OGDEN — Launching a business isn’t always just about making money.
Last month, Debi Muir took over Higher Ground Hot Yoga on Historic 25th Street and she said her aim is to spread the message about the good yoga can do in healing the body and the spirit.
“That is the drive,” she said.
She sees herself as a steward of the community and believes promoting yoga through the studio is her contribution to making the Ogden area a better place. Such sentiments, she maintains, are typical among those, like her, involved in the business side of yoga — they’re passionate about promoting healing, not making fistfuls of cash.
“It gives you a cardiovascular workout. It gives you a massage. It gives you physical therapy,” said Muir, manager of Higher Ground for four years before taking over from David Lund as owner in February.
At its most basic, students in classes will hold a series of poses aimed at working out the body, led by an instructor. But the impact goes deeper, proponents say, promoting both physical health and mental well-being. Deep breathing is key to help center those practicing yoga, and given the anxiety and stress caused by COVID-19 and the softening of the economy that has resulted, such a relief valve can be vital.
None other than Johns Hopkins Medicine, among others, touts the curative powers of yoga. The practice aids with strength and flexibility, back pain, arthritis symptoms, heart health, relaxation, stress management and more.
“Yoga offers physical and mental health benefits for people of all ages,” reads a primer on yoga’s benefits prepared by Johns Hopkins Medicine, affiliated with the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore and the Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System. “And, if you’re going through an illness, recovering from surgery or living with a chronic condition, yoga can become an integral part of your treatment and potentially hasten healing.”
Jed Nilson, speaking after a recent yoga session at Higher Ground, can attest to how the practice has helped him. Yoga, by some accounts, originated thousands of years ago in what is now India.
“People come here to heal their minds and their bodies. … It’s definitely helped my mental health significantly,” he said. It’s also helped with back pain issues.
Muir’s is hardly the only studio in the Ogden area, but it offers a glimpse into the local community. Higher Ground Hot Yoga, which first opened in 2003, is located at 111 25th St., suite B, upstairs from Grounds for Coffee on Historic 25th Street.
The participants in a class on a recent Saturday gathered in the long second-story studio overlooking 25th Street, taking their places on mats in front of a wall covered with mirrors, socially distanced because of COVID-19. Susan Beck, one of Higher Ground instructors, led the 20 or so students through a series of poses that stretched their bodies and tested their physiques. On top of that, the temperature in the room was a toasty 105 degrees, where the “Hot Yoga” in Higher Ground Hot Yoga comes from.
“The heat facilitates fresh oxygenated blood to rush to the body,” Muir said. Her studio’s website said it also improves elasticity of the muscles, promotes sweating and detoxification of the body and more.
Beck’s was the only voice as the class proceeded. The students were quiet and focused as they shifted from position to position. “Every single position has a medical benefit,” Muir said.
The studio is open seven days a week, even on Christmas. When you start practicing yoga, Muir said, you need it, regardless of holidays. You come to welcome the release and pause that it offers.
“It allows you to take 60 or 90 minutes from the troubles of the world and just focus on the breathing,” Muir said. “People come in so happy just to have a space to feel normal again.”