In just eight years, UK-based Hotpod Yoga has become leader in the wellness industry. Max Henderson and Nick Higgins’ are the visionary young founders of this innovative approach to the traditional yoga and franchise concept. We met up with Max at the opening of the third studio in Melrose Johannesburg, South Africa, and even got on the mat with this energetic entrepreneur.
Hotpod Yoga has taken London and numerous other UK and European cities by storm. This duo’s inflatable, heated pods are now available around the world with a whopping 52 outlets. Here, yoga lovers can practice a unique and refreshing style of yoga.
What is the Hotpod?
Max explained that the whole idea behind the Hotpod was to bring the benefits of yoga to a wider audience. The classes offer a ‘real-life’ approach to hot yoga in a completely otherworldly setting. Some people call it magical, we call it soothing.
Award-winning designers Inflate and Nick Elias created the Hotpods. They are portable, practical, and hygienically designed studios, and each one caters for about 20 customers. The lighting is low and ambient, and bespoke crafted aromatherapy oils are infused into the environment. A specially compiled playlist helps get in a deep flow.
We got in the flow
Hotpod Yoga classes are based on Vinyasa flow, but are grounded firmly in reality. Vinyasa has both mental and physical benefits, building strength, toning muscles, and re-energizing the body, while also relaxing the mind. Best of all though, the yoga sequence is not intimidating, but also not a doddle for highly practiced yogis. A good balance. Our instructor was experienced and supportive. There are none of those highly technical poses, the kind that makes you feel useless if you are not as flexible as others around you. Importantly, there are no mirrors where you have to focus your eyes on your body or compare yourself to others. You just feel completely free and at one with your practice in the Hotpod.
The 37-degree heat is not too hot to cause stress or excessive sweating, but hot enough to help you move deeper into your practice by warming muscles and aiding flexibility.
Burn calories with Hotpod Yoga
Because the classes are an hour and are active, you really feel like you have had a good workout. In fact, a typical class will help you burn at least 700 calories. So Hotpod Yoga classes are ideal for those wanting to lose weight, tone up, detox, and de-stress.
The accessibility and simplicity of this yoga have been integral to the company’s commercial success. We love the fact that its unique franchise model has also helped transform yoga instructors and enthusiasts into business owners. It is just one of the many reasons you should try a class.
Max and his team are hoping to develop more franchises in South Africa with his concept. Indeed, Hotpod Yoga is currently Europe’s largest yoga business. South African yoga lovers clearly love Hotpod Yoga. The franchise now has 3 locations (2 in Johannesburg and 1 in Pretoria) and 3 more launching imminently (in Pretoria Olympus), Cape Town, and Durban.
We asked Max ten questions about his life off the mat:
What is your number one Yoga tip?
Enjoy it. That sounds obvious, but if you relax and enjoy it, you’ll reap the rewards. Too many people take it far too seriously.
What is your favorite food?
I eat everything and anything. Nick, my co-founder, prods me in the right direction and tells me when I’m eating things I shouldn’t – but I’m very much omnivorous and eat to enjoy.
If you could spend the day with anyone, who would it be?
Maybe Obama. Not only would he have some wisdom to offer on almost anything, I also get the feeling he’d just be a great guy to spend a day with.
Where would you most like to see Hotpod Yoga launch?
We really don’t have target destinations… for us, it’s all about the people. Great people are what makes great Hotpod Yoga businesses. We’re lucky to have a lot of them, and we’re eager to find many more, wherever they may be!
What is your dream Yoga destination?
I’m planning a trip to California later in the year to take in what they’ve got to offer. The health and wellness scene there seems to lead the way, so I’ll be intrigued by what we can learn.
When you are not at Hotpod Yoga, what are doing?
I’ve got a 3-month old boy, Huxley. Since he was born, hanging out with him and my wife, Zan, is almost all I want to do outside of HPY!
What do you love most about the Hotpod Yoga franchise model?
The change it brings to people’s lives. Our model is designed to harness the enormous enthusiasm our franchisees have for yoga and turn them into successful business people, earning them a great living, doing what they love. When we get that right, it’s genuinely humbling to see.
Who inspires you?
My dad. He’s an entrepreneur too and his drive, motivation and positivity has always been a huge inspiration to me.
How do you unwind when you are not at Hotpod Yoga?
Music. Lots of it.
We’ve got 25+ launches in the next 6 months, so that should keep us busy. We’ve also got a great line of products coming out and our new teacher training school has just opened in London too!