Two women stand in "tree pose" at the front of their yoga studio.
Brooke Hedrick (right) and Ashley Hedrick (left) stand in tree pose at the front of their studio, Down Dog Yoga & Lifestyle Studio.

ONTARIO — Brooke Hedrick says yoga is one of the few activities she can do to calm down after a long day.

“Ashley and I are both very ‘go-go-go,’ and we found yoga to be very relaxing,” she said about her twin sister, Ashley Hedrick.

The pair are opening Down Dog Yoga & Lifestyle Studio in the Ontario Plaza together. It will host 90º hot yoga classes and 80-90º heated yoga classes.

The studio has infrared ceiling panels and two humidifiers. It also has a locker room, changing stations, a bathroom and a water cooler.

Brooke and Ashley are both YogaRenew certified instructors who grew up in Lexington. The sisters each have day jobs but are scheduling classes around their work schedules.

“We’re in the right stage of our lives where we can commit to this,” Brooke said.

Ashley, who works at North Central State College, said she wanted a closer studio than Yoga 419 in Lexington.

“I love Yoga 419, but it’s a bit of a drive, so we tried to look somewhere in the middle,” she said. 

The sisters said renovations took a little more than three months in the former Jian Massage. The studio floor has space for 16 mats.

The Hedricks are currently offering a few hour-long classes each day Monday through Saturday.

Customers can manage their classes through Zen Planner and view the schedule online. One class costs $10, or the studio offers packages for up to 12 classes that don’t expire.

“Our first classes were a lot of fun,” Ashley Hedrick said. “We had friends and family come try it for our soft opening.

“We’ll start off easy, because I don’t think a lot of people in this area have done hot and heated classes before. If you’ve done regular yoga before, it shouldn’t be difficult.”

Studio will display dogs available for adoption

Ashley recommended everyone taking a class bring a hand towel or yoga towel, water bottle and yoga mat. The studio also has some yoga mats, blocks and resistance bands to borrow, which are sanitized after each use.

Brooke said she recommends people wear whatever they’re comfortable in.

“I’ve seen men and women wear everything from biker shorts to sweatpants,” she said. “I usually wear yoga pants and a tank top. Or if it’s cold outside, I’l keep a sweatshirt on and take it off halfway through.”

Once the studio can hire additional teachers, Brooke said it could offer regular, non-heated classes too. One or both of the sisters will lead classes from the front of the classroom.

“When I first did yoga, I thought it was annoying to have to keep looking up at the teacher to make sure I was doing the poses right, but after a few classes, you get the hang of it,” Ashley Hedrick said. 

“Everyone’s posture will look a bit different, so listen to your body. If you’re not feeling well, lay down or do a child’s pose.”

The name “Down Dog” alludes to the yoga pose, but also to animal care, a passion for both Hedrick sisters.

“We both volunteered at the humane society in high school, and want to help those dogs get adopted,” Ashley said. “Once we get profitable, we want to give part of that to the Humane Society, or do certain classes where all proceeds go to them.”

The studio will also display a Humane Society dog available for adoption at their entrance. 

What are the benefits of hot yoga?

According to the Cleveland Clinic, potential benefits of hot yoga include increased flexibility, weight loss and reduced joint pain.

Potential cons can be risk of dehydration or dizziness. The practice isn’t suggested for pregnant people, those with a heart condition or breathing problems such as asthma.

Down Dog Yoga & Lifestyle Studio has a beginner’s guide online for people new to the practice.

“We also have a yoga basics class on Saturday mornings with slow movements to ease into it,” Ashley said. 

Down Dog Yoga & Lifestyle Studio is located at 2230 Stumbo Road South nextdoor to the former Brass Hanger Cleaners. 

Their monthly membership is $65 for unlimited classes each month. Through Nov. 19, new customers can get 50% one-class passes with the code DD50.

Interested customers can learn more at their website, Instagram @downdog_yoga_studio or Facebook.

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