Couple creates friendly atmosphere with hot setting at local yoga studio

Kelly Rice practices advanced yoga poses during the Hot Yoga Traditional/ Blend class on Jan. 23, 2019. This class welcomes all levels of yoga including beginners.

Julie Sisler

Few business owners are able to give background on each and every one of their clients. Even fewer business owners are greeted as “Mama” and “Daddy” by their clients. However, for Hot Yoga Bowling Green owners Tony and Anicie Bishop, this is the only way they could imagine running a business.

Hot Yoga Bowling Green, which has been voted “best place to do yoga in Bowling Green” in the Herald’s “Best of the Hill” seven years in a row, is going into its 13th year of business.

Hot yoga encompasses a variety of yoga styles, all of which are performed in hot, often humid, conditions. At Hot Yoga Bowling Green, this means taking classes in a dimly lit, humid room set to 90 degrees.

Hot Yoga Bowling Green features an array of classes Monday through Saturday, catering to different levels and interests. Tony and Anicie teach multiple classes every day, and there are also guest instructors on a regular basis.

“We have a staff made up of people from all professions, including nurses and even professors from WKU,” Anicie said.

Some classes focus on restoration, while others, like Anicie’s “Skinny Jeans” class, focus on certain exercises meant to strengthen and tone specific areas.

Tony said Hot Yoga Bowling Green focuses on the many benefits of yoga: physical, mental, spiritual and emotional.

“When you ask, ‘Why yoga?’ the answer is that yoga is everything,” Tony said. “You can gain so much from an hour of yoga. You’re working on so many different parts of yourself—your body, your mind, your soul.”

This sentiment is echoed in the testimonials of various customers, all of whom cite hot yoga as a way to improve themselves in various areas.

Customer Ashlee Tilford has been going to Hot Yoga Bowling Green for eight years and said it’s a full-body and mind exercise.

“A lot of people think yoga is sitting and meditating, but we leave exhausted yet invigorated and free from the stress of the day,” Tilford said.

Tilford said she leaves each session feeling like she’s bettered herself in a variety of ways.

Customer Carol Crowe and her daughter have been patrons for more than seven years, and they continue to enjoy sessions together.

“I’ve gotten a lot from hot yoga,” Crowe said. “It’s a way to stay fit, relax and learn to deal with stress. It’s also taught me how to breathe through difficult situations and remain calm.”

Anicie said she finds just as many benefits in hot yoga as her clients, but for her, the best part of the business is connecting with the clients.

“The people are really my favorite part,” Anicie said. “People have been coming here for years, and they really do become part of the family.”

Anicie said the idea of family is what makes their business so special to them.

“You’ve got your ‘Yoga Mama’ and your ‘Yoga Daddy,’ because everyone needs a place to feel safe, a place to let their hair down and feel at home and a person that they can trust,” Anicie said. “That’s what we’re here to give everyone.”

The family-like feeling is evident as clients come in to get ready for a class. Tony and Anicie know where each patron’s favorite spot is, what’s going on with their family and what sort of activities they enjoy. Customers frequently stop to chat before and after each class just to catch up.

“It’s a fun but challenging, friendly, great place to be,” Crowe said. “It’s easy to get comfortable here.”

Features reporter Julie Sisler can be reached at 270-745-6291 and julie.sis- [email protected] Follow Julie on social media at @julie_sisler.