More on Healthy Heat

Back in September, when I was designing the heating system for Turbo 26, I wrote a blog about the importance of “healthy heat”. Now that we are open and practicing, I’d like to tell you a bit more about how our amazing state-of-the-art system works. Turbo 26 Studio is the only facility in the entire Bay Area with this technology – fitting for Silicon Valley – Turbo 26 is innovative!

Have you ever been in a yoga class and it's stuffy? Sometimes downright stinky? Yuck!

Turbo 26 Studio provides the cleanest, most efficient environment for our yogis to practice in. We pump fresh, oxygenated, and humid air that is disinfected from harmful germs and bacteria. No matter how many yogis are in the studio, you can always breathe easy! And let’s face it, breath is fundamentally at the core of any yoga practice.

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When we breathe in oxygen, it flows to our bloodstream and helps us maximize the benefits of our yoga practice. Breathing slowly and deeply through the nose builds internal heat that ignites our focus and increases our endurance. It helps us stay calm in difficult or challenging poses, and it helps us stay in the moment with mindfulness and presence. The transformative power of yoga is unlocked when we match breath to movement in a fully integrated fashion.

How does breathing work?

Humans take a breath every few seconds. You know the basics that we consume oxygen from the air we inhale and exhale carbon dioxide that is a byproduct of generating energy within our bodies. But there’s more to it than that. Breathing starts with the environment around us. The air we breathe in has a mixture of gasses including nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and oxygen, which is the most important element. The air we breathe out has the same elements, but about 16% less oxygen and 100 times more carbon dioxide.

How we breathe affects our energy level, especially under physical or emotional stress, which triggers our bodies to breathe more quickly. When we exercise, our muscles require more oxygen, so we breathe faster. This helps regulate our body temperature and keep going even when the going gets tough. 

Why is it hard to breathe in some hot yoga studios?

The healthy exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide is essential during periods of physical exertion, and is why breathing is so crucial to our yoga practice. While it’s pretty much impossible to run out of oxygen, it is possible to feel the effects when our bodies don’t get enough oxygen. The nutrients available decrease and toxins build up in the blood, slowing us down. The quality and quantity of oxygen we breathe in is critical to maximizing our physical performance. In a closed off room full of sweating yogis, there can literally be a lack of oxygen – not enough fresh air to breathe. It’s hot, but the balance of oxygen to carbon dioxide is not optimized. 

Most hot yoga studios provide heat via a furnace. A furnace works by blowing heated air through ducts that deliver warm air via air registers or grills. Inside a gas- or oil-fired furnace, the fuel is mixed with air and burned. Dangerous gasses and particles that don’t escape through the flue, particularly carbon monoxide, can enter the room. Especially in yoga studios with poor ventilation, the combination of gas byproducts, pollutants, and the lack of freshly oxygenated air can cause negative health effects such as eye and respiratory irritation, persistent coughing, headaches, fatigue, and dizziness. 

It’s not just the heat; it’s the humidity! Most hot yoga studios provide humidity by using isolated humidifier machines and augmenting that with the sweat of bodies in the room. Optimal humidity for healthful respiration is around 40 percent, but some yoga studios let the levels soar to a very uncomfortable 80 or even 90 percent, with no way to remove excess humidity in the air. Overly hot and humid conditions can cause an increased heart rate and less blood going to our muscles because the blood is also working to cool down our bodies. We can easily become overheated and lethargic, and the health benefits of our yoga practice are greatly reduced.

Why not provide the optimal environment in which to maximize the benefits of our yoga practice?

How is Turbo 26 different?

At Turbo 26, we have invested in the health of our yogis by installing a state-of-the-art system that provides fresh oxygenated air, optimal humidity, and a purified environment. Turbo 26 might just be the cleanest, freshest, healthiest air you will breathe all day! We call it Healthy Heat.

  • Number One: We use a boiler to heat the air, not a furnace. Our boiler heats the air using nothing but fresh clean water – no gasses, no byproducts, no particles escaping into the studio. The air is hot and clean and perfectly distributed throughout the room. No drafty areas or hot spots. We heat to 98 degrees, which is very close to body temperature, and is optimal for a heated yoga practice. Our bodies acclimate easily and become fluid and flexible without increased risk of injury.
  • Number Two: Our system monitors the oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the air. It adds freshly oxygenated air and removes excess carbon dioxide, so the ratios are always optimized. When the CO2 monitor detects an unfavorable change in the quality of the air such that too much CO2 has been emitted into the room from all of the yoga participants, it automatically pulls in fresh, filtered air in from the outside. Then adds it to the stream of purified air that gets pumped back into the room, until the levels return to normal.
  • Number Three: Our studio also regulates the humidity levels with purified steam that is built into the system. It removes excess humidity when too high and adds moisture when too dry. We like to practice at 30 to 40 percent humidity, and our studio is always just right!
  • Number Four: All of the air in our studio is circulated to pass over ultraviolet lights and through a filtration system. This method of sterilization disinfects the air, making it 99.98% free of bacteria, viruses, molds, and other pathogens. Our technology provides an energy effective, environmentally-friendly and a chemical-free way to eradicate dangerous microorganisms in our studio. The result is fresh air that doesn’t smell and is not full of harmful bacteria.

The benefits of practicing yoga in our Healthy Heat environment are enormous. We can all breathe easy knowing that every mindful breath we take at Turbo 26 is the cleanest, purest, healthiest air available. We offer this to you, our yogis, in the hopes that you love it and come to your mat whenever you can find 26 minutes to do something amazing for yourself. You can’t pour from an empty cup. Take care of yourself first.

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Joanna Meiseles is the founder of Turbo 26 Studio, a new concept in yoga at the Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto, California. Turbo 26 offers fast-flow heated yoga classes in 26-minute stackable intervals. Designed to deliver inspiring fitness-focused classes, Turbo 26 is demystifying yoga and making the benefits accessible to anyone willing to challenge their body and open their mind.

Prior to Turbo 26, Joanna created Snip-its, a franchised chain of hair salons for children. After building Snip-its to more than 60 locations in the US, Joanna put her skill and franchise expertise to work as a strategy consultant at iFranchise Group, the world's premier franchise consulting firm. A lifelong avid yogi, Joanna is now putting her energy into Turbo 26, a concept that she hopes to grow into a successful franchise across Northern California and then across the country.