The Ground Floor: New business almost ready to get Cedar Rapids' yogis sweating

Studio's classes are first of its kind in city

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Yogis in Cedar Rapids can stop sweating — or perhaps start sweating — the need for a local studio committed to the Bikram discipline.

The city’s first hot yoga studio and spa is preparing to open its doors by the end of November.

“I have been hearing for quite some time, and I myself have been upset, that there’s not a place in town to do hot yoga,” said Heat Yoga owner Beth McClelland.

McClelland decided to act on this potential demand after learning in September 2010 that she would be among those laid off from Principal Financial, where she worked in the medical insurance division. The Mechanicsville native didn’t lose her job right away, giving her time to put together a business model and devise a plan to make it happen.

“I was one of the last people to go,” she said. “It was nice to have some income while I got prepared to open this up.”

By the time McClelland left Principal in April 2012, she'd had time to complete her yoga teacher training in Iowa City and recruit four more instructors, two massage therapists and one person who specializes in aesthetics to work in her Heat Yoga Studio and Spa.

It was during her teacher training at Iowa City’s Hot House Yoga that McClelland said she got the reassurance she needed to move forward as a new business owner.

“I fell in love with it,” she recalled. “My husband and I had been hearing about the desire for one in town, and we felt it was the perfect opportunity to do it. I knew I didn’t want to sit at a desk anymore and answer a phone all day.”

The world of fitness and business ownership wasn’t totally foreign to McClelland, whose husband, Ken, owns Anvil Gym in Cedar Rapids. The small personal-training gym on Oakland Road NE has helped to forge a relationship between the couple and the fitness community, McClelland said.

But, she said, a crossover in some of its membership will be about all the two facilities will have in common.

“The moods are completely different,” McClelland said, addressing questions about possibly sharing space with her husband’s gym.

“Yoga is more relaxed and quiet. There is grunting and dropping weights in his gym — it can get intense in there.  I didn’t want to scare anyone away.”

McClelland took possession of her space at 3607 First Ave. SE in August. Construction hangups, she said, have pushed the open date to late November.

Regarding future clients, McClelland said, almost anyone — except, perhaps, pregnant women — can safely practice the style of yoga that takes place in a room heated to about 105 degrees, with a humidity level of 40 percent.

“People outside fitness circles are talking about it,” McClelland said. “They want to try it. They’ve heard a lot of buzz about it.”

Benefits of hot yoga include detoxification and increased circulation.

“With the heat, it creates a fluid stretch that helps you avoid injury,” McClelland said. “It dilates your capillaries, and once they’re dilated, your body can carry more oxygen to organs and tissues.”

When the studio opens, McClelland said, she plans to offer three classes every day, Monday through Thursday, two classes on Fridays and Saturdays and one to two on Sundays. Heat Yoga also will offer massages, facials, waxing and other spa treatments.

“In the future, we will do a hot Pilates and ballet bar,” she said, adding that she’d also like to expand her yoga offerings by  recruiting more instructors.

“It’s hard for someone to be in the hot room for a large amount of time in a day.”

Owner: Beth McClelland

Company: Heat Yoga Studio and Spa

Address: 3607 1st Ave. SE, #C, Cedar Rapids

Phone: (319) 804-9642


Hours: Class times to be determined.

Favorite yoga pose: “I like standing bow. It’s a balance posture. It’s beautiful to look at, and it feels so strong.”


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