Sweating it out

Mandy Whigham

Photo by Vic Cantu

If you have ever practiced yoga for physical and spiritual health, you likely appreciate its merits. For a twist, some prefer to do it in a room heated to 105 degrees, with a muggy 40 percent humidity. “Hot yoga” became popular in the 1980s, and is something Mandy Whigham says she thought she would never try. But a colleague convinced her to give it a whirl and she loved it so much that in February 2015, she bought the hot yoga studio in Chico at 1140 Mangrove Ave., Chico Hot Yoga, and renamed it Hot Yoga Club. It did so well that she opened a second branch in Granite Bay. When Whigham isn’t sweating it out, she stays busy with her three children, and also runs Dream Home Real Estate Services next to the yoga studio. Contact her at 321-0611, online at HotYogaClub.com.

How is your yoga studio different from others?

We practice regular yoga, but we do it in an artificially heated and humidified setting. All our classes are at least “warm,” which means they are heated to at least 80 to 90 degrees, if not “hot,” which is 105 degrees.

Do people lose weight sweating so much?

Not really. Some do, but most of the sweating is just water weight, and you drink it right back.

What do people like best about your classes?

They like our competent, caring instructors, and challenging classes that give people a great workout. They also say we have very good, positive energy. Plus, our classes are all beginner-friendly, and we have showers and lockers.

How did you get into hot yoga?

I grew up in San Diego and loved running but not stretching. Yoga always seemed so slow and I was not flexible at all. Then a co-worker took me to a class, and at first my body was so tight it hurt. But the heat gave me a good workout and my muscles became more flexible, so I kept at it. It felt healthier than just running, and I became very attracted to it. I took a month-long break from running to gain flexibility, and when I restarted running, I felt I had a completely different body! I was much looser and faster.

What are the advantages of hot yoga?

The stretching and postures are challenging. The sweating is good for the skin and detoxifying. It’s also a good cardiovascular exercise because you are working on flexibility, and it keeps your joints healthy.

Plans for the future?

We opened up our Granite Bay branch, and want to expand into a national chain. We want to get the formula dialed in here in Chico and use that as a template to go national.