Walking into the Funky Buddha Yoga Hothouse feels almost like walking into a sauna. The room is kept at 95 degrees, and you can smell the heat before you even open the door. In the winter months, the heat feels like one hour of heaven to the yogis. However, in a tweed suit, boots and bowtie, 95 degrees felt more like hell as I stretched, bent, and squatted to get a good photograph. Photography should be considered exercise.
Business has been good to Kerri and Chris Reinbold, the married couple who own the studio. They've lived in Chicago and Madison, and when they moved back to Grand Rapids, they realized they missed the yoga studios of the big cities. They opened the Funky Buddha in Easttown in 2009, with two teachers and four part-time staff. Now they have two more locations in Holland and Forest Hills, 11 teachers, 15 ops staff and over 60 assistants.
Stress is on the rise in today's society, and as a result, yoga has become insanely popular. People are becoming more concerned with their health, not just dieting and exercise, but mental health as well. Yoga combines exercise, deep breathing, and meditation, which relaxes the body and releases tension. It also flushes the body with new blood, bringing oxygen and nutrients to the muscles. Yoga helps with stress, chronic anxiety, sleep disorders, diabetes, HIV and more. It's therapeutic. It's a 5,000-year-old practice, and its popularity is only just beginning.