Body Wise: The Hot Room

Bikram yoga stretches physical and mental limits.

Downtown’s yogi crowd can take a nice, long exhale. The area finally has its first studio devoted to the Bikram brand of heated practice, aptly named The Hot Room. This renowned form, known as the original hot yoga, gained a global following in the 1970s when yogi Bikram Choudhury combined a series of positions with heat to alleviate his knee pain. Hot Room owner Hye Jin Kalgaonkar (pictured) became a believer when she reaped similar benefits as a student in New York, prompting her to get her teaching license. That’s why when Kalgaonkar discovered after moving here that Indy lacked a Bikram option, she didn’t meditate long before opening The Hot Room’s northside location in 2013. Last fall, Kalgaonkar and her husband started the downtown outpost, cleverly located in a former firestation that gives off an urban-zen vibe with exposed brick. But why the demand for Bikram? The sessions, uniquely designed to heal, involve 26 poses and two breathing exercises completed in a 105-degree room with 40 percent humidity; it’s engineered to stay at that temp to increase flexibility and decrease the risk for injury. The postures are accessible because Bikram is performed slowly and taught with specific instructions, which means no human pretzels in class (Can we get an om-en?). There’s also a mental advantage to the heat: resilience. “If you can be comfortable in an uncomfortable environment, you go into the world and stressful situations don’t bother you as much,” Kalgaonkar says. “It changes the way you live.”


305 E. New York St., 955-3123,