Hot yoga has become a popular form of exercise in recent years for its positive effects on the body and mind. I recently had the chance to sit down with Amanda Wrigley who owns ‘ensō’, a hot yoga and massage studio, with her husband Brad. The studio was opened in 2014 at Victoria Point Lakeside, a shopping and leisure precinct in the Redlands in South East Queensland.
As I enter the calm yet colourful studio space, I am greeted warmly by Amanda who has just finished a massage session with a loyal client and friend. With her engaging personality and calming presence, Amanda embodies the essence of yoga. As we chat, she moves swiftly around the space folding towels and washing up cups of herbal tea from her latest yoga class. Amanda, who was first drawn to yoga by the way it relaxes her body and mind, has been practising yoga for over 40 years and discovered a love for hot yoga 10 years ago.
For those unfamiliar with hot yoga, it is the practice of yoga in a heated room which enhances the body’s ability to stretch and flex, assisting in the release of tension and stress.
The term “ensō” refers to a Zen Buddhist ritual. Each day Zen Buddhists paint a circle on paper as a daily mindfulness practice, symbolising enlightenment. The Zen circle can be seen in ensō’s logo.
When asked about the ensō experience, Amanda says, “We try to create a welcoming environment that is calming to people. A lot of our customers comment that as soon as they walk through the door, they relax. We have relaxing music playing, we have a candle lit and we have aromatherapy in the air. We try to appeal to all of the senses. What you’re hearing, what you’re seeing and what you’re smelling is conducive to relaxation and wellness. And you just saw me washing up the teacups”. Amanda goes on to describe ensō as a community. “A lot of our customers have made good friends from meeting each other at yoga”.
ensō offers 19 classes each week in six different styles of yoga. Other services include remedial and relaxation massage. For true yoga lovers, ensō offers masterclasses for a more in-depth yoga session. Teacher training is also available for those interested in becoming a qualified yoga teacher or just wanting to learn more about the practice. Annual retreats are held which offer a scenic and tranquil escape where participants can fully immerse themselves in the yoga experience. ensō also has an online program called ‘Xone’ for yogis who prefer to enjoy the classes from home.
Speaking about her inspiration for ensō, Amanda says, “Yoga has always been a passion and a love of mine. There have been several times throughout my life where yoga has assisted me through very challenging periods and I couldn’t think of any other way of getting through those periods in life sanely. Because I had really experienced the benefits of regular practice, I wanted to be able to offer that to others”.
As Amanda speaks, it is easy to sense the passion she has for the work she does. “What we gain from this business is from what our members bring in. We’re able to help so many people. A lot of the people who come say they cannot do without it. People often express their appreciation of what we give them and that’s what means the most to us. We love that it just improves people’s lives.”
As for what Amanda would like to tell people about yoga, “Don’t be scared. I’ve heard every excuse under the sun why people can’t do yoga but I’ve never heard one that makes any sense,” she laughs. “I’ll hear ‘I’m not flexible enough, I’m injured, my back is sore, I’ve got a headache, I’m sick, I haven’t got time’. I’ve heard them all. None of them make sense because there is no reason why you can’t do yoga. If you’re physically compromised in any way, whether you’ve got a disability, injury, just had surgery – you just modify things and do things a little differently, a little more gently. Part of the practice is paying attention. That’s all yoga really is. So you just notice how things are feeling and you don’t do anything that hurts. So I would say don’t be afraid”.