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When Jaine Gitelman built her studio from the ground up, she made a conscious decision to ban mirrors from the practice room. Without them, she reasoned, her students would be less likely to distract themselves by comparing their progress to that of others. The two tenets embodied in that rationale—concentration and non-competition—are central to Hot Spot Yoga. In addition to banishing mirrors in her yoga rooms, she flouts traditional hierarchy in favor of Vinyasa classes that remain open to all levels. “There’s no such thing as beginner, intermediate, and advanced in yoga,” Gitelman explains. To her, the key is to modify poses according to each student’s comfort and abilities.
Though the studio’s classes may be welcoming, they’re still challenging. Up to 100 degrees of heat force students to test their physical limits as instructors flow swiftly through sustained poses. With hundreds of Vinyasa poses to choose from, instructors make sure to never repeat and to take suggestions from students who wish to experiment with a new pose. They’re also happy to just let students sit and meditate on the view from the studio’s window, which looks out on distant skyscrapers and a canal filled with bathing Godzillas.