Hot or Not Yoga in Manahawkin Offers Classes for All Levels

Aug 30, 2012
Photo by: Jack Reynolds

Some like it hot, some like it not. Whatever the preference, both novices and veterans on the mat will find a niche at the new Hot or Not Yoga studio in Manahawkin.

“Even if you’ve never done yoga, don’t be intimidated; there are classes for everyone,” said owner Sam Kelly. “We cater to beginners. All of our instructors are great with beginners.”

Classes are offered every day, from 6 a.m. through the evening hours, in two spacious yoga rooms. Handicap-accessible bathrooms, showers and changing rooms are available in the building’s main area, painted in a calming blue and brown color scheme, and which include the entryway, the front desk and an area with yoga gear for sale, as well as items from Kelly’s eco-friendly gift store Regenerate in Beach Haven.

Kelly, who has also owned Kapler’s Pharmacy in Beach Haven for 10 years, and runs a company focused on creating medications specific to an individual – for hormone therapy, pain therapy, vitamin supplementation and skin problems – sees all her enterprises connect to helping people find greater well-being. She hopes to introduce more area residents and visitors to yoga, to spread the word about this healthy release, the route to “a more balanced lifestyle.”

“I think it’s my own quest for balance that led me here as well,” she added. Kelly’s first foray into yoga was via a few private classes with Jodi Laskiewicz – now an instructor at Hot or Not Yoga – and then hot yoga sessions, which she liked for “all the detox aspects, as well as the stretching, and getting the blood flowing.”

She believes “the group experience is priceless” in regard to yoga, and aims to provide this experience to anyone and everyone interested in yoga, whether Power Vinyasa Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Restorative Yoga or otherwise.

“At Hot or Not Yoga, we have created a studio of empowerment and diversity. You’ll find a variety of yoga styles here with amenities to serve all the needs of the modern yogi,” states the comprehensive website for the business, “We are here to offer you an inviting community and comfortable spaces in which we can practice, relax, unwind and renew.”

There are spaces both in front and in back of the studio to sit and talk, or to just be – “to take some time with a friend or by yourself,” said Kelly. The backyard garden area offers a quiet, restful area shaded by trees, as well as the “spin shed,” with bikes for spinning.

Last Thursday afternoon, a few weeks after the studio’s Aug. 1 opening, instructor Jenn Kretzer was preparing to teach an hour-long “core” class in what Kelly calls “the Dragonfly Room.” On the other side of the building, “the Sun Room” was heating up to 105 degrees in anticipation of a later hot yoga class – the only hot yoga offered in the greater LBI area.

Examples of hot yoga classes offered at the studio include the “Hot 26” Bikram-style yoga class, and Absolute Hot Yoga, which Kelly said is “Bikram-style with some variations.” Both sessions are 90 minutes.

“I’m really happy you guys are here,” Kaylan DeRiso said to Kelly and Kretzer when she came in that day for a class. DeRiso practiced yoga when living in New York, and when she recently moved back to Ocean Acres in Stafford Township, she was glad to find a studio that offers hot yoga in addition to less sweat-inducing sessions.

“I feel like I get a better workout with hot yoga.”

She also prefers taking a class rather than yoga at home, solo. “I feel the atmosphere, the energy of everyone, motivates people more.”

The schedule of classes offered at Hot or Not Yoga is posted on the studio’s website, as are bios of the instructors: Stefani Mills DeSatnick, Robin Conover, Cerra Kelly and Sue Seiter in addition to Kretzer and Laskiewicz – which includes information about training and certification excursions to, for example, Thailand (Laskiewicz), Costa Rica (Kelly) and Level One Bootcamp with Baron Baptiste (DeSatnick), as well as their approach to the practice of yoga. For Seiter, “her passion is to help her students find balance, awareness and peace through her teachings both on and off the mat.”  In Conover’s classes, the focus rests “on energy and consciousness, compassion, growing the stretch, the edge of sensation, and most importantly, living fully alive from the fruits of the practice with unleashing power in our everyday lives!”

Private lessons are also available at the studio for those who would like to work one-on-one with an instructor.

And, as Hot or Not Yoga grows, the studio plans to offer teacher training, assisting programs, retreats and workshops for all types of yoga, as well as fun community events.

A beginner yoga series – consisting of eight classes – begins next month.

Also coming up at the studio, from 8-9 p.m. every Thursday, Sept. 27-Nov. 15, Lois Allen will teach ballroom dancing – salsa, cha cha, rumba, waltz, foxtrot and more – for couples and singles. Cost is $89 per person for the eight-week course, or $149 for two people. (Call the studio for information, or call Allen at 609-709-0473.)

Finally, a ribbon-cutting for Hot or Not Yoga is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 13. Members of the community are welcome and encouraged to stop by and try “10-minute experiences” of various yoga classes, said Kelly, as well as enjoy appetizers, cocktails and music.

Or, simply sign up for one of the many classes. As the studio web site emphasizes, “You don’t know what you are capable of until you try. Let Hot or Not Yoga be your safe haven to explore your true potential.”

Hot or Not Yoga is located at 8 North Union St. in Manahawkin. For more information, call 855-726-8674 or visit

— Juliet Kaszas-Hoch

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