Five hot facts about Friday night yoga at Hotshop

Hotshop instructor Brenna Snowdon and myself groove it out at a Yoga Vibe session.  

It was a Friday night and I was pulled over at a routine police checkstop on the way home. “Good evening. Have you had any alcohol tonight?” the cop asked. “Nope,” I responded. “Where are you coming from?” he inquired. “Yoga Vibe at Hotshop,” I triumphantly announced.

Yes, I was doing yoga on a Friday night and it was hot. I was wearing nothing but little shorts in a dimly lit heated room, surrounded by yogis practicing their vinyasas to the chill electro beats of a live DJ. We were all getting our groove and sweat on as part of Hotshop’s Yoga Vibe karma class, which takes place every Friday night from 7:45-9:00 p.m. at the Victoria Park studio.

“For 75 minutes, you get to shut out the world. It’s just you, your yoga mat and the DJ’s beats,” says instructor, Brenna Snowdon.

Intrigued? You should be. Yoga Vibe is an amazing workout for your body and mind, and the environment is super chill and relaxed. Plus, it won’t hurt your pocketbook. It’s a karma class, so entrance is by a minimum donation of $5.

And if all that isn’t enough to get your chaturanga going, here are five sizzling facts about Hotshop’s Yoga Vibe class that will get you downward dogging to the studio:

1)    Hate doing abs series at the end of the class? In Yoga Vibe, you get it over with right away.

If you’re like me, you dread doing the abs series at the end of a hot yoga class. Rarely am I able to really give it my all and get a proper ab workout, since I’m all sweaty and tired. I end up compensating and using my back muscles a lot of the time.

Snowdon understands this and that’s why she does abs series at the beginning of class, when you’re still fresh. “I find that when I do it at the beginning of class, it helps everyone activate their core muscles right away. This is great, because then everyone remembers to engage their core throughout the entire class.”

Makes sense, right?

2)    Each class is custom designed to its yogis.

“I don’t plan my classes ahead of time, I cater them to my students,” says Snowdon. “You never know what your students may need more time with, or what things they want to focus on, so I play it by ear to make sure everyone is getting the class that’s right for them.”

Snowdon isn’t the only one who caters to the needs of the yogis in the class. The DJ in the room also makes sure you’re getting the right support for your sun salutations.

When I took class, there were many instances where I’d be in challenging poses for extended amounts of time. The beat of the music helped take my mind off what I was doing and did wonders for helping me relax into poses.

“Music can really make or break a class,” says Snowdon. “If it’s distracting or you don’t like it, it’s going to really take away. But our awesome DJ’s, who are from Dirty Tones Entertainment and who volunteer their time to spin for us, adjust their music according to the class and it adds a nice touch.”

Scott, one of the DJs at Friday night Yoga Vibe. 

3)    All proceeds go to charity.

The funds collected from the $5 donation at the door (you can donate more if you’d like) are allocated to a number of rotating non-for-profit organizations. In the past, these charities have included organizations such as Give a Mile, Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre and Little Warriors.

“The Hotshop team are also always open to requests from other organizations to do fundraisers,” mentions Snowdon.

4)    You can sweat away your work week stress and start your weekend off on the right foot.

Let’s face it – it’s Friday night and Happy Hour may have hindered you from showing up for yoga. I’ve been there before. But the thing is, doing the Yoga Vibe class is an excellent way to end of your work week and sweat away whatever stress you’ve been holding onto.

Yoga helps to clear your mind, and doing it in a heated room also makes you sweat out your toxins – which helps give you a glowing, radiant complexion that you can show off on Saturday night, when you perhaps gain back some of those toxins.

Plus, you’re toning your body and gaining strength – both physically and mentally. You’ll wake up on Saturday morning feeling good and ready to make the most out of your weekend.

5)    Hotshop has three locations around the city.

If the Victoria Park studio isn’t in your neck of the woods, don’t worry. Hotshop’s Silverado and University locations also offer similar classes on Friday nights. Even though the Silverado and University locations don’t have live DJs in their Yoga Vibe classes, they still play wicked music. Plus, they also offer spin classes on their schedule throughout the week.

So this Friday night, why not put down that glass of wine (you can have it after yoga class as a reward) and grab your yoga mat instead. You’ll get to wind down from the work week and start your weekend off in warrior position.

Check out Hotshop’s website for information on yoga and spin classes at its various studios.

About the instructor

Brenna Snowdon was born and raised in Calgary, where she trained as a dancer in jazz, tap, ballet, lyrical, modern and hip hop. She left Calgary after high school to study at Dalhousie University in Halifax, before moving to Toronto, where she worked in purchasing for TJX Canada, the parent company of Winners, Home Sense and Marshalls.

While in Toronto, Snowdon started taking karma classes at Power Yoga Canada, where she met teachers that inspired her to go further. When she moved home to Calgary, she made the decision to seriously pursue yoga, including studying with Multi Style Yoga International in Costa Rica.

“At first, I took my yoga teacher training with no intention of actually teaching. I just wanted to deepen my own practice and go to Costa Rica for a month,” confesses Brenna. “But when I was there, I realized how much I love teaching and I’m so glad I discovered this passion. It’s so rewarding to see students ‘get it’.”

Snowdon now teaches a number of classes every week at each of Hotshop’s three locations. But on Friday nights, she has an ongoing date – with everyone who comes out to Yoga Vibe at the Victoria Park studio.