The last year or so has been a long, hard road for many businesses. Although challenging, Greater Fergus Falls couldn’t be more proud of the creativity and resiliency the Fergus Falls business community has shown. Closing a business, whether temporarily or permanently, is never easy. Yet, our business leaders have managed to find ways to overcome the numerous obstacles they’ve faced since the onset of the pandemic.
In honor of that resiliency, we want to highlight a local business that recently reopened its doors for the first time in a year: Namaste Hot. Keep reading to find out more about owner Jenna Johnson and Namaste Hot’s road to recovery.
For the Love of Yoga
Jenna Johnson started practicing yoga back in 2009 and quickly became hooked. “Yoga has definitely enhanced my life,” says Johnson. “I believe that regardless of age, weight, fitness level, or experience, wherever you are, yoga will meet you there.”
Johnson developed such a deep appreciation for yoga that she decided to pursue it as a career. She’s earned certifications as an Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher (E-RYT) and a Yoga Alliance Continuing Education Provider (YACP) through the Yoga Alliance. She is also a certified personal trainer and yoga instructor through the National Exercise and Sports Trainer Association (NESTA).
In 2014, she and her family moved to Fergus Falls from Grand Forks, ND. Two years later, she decided it was time to share her love of yoga with the Fergus Falls Community. So, she opened Namaste Hot in downtown Fergus Falls in June of 2016.
Namaste Hot is an infrared heated hot yoga studio that primarily practices a yoga style called Vinyasa. This style of yoga, which is pronounced Vin-Ya-Sah, means “to move with breath” and is one of the most popular yoga styles in the West. Namaste Hot offers two types of Vinyasa classes: Vinyasa Flow and Rise and Shine Yoga.
“In [these] classes, you will flow through strong sequences of traditional sun salutations and standing postures, linking breath to movement while building strength and endurance as you push the edge of your balance and flexibility,” Johnson explains.
Namaste Hot also offers stretch classes, which are meant to increase joint circulation and improve flexibility. The movements are slower than those in the Vinyasa classes and are designed to target deep connective tissues between the muscles and fascia.
Johnson strives to make yoga accessible for everyone, regardless of their skill level. “No matter which class you come to, know that they are adaptable for all levels,” she says. “Your comfort and well-being are our top priority. You will leave class a little sweaty, but you will also leave feeling refreshed and energized, ready to tackle life!”
A Study in Perseverance
Like many other businesses, Namaste Hot faced some significant challenges during the coronavirus pandemic. Gyms and fitness studios were hit incredibly hard by government shutdowns. Many were forced to close their doors for the unforeseeable future. However, Johnson initially found a way to continue to serve friends and family with online classes.
While some restrictions eventually eased up for gyms and fitness studios, there were still plenty of obstacles to overcome. Many were hindered by social distancing guidelines, which limited the number of people that could attend classes. Mandatory mask mandates also posed a challenge, especially for fitness locations like Namaste Hot. Johnson, like so many others, had to make a tough decision.
“By August of 2020, we had to close our doors,” she recalls. “There was just no way we could maintain a healthy hot yoga community; wearing masks in a hot class and limited, very small class sizes just wasn’t feasible. It was an emotional journey to say the least.”
The future of Namaste Hot remained uncertain for quite some time. Johnson wasn’t sure the yoga studio could recover from the pandemic-induced shutdown. But, she found a way to persevere. After a year-long hiatus, Namaste Hot reopened its doors on August 1, 2021.
Creating a Healthier Community
For Johnson and much of the community, the reopening couldn’t come soon enough. Although things have improved over the last few months, many of us still carry the stress of the pandemic. Johnson hopes Namaste Hot’s classes will bring even more value to the community by helping combat the mental and physical ailments imposed by the past year.
Studies show that yoga can significantly improve an individual’s well-being. According to Psychology Today, “Yoga increases body awareness, relieves stress, reduces muscle tension, strain, and inflammation, sharpens attention and concentration, and calms and centers the nervous system.” It’s also been shown to improve symptoms of depression and sleep disorders, among other things.
Whether you’re an experienced yogi or completely new to the practice, Johnson hopes to see you in class. Beginners may feel intimidated at first, but that feeling won’t last long. “Our classes are designed to meet you where you are,” Johnson notes. “Our motto is ‘Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can. Get on your mat!’ Starting is always the hardest part, but everyone starts somewhere.”
Whether the wins are big or small, our team at Greater Fergus Falls loves to celebrate the success of our business community. In the case of Namaste Hot, we’re definitely calling this a big win! Congrats to Johnson and the Namaste Hot team on your reopening!
Special thanks to Johnson for sharing her story with our team. To learn more about Namaste Hot or sign up for a class, click here. You can also find the latest news and updates by following along on Facebook.