Downtown Brantford’s newest addition is more of a community centre rather than just a workout space. Moksha Yoga’s hot yoga establishment is a place where everyone is welcome to come and be a part of a greater community.

“It’s more than just a fitness class, and it’s more than just a sweaty room. It’s the community that comes from it,” said owner Emily Dwornikiewicz.

Dwornikiewcz originally started at Moksha Yoga’s Cambridge location before opening her own studio in Brantford with co-owners Markus Schneider and mother Wendy Dwornikiewicz.

Dwornikiewicz’s goal is to make Moksha Yoga a place where everyone wants to come and hang out whether they can afford to be a member or not. Moksha Yoga offers an ambassador program that trades free yoga classes for four hours of volunteer work a week.

“Money’s tight when you’re a student. We want it to be accessible not only in the practice, but for the people who might not necessarily be able to afford it,” said Dwornikiewicz. As a result, students receive ten dollars off every pass.

Each month Moksha Yoga supports a different charity, mostly local, by offering Friday Karma classes for five dollars. For September, Moksha chose the Brantford General Hospital, and are helping to buy products not covered by the government, like plants, that make patients more comfortable.

The products sold at Moksha Yoga come from sustainable companies. All electrolytes are natural with no sugar or sweeteners added, Guru towels and yoga pants are made from recycled water bottles, and yoga mats are made from natural rubber trees. To top it off, all of the products can withstand a sweaty class.

During the building process, Moksha Yoga used as little additional resources as possible. They installed Marmoleum flooring, made from natural raw materials, and also kept some of the original Expositor flooring. Benches in the change rooms are made from Brantford trees by a Cambridge company that plants a new tree each time one is cut down.

“It’s not the most affordable way of going for sure, but it’s something we can stand behind proudly and know that what we’re doing is making life, hopefully, a little better for future generations,” said Dwornikiewicz.

For Dwornikiewicz, the reason she likes hot yoga so much are the benefits it has on mental health, detoxification and that it creates less chance of injury.

All Moksha classes go through a cardiovascular series. The owner explained that one pose in particular called Middle Savasana causes you to feel your heart beating in your chest.

“It’s hot, but when you come out it’s a good feeling,” said class member Maia Nguyen.

Dwornikiewicz wanted Moksha to reside in downtown Brantford because she wanted to be able to witness, and be a part of, Laurier’s positive influence on the downtown. She also hopes that being downtown will encourage people to walk to the studio or take public transit rather than driving.

Moksha Yoga rents out their space for birthday parties, bachelorette parties, kids yoga classes and anyone who is simply looking to book the space. Prices range from 80 to 150 dollars.

The original Moksha Yoga studio started in Toronto, Ontario. Currently there are 74 studios across North America.