Work up a Sweat at Bion Hot Yoga Studio
With the deep of winter fast approaching, staying warm is undoubtedly on top of everyone's list and if you're a yoga fan, you can't go wrong with a trip to a hot yoga studio. I've always found going into a heated room for 60 minutes and doing various postures a little daunting, but with temperatures starting to fall and the air getting drier, some gentle exercise and basic stretching in an extremely hot room suddenly seemed very tempting.
Nestled slightly far from the main shops and restaurants at Hatsudai’s Opera City, there’s no suggestion of anything special happening at Bion Yoga Studio, except for the quietly confident iridescent glow above the studio’s signage and an impressive wall of foliage right next to the main entrance.
Walk in and you can tell that this is a studio that’s cozy and friendly. Although there isn’t much space at the entrance and front desk, its simple beige tones feel warm and relaxed. Everyone seems to be chilled out too, as they welcome you and ask you to sign in. There’s a very small section opposite the front desk that sells yoga wear, small towels and bottles of water.
The changing rooms strike a nice balance between chic styling and simple practicality. There are six shower cubicles containing body soap, shampoo, conditioner and facial wash, as well as a long dressing table with huge mirrors, hair dryers, toner and moisturizer. The studio itself is lit to a candle glow with a rich dark floor and huge mirrors.
In fact, the selling point of Bion Yoga Studio is that the studio’s floor is made from thirty different lava stone plates from Mt. Fuji, which treat the body with infrared effects and minerals. This is said to facilitate blood circulation, gradually raise body temperature and increase perspiration. The studio is also heated with water vapor, which apparently makes it easy to breathe and move during class.
I’ve never been sure about hot yoga because I practice ashtanga yoga from time to time and find it, well, hot enough! Because this was my first time at a hot yoga studio, I wanted something basic and gentle where I could get used to the heat, so I chose a one-hour Pilates class. We began with a gentle warm up and basic stretches before moving on to the more conventional poses at a slower pace than a normal class. There were also a lot of breaks to drink water, and those who wanted to could leave the studio and sit in the changing rooms for a couple of minutes to get some fresher air. The teacher worked the room very well and was attentive to everyone. I felt like I’d had a decent workout, and my skin felt extra smooth. The heat certainly made the class more challenging at times, but it was very relaxing and my muscles felt looser, perhaps due to the warm studio. I also liked the rosy tint on my cheeks as opposed to the bright red face that I usually get after running!
Bion Yoga Studio offers a range of lessons that incorporate simple poses and stretches. Classes include Yoga Detox, Stretch and Beauty, Yoga Relax, Yoga Shape, and Pilates. There’s also a class based on ballet moves and another where you can try the hula dance.
Classes are available as drop-in lessons (¥3,400) and there are also economical packs of three, five, ten or twenty (¥9,690, ¥15,300, ¥28,900 and ¥54,400 respectively). Trial lessons are ¥1,000. Wear something that’s comfortable and easy to move in and bring lots of water. Towels (bath towels and smaller ones) are provided for free, one of which will be used as a yoga mat during the class.
Bion Yoga Studio is a great place with an interesting range of classes. It will definitely be a regular fixture on my yoga calendar this winter, and there is also a studio in Harajuku—go try it!
Address: 1F Tokyo Opera City, 3-20-2 Nishi Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Open: Mon–Wed, Fri, 8:30 a.m.–11:30 p.m.; Thu, 7 a.m.–11:30 p.m.; Sat, and the second and fourth Sun of the month, 10 a.m.–8 p.m.; closed on the first, third and fifth Sun of the month, and public holidays