Hot Yoga: Hot garbage?

A quick series on different types of fitness classes. 

“Ugh, I hate yoga.”

“I’m bad at yoga, I’m not flexible.”

“I never do yoga, it is so boring.”

“Why would I want to sweat with a bunch of strangers? That’s gross”

All valid concerns. If you go into hot yoga thinking its a Jane Fonda workout video, you will not be happy.

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Yoga is suppose to be boring in a way…boredom is actually a good thing when sitting in class. The goal for many is to achieve the feeling of a blank slate. Some very serious and spiritual practitioners believe your mind should be full of mantras and hibbddy dibbity, but for your average person sitting in traffic on the way to the gym, worrying about the project due next week and thinking about the 33 loads of laundry to do and wondering if you remembered to pay your credit card bill and SHIT you forgot to book your flight to your cousin’s wedding so its going to cost 3 pints of blood now…

Maybe blank space is a good thing? I think so.

On to the subject of the heat. Lots of interesting opinions on the subject:

  1. “You burn more calories.” Not really, but your FitBit will tell you that because your heart rate goes up due to the sweat lodge you are in while trying to attempt bakasana… think sweaty armpits balancing on your knees while you stand on your hands.  
  2. “It is actually unhealthy.” Everything is unhealthy from some perspective, like running is bad for your knees or having a period could attract bears. 
  3. “You can sweat out all of your toxins.” If you believe a juice cleanse is healthy, you could use this in you soapbox spill at your annual PETA meting. 
  4. “It can cure hangover.” Nope, but you might ralph all over your neighbor if you try to get your zen on after a night of endless margaritas.

So those are the things I hear most often. My response is always, “just try it”, because it certainly isn’t going to hurt anyone. If you hate it you can put it in your blog. This guy was my favorite hater. What you will get out of a good class is a much deeper stretch than you will get pretty much anywhere else. We’re all basically just spaghetti noodles waiting on a hot yoga class. 

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If you give it a fair shake you will feel more limber that before, and you will relax. If you get tired you get to lay down in corpse pose (yes, literally) and take a nap in a warm room that smells like a pachouli and lavender.

Why not?

I get it now, Lulu.

Originally posted 3/22/16.

I have been skeptical. I have resisted purchasing. I have criticized those wearing $98 WunderUnder pants.

Excuse me while I eat my mat…

I experienced Lulu for the first time yesterday and I now understand why they have such a massive following. My yoga mat needed to be replaced after 10 years of love, and the reviews for The Reversible Mat were outstanding. So I bought one. For $68…

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It is the greatest piece of gym equipment I own. No joke. However, I’m not writing this to talk about the amazing quality of the Lulu (or lack thereof with certain, poorly reviewed items). I want to talk about their customer experience; their brand. It is no Wunder they have droves of Lemonites. Let’s break it down:

  1. The sales reps in store are yogi-looking, friendly bears. They retrieved all of the mat options and unrolled them on the floor, and answered questions. I was told 1) I could take one to try in my practice before purchasing my own OR 2) to come back and we would figure something out if I did purchase and wasn’t happy (even through my mat would technically be used product and nonrefundable). What? That’s quite a different retail experience from what most of us have become accustomed.
  2. Their shopping bags are all reusable and recyclable. Not like, “would you like a recyclable bag for $4 or a regular paper bag?” Literally, that’s their shopping bag. They preach yoga philosophy and sustainability with everything they do, and this small addition supports that. Also, Lemonites carry these bags like badges of honor. Every time I visit my local grocery store I see at least two of these red and white proclamations being carried by svelte, human billboards. They are a fit, attractive tribe of shoppers with deep pockets and strong loyalty. That type of customer base is impressive, especially considering they don’t pitch like power players Nike or Under Armour, who have heavy celebrity endorsement. Lulu has brand ambassadors that are regular people. People that are really part of the tribe and believe the hype.
  3. I, of course, sarcastically tweeted about “biting the dust” and making my first #Lululemon purchase at 1:29 pm. At 3:28, Lulu responded in spite of my sarcasm asking about my exciting first purchase (insert my eyeroll here). I went to a hot yoga class, and used my new mat. My sweaty hands and feet stayed firmly planted the entire class, and so I tweeted back to Lulu about my happiness with a slip free practice at 8:11 pm. At 8:17 pm, Lulu responded to me about how happy they were that I “nama-stayed put”. I am aware this was probably an intern, but the quick and clever response was so out of the norm. I immediately felt a part of the tribe. I could feel the allegiance building. Brands don’t typically interact like this with customers unless they are upset.

I know the stock just dropped and JP Morgan bumped them off the watch list in favor of Nike and so this is oddly timed, but I want to focus on what Lulu does right. Overall, I have never had this experience with my beloved Nike or Under Armour. I want to know what others think, and how we could use this model to build better brand experiences. How can we build a tribe for our own brands?

Disclaimer: I know not everyone feels this way (any woman over a size 12) and that not everyone has a great experience in store (I’ve heard that the tribe gets cliquish sometimes). I am simply referencing my experience and how backwards it was compared to previous “activwear” stores. Also, I haven’t purchased clothing. I don’t know if I will, but if I do I certainly won’t be as negative as the Lulu hater I once was.