She worked hard for her Bliss

For some reason, the Cayman
Islands’ appears to have a propensity for putting places to exercise next to
places that serve, well, food that may not be considered the best by those who
exercise.

Another such place – Bliss Living
and Yoga – opened quietly toward the end of last year in the Marquee Plaza.

But the yoga studio, in the back of
the complex between Quizno’s Subs and Al La Kebab, is starting to burst at the
seams and more talk is getting around the community about ‘hot yoga’.

“When I started working the numbers
for the biz model about three years ago…I had about four classes or five
classes a day, that’s what I predicted, with an average of about 16 people per
class,” says studio co-owner Janelle Fleur Kroon. “It’s now eight classes a day
(on weekdays). We’ve been open a year and yoga has grown exponentially.”

Janelle first attempted to open a
yoga studio in East End about five years ago, but quickly realised the market
for the classes wasn’t there and that a move to the Seven Mile Beach area was desired.

On 14 November, 2009, Bliss Living
and Yoga Cayman was born, and Vinyasa-style yoga – at a room temperature of 32
to 35 degrees Celsius – has caught on in a big way. The studio’s classes are
typically packed, with 20 or more participants in each.

Janelle, and most of her teaching
staff at Bliss, are disciples of Baron Baptiste – the founder of Baptiste
Vinyasa Power Yoga in the 1980s. Without going into too much into detail about
the different types of yoga practices, it means you get a work out.

“He’s a power teacher,” Janelle
says. “He made (a yoga-style) suited to north Americans – as in the culture of
physical – but still extremely integrated in the eight limbs of yoga.”

“I started with physical yoga, and
whether you start it with meditation or whether you start it with Anusara yoga,
it all is under the branch to come to the same place of peace or bliss.”

Beginners are advised to bring
their own water bottle and a yoga towel, as well as a towel for your face, as
you will perspire in sheets. Even veteran athletes will swear the hot yoga
classes are some of the toughest work they’ve ever done, but Janelle says the
Vinyasa practice is really meant for those who are just starting.

“You keep practicing,” she says.
“All of it is already in us – after a month, the beginner poses…that’s the
majority of the poses, and then there are variations on them. We…know that
Power Vinyasa is more challenging physically. If you haven’t done any physical
work at all for 20 years, it is going to be super challenging. But you can do
it.”

Although the Bliss studio is
crowded, Janelle admits it still struggles from the stereotype that yoga is
“only for women”. She says that’s definitely not true in cases where the
various practices are more established.

“Twelve, 13 years ago in Vancouver,
it was about 15 per cent men and that’s what we are at right now in the class,”
Janelle says. “… if we’re lucky, sometimes its 35 per cent.”

“Right now, we can go into any hot
studio, Vinyasa studio in Vancouver and its 50-50 (between men and women).”

The most important thing for those
looking to take the Bliss studio classes?

“Focus on not having expectations,
and then just go in there and see what happens and just keep coming back,”
Janelle says. “Have a little bit of fun, don’t take yourself too seriously.”