Hot yoga lovers congregate at SWEAT Power Yoga for more than the 95-degree-heated sessions—at SWEAT, they also find inner peace, self empowerment, and community.
SWEAT Power Yoga celebrated its fifth anniversary on June 18th, and owner Krystal Say couldn’t be more energized about the community that has grown over those five years.
Based in East Longmeadow, SWEAT Power Yoga is perhaps one of the most welcoming yoga studios I have ever stepped foot in. It also happens to be one of the only studios that offers hot yoga—at a balmy and satisfying 95-degrees—in the immediate Springfield area. Believe me, finding a hot yoga studio was top-of-mind when I moved from Boston in 2019.
It seems SWEAT is the kind of place that gathers the seekers, in fact.
It features a list of diverse and ever-changing programming that even keeps the adventurous yogi on her toes. At the core, SWEAT offers Vinyasa yoga sessions. Vinyasa yoga, also known as Power yoga, is fast-paced style of yoga that incorporates strength and endurance training alongside stretching and breathing work. But these 60-minute sessions are just the beginning.
The studio offers TRX yoga, prenatal yoga, introductory Vinyasa, meditation, and outdoor yoga at Leahy Field—just a hop-skip down the road from the studio—among other offerings. This fall, Say is also leading a 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training (September 10-December 19), in which she hopes participants “acquire the tools to live life on purpose, to lead the life of their dreams,” she says. “We’re not just certifying yoga teachers. We’re showing them the Bigger picture, the why of their practice. Everyone will leave with a brand new perspective of what their practice gives them access to.”
Say says the studio is in a growing phase and will begin adding new offerings to its schedule, everything from Pranayama breathing and myofascial rolling to Restorative Yin yoga and more meditation sessions.
If you’re a seeker, you might just find what you’re looking for at SWEAT Power Yoga. And you might just find more than what you’re seeking—you may find an inner peace, an outer confidence, and an embracing community you didn’t know was waiting for you. I certainly did.
Say, herself, is a seeker, too. She co-founded SWEAT out of a journey into her own power, one could say.
Say became a Certified Yoga Instructor in 2014 after realizing her fitness career was missing something. She had received her B.S. in Exercise Science at the University of Southern Maine, developed her own fitness programs, and found a fruitful career as a personal trainer at a health club. After adding group exercise to her repertoire, she realized she loved inspiring people and seeing the difference between walking in and walking out. But still, something was missing, Say says.
“People are stuck in this sense of ‘I have to exercise because, fill in the blank,” Say says. “It can be vanity, recovery from an injury, or ‘my doctor told me so,’ but that still wasn’t deep enough for me. I knew there was something more.”
That’s when Say discovered Vinyasa yoga, known as Power yoga.
“When I found yoga, I found Vinyasa yoga, Power yoga,” Say says. “It was everything I loved from my Exercise Science degree. I dissected every pose. The way it connects the mental body to the physical body and the spiritual body is everything I didn’t know I was looking for. That created the holistic approach.”
Holistic. Whole. That’s how you feel walking out of a SWEAT session. No matter the mindset or problem you walk in with, it’s left on the mat by the end of class. All that’s left are smiling, sweaty faces, walking out together, empowered.
“Above all, the SWEAT community is welcoming,” says Say. “It’s a physical practice—it could be intimating. But it’s not. From teachers welcoming students to students welcoming other students, people are out of their heads and really here in the space, engaging. Everyone is meant to be themselves, and no classes are alike. Teachers may teach similar poses, but they show up as themselves, and that gives permission to everybody else to be themselves, too.”
Whether you’re working through tough times or celebrating victories, Say says you’re welcome as you are. So, stop on by sometime.
Krystal’s Local Recommendations
As one might expect, Say likes to stay active and healthy. From hiking and biking to eating some of the most nourishing food in the Pioneer Valley, you can find Say summiting mountains, exploring trails, and downing oysters and top-grade EVOO. Here are a handful of her favorite spots in the region:
- Peaked Mountain, with its 1,227-foot summit and 2,000 acres of nature reserve in Monson, is home to some of Say’s favorite trails, including Miller Forest Tract, which encircles Lunden Pond, home of beavers, herons, and other wildlife.
- Rice Fruit Farm in Wilbraham offers another opportunity for family fun and hiking. Grab a cone of homemade ice cream—voted as the #1 MassLive Best of Mass Ice Cream in 2018—and then enter the RIce Nature Preserve from Highmoore Dr, for its 1.3 mile hike up to Sunrise Peak.
- The Connecticut River Walk and Bikeway offers 5.4 miles of paved trail along the Connecticut River, from the Chicopee town line to the South End Bridge in Springfield for 3.7 miles, and across the bridge in Agawam, southward for an additional 1.7 miles. It will, one day, span 21 miles along the river, including trails in Chicopee, Holyoke, and West Springfield. Enjoy easy cycling, jogging, rollerblading, or strolling with scenic overlooks, urban promenades, and picnic areas.
- Forest Park is another opportunity to get outside. Enjoy the paved or natural trails and find plenty of wildlife in the ponds and lakes, or stroll through the aquatic gardens to find frogs and tadpoles. Visit the zoo, host a picnic, or stop by the Farmer’s Market, which takes place every Tuesday from 12:30-6:00 p.m. every Tuesday.
- Continuum Performance Center is “like a playground for adults,” Say says, with group classes, mobility work, personal coaching, TRX training, and a gym full of equipment. Continuum also offers an “Academy” for youth, whether athletes or not, to teach fitness, life skills, and nutrition.
- TRE Olive offers Italian olive oil from the Calabria region of Southern Italy, along with balsamic vinegars, spreads, olives, and other items. The family-owned business touts family groves back in Calabria, and Say says she goes to TRE for all of her cooking essentials, including olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
- Center Square Grill is a favorite stop for Say—she recommends biking there and stopping for oysters and a drink out on the patio. The restaurant has an extensive wine and cocktails list and offers all kinds of surf and turf options, as well as salads, tacos, pizza, and burgers.
- Auntie Cathie’s Kitchen in Agawam is great for breakfast, brunch, and catering, Say says. She is a big fan of “Sofia the Food Truck,” the Auntie Cathie’s Kitchen food truck, which like the cafe, offers gluten-free and vegan options. The food truck is also available for events, parties, weddings, and office lunches!
“We live in a vortex of amazing energy,” says Say. “There are no borders. When you walk into SWEAT or other local communities, you’ll find people from Northern Connecticut, Western Massachusetts, just people from all over, bringing an amazing collaborative energy.”
Say spoke of that collaborative energy as an opportunity. So, don’t miss yours—get out there and take advantage of our amazing region and community and all it has to offer!