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Downtown is new hot spot for yoga

August 26, 2014
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Seva Yoga members do yoga near Reeds Lake in East Grand Rapids. A second location will open downtown. Photo via

A hot yoga studio in downtown Grand Rapids is under new ownership and re-opening as Seva Yoga Monroe North.

Seva Yoga, the studio located at 2237 Wealthy St. SE in East Grand Rapids’ Gaslight Village, is adding a second location in downtown Grand Rapids with the recently purchased Yoga HEAT studio at 1140 Monroe Ave. NW. The location is between 1,600 and 1,700 square feet.

Currently open, the downtown hot yoga studio is scheduled to be closed over Labor Day weekend for redecorating purposes and will open in early September under the name Seva Yoga Monroe North. The deal closed last week.

Hot yoga is typically conducted in a 90-degree environment for those interested in increasing their flexibility using the heat and humidity. Yoga HEAT was previously owned by Elizabeth Sanders, an experienced registered yoga teacher, and friend of Seva Yoga co-owner Melissa Tungl.

With a growing interest in the type of classes offered in a hot yoga studio, the decision to open a second location that was specifically built and designated for hot yoga made sense, according to Tungl.

“It is something that we had been considering for a while,” she said. “We were definitely finding that there was a need to expand to offer hot yoga classes that are really popular, but it wasn’t an option at our current Gaslight studio because of the way the studio was built. There are a lot of people that don’t like hot yoga classes … so we really have something for everyone.”

While closed over the holiday weekend for minor renovations, Tungl said redecorating will continue to take place over the course of the next month to alter the cosmetics to match the Seva Yoga brand. Tungl and her husband Tobi Tungl, co-owner of Seva Yoga, are working with a designer to change the look and feel of the facility.

“We’re working on putting in a floor that is specifically made for hot yoga studios,” said Tungl. “It is anti-smell, anti-slip and it is a little more cushion for your joints. That is one of the things we’re doing that is really going to make us different from a lot of other places.”

Despite the change in ownership, Tungl said instructors, teaching styles, and a lot of the classes will remain the same at the downtown Grand Rapids hot yoga studio. With 10 instructors at the Monroe facility and nine teachers in the Gaslight Village studio, Seva Yoga will have a total of 19 instructors teaching approximately 60 classes each week at the two locations.

“The student experience isn’t going to change a whole lot,” said Tungl. “I know that they are used to having their favorite teachers and their favorite classes, and it will stay that way.”

In the future, Tungl said Seva Yoga is hoping to transition support staff from East Grand Rapids to the Monroe facility and hire additional desk staff. Sanders decided to sell the hot yoga studio to focus on yoga practice and teaching, and is anticipated to remain on staff for the time being to ensure a smooth transition, according to a press release.

“I trust Tobi and Melissa to be good stewards of Yoga HEAT,” said Sanders. “The two locations will give students better access to a community where they can deepen and enhance their yoga practice.”

Originally opened in 2006, Seva Yoga was purchased by the Tungls in 2012 and features a retail store at the Gaslight Village location. The yoga studio offers yoga classes at different levels, from introductory to advanced.

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