Metro-East News

Yoga instructor says classes provide physical and mental strength

What started as a way to bring hot yoga to the metro-east continues to thrive almost four years later. Co-founders Kellie Mathes, Therese Blomberg and Michele Taylor established Yoga Core and More in late 2011 and today provide classes throughout the week from their yoga studio in O’Fallon. Business writer Will Buss recently visited the yoga studio and talked to Mathes about the business:

How did this business come about?

“The three owners had a yoga class in O’Fallon for about two years. I was the yoga teacher, and Michele and Therese were students, and Michelle decided that we needed hot yoga in the metro-east. So the three of us had been traveling to St. Louis about four times a week, about 50 miles round trip doing hot yoga, and we didn’t have any hot yoga available in the area. So we decided to open a hot yoga studio. We do other things other than hot yoga, but primarily hot yoga.”

What is hot yoga?

“One version is a set sequence called Some Like It Hot, and the room is heated 110 degrees.”

What does that do?

“It helps you burn calories faster, so it increases your metabolism and purifies the body by detoxing with sweat. It also helps you stretch deeper with less risk of injury when your muscles are warm.”

What are your classes like?

“We have a great community environment. It’s very friendly and people help each other out. Everyone is here to support each other. So we cheer people on. It’s a great community environment. People get to know each other. They hang out together. It’s more than just coming to do a workout. They connect.”

What advice do you give first-timers?

“The advice I would give someone is to keep an open mind and just come in relaxed, hydrated — drink plenty of water before class. Attire is something form fitting, not cotton; something that you can sweat in and the sweat can roll away from you. Bring water, a yoga mat and towel, though we do have mats and towels to rent. And it’s not as scary as people think. And it’s an amazing workout for your body and mind.”

How?

“You burn anywhere from 600 to 1,100 calories per class. We have people who have used Fitbits, and we have those actual numbers having come out of their yoga class. So it’s challenging for a beginner and for an advanced person as well. A person who is coming into their very first class will find it very challenging. A person who’s doing their 400th class, which we do have students here who have had 400 classes, they still find it very challenging. So there’s something new every class. There is something that you can benefit from and something new you can learn.”

How long have you been teaching yoga?

“I’ve been teaching for about six years.”

What did you do before entering this business?

“I was a buyer for Macy’s before this.”

What got you interested in yoga?

“I just started this one or two classes a week at a friend’s house and developed this into this booming hot yoga business.”

What have you enjoyed most about your business?

“I would say the connection with the community and watching people develop and grow physically and mentally. We’ve made a lot of friends here and just watching them get stronger everyday; stronger physically, stronger mentally, is just a blessing. We are giving back to the community by hosting a ‘bmoved’ event, and we will be donating part of the proceeds to the Baptiste Foundation, which supports yoga throughout the world to those in need or those who wouldn’t normally be privy to it. Another portion of the benefits will go to local charity Heartlinks, at family Hospice in Belleville. It is Sept. 26 at noon at O’Fallon Sports Park. It’s a free class open to the public, weather permitting.”

Contact reporter Will Buss at wbuss@bnd.com or 618-239-2526.

Kellie Mathes

Job: Co-founder, co-owner, Yoga Core and More at 772 Wall St. in O’Fallon (618-632-5377/www.yogacoreandmore.com)

Outlook: “There’s something new every class. There is something that you can benefit from and something new you can learn.”

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