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Best Fitness Schenectady Adds Hot Yoga Studio to Gym

Variety is the spice of life and the key to getting a better workout in. At least that’s what Best Fitness in Schenectady’s Crosstown Plaza is banking on. Last month, the business added a hot yoga studio to its gym, a first in the Capital Region.

“The average person has 2.5 gym memberships,” said Eric Taylor, director of sales and operations for Best Fitness. Thus, Best Fitness decided to bring the boutique hot yoga studio feel into its big box gym.

Sabrina Bonaiuto, one of the yoga instructors, said that a lot of members who have taken her classes would never have even tried yoga if it weren’t offered at Best Fitness. Indeed, more and more people across the country are trying out some form of yoga. According to studies done by the Yoga Alliance and Yoga Journal, 20.4 million Americans were practicing yoga in 2012, and by 2016 that number had jumped to 36 million. The study also showed that people who practiced yoga were much more likely to be active in another form of exercise, such as running, weightlifting or swimming. “It should complement other practices,” Taylor said.

Most people who have taken the hot yoga classes at Best Fitness started out maybe doing cardio or weightlifting there. But Bonaiuto said that hot yoga can enhance those other practices. “It increases your range of motion,” Bonaiuto said. Hot yoga helps people better stretch out their muscles, which can become tense when doing the same exercises time and time again.

The 11 classes offered are Vinyasa flow classes. Vinyasa (which translates to “arranging something in a special way”) is a common form of yoga, incorporating poses like downward-facing dog, Chaturanga, and upward-facing dog. The added heat turns up the intensity of a normal vinyasa class, and people often burn a much higher number of calories in the hot vinyasa classes (some 60-minute classes burn over 500 calories).

“[It also] allows for more of a mental release,” Bonaiuto said of the workout in a studio that is heated to more than 90 degrees. So far, around 20 percent of Best Fitness members have tried it out.

“People become obsessed with it,” Taylor said. While there are plenty of other hot yoga studios in the area, Taylor said that most don’t offer child care. “Even a stay-at-home mom can [attend],” Taylor said. Not all studios offer showers either. That can also help stay-at-home moms and dads, because after a hot yoga class showering is nothing short of mandatory.

Taylor hopes to expand the class schedule, with a variety of classes and times. But that all depends on how many people try it out. Best Fitness doesn’t offer drop-in rates, so only members are allowed to take classes, and Taylor said the cost depends on the membership.

But adding the hot yoga studio is meant to eliminate the need for people to go to several other gyms and fitness studios to get their workouts in.

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