when I used to go to Hot Yoga on 17th religiously, this class was the EXACT. SAME. It was nutty, my body literally moved into the next pose on it’s own and my brain was still 5 seconds behind. I’m in two minds about this. On one hand, I like the fact that it’s consistent and you know what to expect, however if you go regularly or want to push forward, the same same yogi menu doesn’t really allow for it.
So anyway, here’s what we did.
Most peeps were in the room 20 minutes before class even started – which was pretty intense, and we were some of the last to trickle in two minutes before go time. Class started in child’s pose as we got accustomed to the heat, even though most people were already sweating buckets from their early arrival. After standing, we started with a v typical breathing exercise that we see in hot yoga classes a lot, where you move through prayer, intertwine yours hands and push them down to the floor as you breathe out, then lift them (still linked) over your head as you inhale – and then repeat 10+ times. After that, we flowed. We stopped in each pose for five deep breaths in our own time, which was nice because Amber encouraged us to stay at our own pace, but we would wait for the last person before moving onto the next sequence. Almost every position or sequence we did, we repeated twice on each side with the second round being shorter, and we followed a very typical class flow that went from breathing, warm-up, balance poses, sun salutations (a and b), forward folds, and then to the floor starting on our stomachs for posterior work and then our backs for a final cool down with hamstring stretches, twists, and savasana. In savasana and to calm us back down, Amber brought around cold lemongrass towels and draped them over our eyes. Most lovely.
Some of my fav yoga poses made an appearance like dancing warrior and camel pose, however I was missing the opportunity to work on some of my arm balances or push myself further. As mentioned, there wasn’t an opportunity to modify the positions to take a less difficult or a more advanced version soooo munchy munchy pineapple. HYOC considers this class moderate to difficult, which I agree with, purely bc of the heat (it would be rough for a novice yogi to try coping with the heat at the same time they’re still learning the poses) and bc the class wasn’t shown by Amber, it was spoken. Overall though – this one was sweaty, familiar and we left feeling loosey goosey and detoxified as hell – which is always a good thing.
To try this class or anything else on their schedule, see HYOC’s schedule here.
See ya next week, fineapples!