HOT YOGA: Performing the poses in a heated room increases the benefits of regular yoga and also helps rid the body of toxins.

By Natalie Lariccia

CANFIELD — The weather outside was frigid, but the temperature inside the yoga studio at Studio Oxygen was a balmy 85 degrees.

Steamy air filled the studio and fogged up the windows as students poured out of the class. Their faces were flushed, yet they were energized after a rigorous hot-yoga class.

One of those students was Maureen Frost, a Boardman resident, who said hot yoga has helped change her life for the better in many ways.

“The biggest benefit for me has been a decrease in anxiety. It calms me down a little bit, and it helps keep that edge off,” she said.

Frost, a library assistant at the Ohio State Penitentiary in Youngstown, has been attending hot-yoga classes at Studio Oxygen since last March after a friend encouraged her to attend.

At the time, Frost’s son, Owen Waller, now five, had just finished chemotherapy to treat his leukemia, and she needed a calming release. Hot yoga hit the spot.

“It’s a very relaxing, chill environment. I enjoy the idea of sweating out whatever is going on. I feel lighter after doing the hot yoga class,” Frost said.

Nearly a year later, Owen is doing well, and he also attends children’s yoga classes.

What it is

Hot yoga involves doing a series of yoga poses in a heated room, and it offers increased benefits of regular yoga, including a greater range of motion, flexibility, strength and endurance. It also helps rid the body of toxins, said Marianne Hritz, yoga instructor and owner of Studio Oxygen.

A yoga instructor since 2002, Hritz opened Studio Oxygen in November 2006 and began teaching hot yoga because she wanted to bring a unique offering of yoga classes to the area, she said.

“The intensity is greater with hot yoga. For athletes, it improves their agility and balance. It increases everything they need for sports and strength, agility and balance,” she said.

Stephanie Porter, a physical therapist and Canfield resident who is eight- months pregnant with her first child, said Studio Oxygen’s hot-yoga classes have helped her maintain flexibility while pregnant. It also teaches her meditation and deep breathing techniques, which will be helpful during her delivery, she said.

Elaine Roshetsky, a retired Liberty resident, said hot yoga also has been a life-changing experience.

A Studio Oxygen student, Roshetsky said people have been telling her that she looks younger and that she’s lost weight since she began taking classes last June.

“It helps me sleep better at night, and it really helps me to get through tough situations. I think it’s done a world of good for me,” she said.

Just what the doctor ordered

Paula Caldwell, a retired Boardman resident, said her doctor recommends that she keep up her regular exercise and yoga routine to help slow her progression of Parkinson’s disease.

Diagnosed in May 2005, Caldwell is convinced that her dedication to fitness and yoga has helped keep the degenerative disorder of the central nervous system at bay.

“I take three different types of medication daily, and the fourth medication is exercise. The exercise helps to produce dopamine, which my body does not produce naturally with Parkinson’s. My doctor told me that I’d get to the point where I’d forget that I have it [Parkinson’s], and I really do,” Caldwell said.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter in the brain and is essential to the normal functioning of the central nervous system.

An avid stationary and outdoor bike rider, Caldwell does yoga four to five times a week at Studio Oxygen. Although Caldwell has tried hot yoga, she prefers regular yoga.

“Yoga’s the ticket, baby. My answer to most everything is yoga. It’s very beneficial, and I think it’s making a difference in my overall health,” she said.

Hritz, meanwhile, said hot yoga is one of the most popular classes at her studio, and she hopes the popularity continues to spread. Although hot yoga is popular in many other parts of the country, Studio Oxygen is one of the few area studios that teach hot yoga.

XFor more information about hot yoga at Studio Oxygen, visit or call (330) 702-9642.

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