Class at Hot Yoga Ahwatukee on Friday, Jan. 11, 2013.

[David Jolkovski/AFN]

For years yoga has been a way to escape the pressures of life for Sandra Lassiter, but three years ago she made yoga a way of life by opening Hot Yoga in Ahwatukee Foothills.

For Lassiter, a love of yoga began in 1995. At the time she began taking a class once a week in Tempe at a healing center. The class was meant to be a stress reliever for Lassiter to forget about her career in the corporate world.

“As I was taking on more in my career my yoga practice became more prominent,” she said. “Even though it started as supplementing my other activities, as my career evolved and yoga evolved they came together and it became more of what I do that I supplement with other stuff.”

In 1998 Lassiter began practicing yoga at an official yoga studio.

“When I walked into a real yoga studio, that was when the idea was born,” she said. “I knew this was what I wanted to do one day. I wasn’t in a position to do it back then, didn’t want to do it back then because I enjoyed my career, but I had a Plan B for what I wanted to do next. I had that Plan B for 10 years.”

The right time to act came in 2010. By then Lassiter had discovered hot yoga and was practicing multiple times a week. She’d reached a point in her career where she was ready to try something new so she took a chance and opened her own studio.

“I wanted to share it (yoga) with other people,” she said. “I wanted to share this with my community as opposed to getting into my car and driving to another neighborhood to sit in an office and work on PowerPoints all day.”

Three years after opening, Hot Yoga Ahwatukee continues to grow. Lassiter is certified to teach classes, but said recently she’s been able to remove herself from teaching in order to focus more fully on the business. She regularly conducts surveys among clients to adjust the class schedule and add more times or variety. Looking back she says she feels relief that it all worked out. Looking forward, she feels optimistic.

Lassiter estimates hot yoga is probably the fastest growing form of yoga in the U.S. The room is heated to 101 degrees with 40 to 45 percent humidity. Yoga traditionally is meant to bring the mind and body into harmony. Lassiter says practicing in a heated room helps that process.

“A heated and humidified room is therapy and then you add yoga to it,” she said. “You’re going to heal injury, prevent injury, you’re going to get a better cardio workout because working out in a heated and humidified room increases your heart rate. It requires you to stay more focused because you’re in a challenging environment. You really have to focus on your breathing and keep your mind centered. The mental aspect is very strong.”

While heated yoga is challenging, Lassiter said each class at Hot Yoga Ahwatukee is perfect for all levels of experience. For beginners or newcomers to the studio, Lassiter offers two weeks of unlimited yoga for $25. After that, she offers discounts and monthly unlimited memberships.

The studio is open seven days a week and offers hot yoga, hot vinyasa flow, warm yin stretching classes and hot yin/yang yoga. For more information, including a class schedule, visit or call (480) 786-8124. The studio is located inside Mountainside Plaza at 4025 E. Chandler Blvd., Suite 22.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7914 or

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