Hot Yoga studio to open downtown Monday after $60,000 investment from owners

Patty Sutherland, owner of Lansing and Mount Pleasant Hot Yoga, demonstrates the Tree Pose "Tadasama" yoga position in her Hot Yoga Studio on Friday afternoon. Zack Wittman//Staff Photographer

A new business is preparing to open amid the brightly colored shops of downtown Mount Pleasant.

Mount Pleasant Hot Yoga, 115 S Main St., owned by Patty Sutherland and managed by Jofus Smith, is set to open Monday after a long and arduous journey.

It was a journey full of pitfalls and unpleasant surprises leading up to the successful building inspection Tuesday, Sutherland said.

“It was a 100-year-old building, and we kept finding things that were unexpected," she said. "We wanted to keep the old floors, but they were in bad shape, so we fixed them up."

Hot yoga is defined as yoga practiced in conditions upwards of 100 degrees. Most classes, said Sutherland, are done in 105-degree temperatures with 40-percent humidity.

Having conditions like that, in an old building, required a lot of extra work on their part, Sutherland said. The Main Street building was chosen over several Mission Street locations due to significant price differences in rent, she said.

Locations on Mission Street cost four times the amount of the downtown location, Sutherland said.

Sutherland purchased a special furnace that could reach high temperatures while being efficient, she said.

“We had to put in insulation up above and below, because the basement is icy cold and draws heat away,” Sutherland said.

Due to the old foundation, Sutherland estimates she spent about $60,000 getting the building up to par.

The newly renovated studio also boasts two full locker rooms with showers, a must after such a rigorous workout, Sutherland said. The team is already planning to expand to another changing room in the back and a room in which they can practice massage therapy.

Smith, lead instructor and manager of the studio, is also trained in healing practices such as massage, he said.

Some might be wondering why anyone would want to practice yoga, an already intense exercise, in such degrees of heat. The benefits, Sutherland said, are numerous.

“It detoxes the skin, makes it so much softer. You become more flexible, the joint pain just isn’t there, you sleep better, and it works every muscle, tendon and joint. The emotional benefits are more with hot yoga as well. The word we hear is euphoric; you just float.”

It all started in 2011, when Patty Sutherland was unhappy with the long commute to Detroit to practice hot yoga. So, in September of the same year, she opened her first studio in East Lansing, which has since found great success. Plans for another studio in Mount Pleasant came soon after, though they were tentative at first, she said.

“It was a joke, because it’s hard work building on a studio," she said. "I swore I would never do it again … but then, like having a baby, you tend to forget the suffering. Meeting Jofus was really the impetus and having him come in and start teaching at our studio.”

It was a life-long dream of Smith’s to open a yoga studio in Mount Pleasant, and it seemed like the perfect opportunity.

“Coming back to Mount Pleasant is coming full circle for me," he said. "My mom was a CMU student, and she took yoga classes while she was here, and I didn’t know until I was done with this whole process that this is coming full circle for me from where I started my journey with yoga. I was only about four or five."

Smith said the most rewarding part of being a yoga instructor is helping other people.

“I got hit by a car while riding my bike, and, because of that, I have a piece of titanium in my arm, and I had to modify many of the poses and I realized there were a large group of people who needed that kind of help on a daily basis,” he said. “When I realized that, that’s when everything kind of came into full spectrum of what it entails to be a yoga instructor.”

Smith will be teaching 14 to 15 of the initial 25 classes per week.

“We’re kind of trying to stick to the whole nondenominational approach to yoga so it’s more inclusive for everybody,” he said.


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