Living out a passion for health and wellness

2018-09-28 | The Register-Herald

Sept. 28--Since May 2017, Balanced Life Studio has welcomed yogis of all fitness and skill levels. The studio, owned by Dewana Waters Grillot and her husband Don Grillot, features a variety of hot yoga classes, as well as barre studio and trampoline classes. Dewana shares with The Register-Herald more about her yoga background, the opening of the studio, and the benefits of yoga for the mind and body.

Can you tell me more about your background as a yoga instructor?

I have been teaching yoga for nearly 20 years. I started yoga as a necessity: multiple injuries from years of teaching high-intensity aerobics. At first, I took a yoga class at a fitness conference and immediately fell in love with the practice. Later, I went through extensive training with Kate Potter, an international yoga instructor from Vancouver, Canada. I completed my 200 hours in Yoga Teacher Training and I am certified through the Yoga Alliance. I plan to start my next 300 hours of training in India next summer.

Tell me more about what gave you the idea to open your hot yoga studio.

For years, my husband and I have attended hot yoga classes every chance we got while traveling. We have taken classes in New York City, Phoenix, Tulsa, San Diego and other cities. It was my dream to share this incredible practice with my community in Beckley. I taught various classes in several gyms in Beckley but missed the infrared heat and the yoga studio vibes. I wanted a space where students felt at home, a place dedicated to the practice of yoga with a serene atmosphere.

Can you tell me the difference between infrared heat and Bikram heat?

Anyone who has been outside on a sunny day has experienced the warmth of the sun directly on their skin -- that is infrared radiant heat. While indoor infrared heaters do not emit UV rays like the sun, they do provide the same comfortable, sun-like warmth. What makes Balanced Life Studio's infrared radiant heated yoga feel so different is the way the heat is distributed.

Other studios use forced air, which can make your yoga seem stuffy and leave you feeling dried out, whereas a yoga session at Balanced Life Studio, using infrared heat, feels clean and invigorating. We adjust the temperature to match the style of the each class, and no humidity is added to the room, so the temperature is very pleasant. The temperature for our infrared heated classes typically ranges from 75 to 90 degrees.

Another advantage of infrared radiant heat is that surface temperatures can feel 3 to 8 degrees warmer than the air temperature. The direct warmth on people's bodies can feel soothing and can help boost flexibility. Heat is distributed directly and silently, creating a superior hot yoga experience.

When compared to Bikram yoga, our classes typically run from 45 minutes to 60 minutes. All Bikram Yoga Beginning Series classes run for 90 minutes and consist of the same series of 26 postures, including two breathing exercises. Bikram Yoga is a hot yoga style, and is ideally practiced in a room heated to 95 to 108 degrees Fahrenheit with a humidity of 40 percent.

What are some of the benefits of infrared heat? What are some of the benefits of yoga in general?

We use a heating system from Heating Green, which boasts the following:

--Increased Flexibility: Infrared heat directly warms muscles, allowing for a greater range of motion. Helps yoga students open up, melt deep into poses and gain confidence in their practice.

--Increase Circulation: Infrared heat has shown to stimulate blood flow. It can help lower blood pressure, help oxygenate organs, and rid the body of toxins.

--Detoxifying Sweat: Infrared heat will make you sweat, which is a good thing because it is your body's natural way of flushing toxins. As your body absorbs infrared heat, water molecules begin to vibrate, which causes them to wring out impurities from the cells. These impurities will then be released from your body as you sweat, creating a deep, detoxifying cleanse on the cellular level.

--Weight Loss: The human body has an impressive temperature regulation system which takes energy (calories) to maintain a consistent temperature. Infrared heat also increases metabolism between the blood and tissue, which also burns calories.

--Pain Relief: Infrared heat directly penetrates tissues, muscles and joints, allowing them to heal and regenerate through a combination of the aforementioned increased circulation, oxygenation and detoxification. Infrared radiation incredibly is useful for pain relief for both minor injuries and chronic ailments. Infrared is used by physical therapists, saunas and yoga studios around the world.

Yoga in general has many benefits for the practitioner. Increases flexibility, increases muscle strength and tone, improves respiration, energy and vitality, helps with weight control, improves cardio and circulatory health, betters bone health, protects your spine, helps prevent cartilage and joint breakdown and assists in decreasing stress.

When did the studio open? What's the response from the community been like since Balanced Life opened?

The studio opened May 20, 2017. The support from the community has been incredible. We have students ranging from ages 16 to 75 that have accumulated over 10,000 visits. Many say when they come into the studio they feel as if they're in another city. Students love the essential oils wafting through the air, the relaxing music in the background and the warmth that surrounds them. Our clients are greeted with an inviting smile from their instructor and a beautiful atmosphere to practice yoga. They leave the studio feeling relaxed and pampered after a cool cloth soak in essential oils is draped over their neck and a glass of water infused with lemon and mint quenches their thirst.

Can you tell me what types of classes are offered at the studio?

Even though our main focus is yoga, we offer other modalities of exercise. We have a Barre studio that is a fusion of yoga, Pilates, strength training, and ballet. Barre classes incorporate specific sequencing patterns and isometric movements that target specific muscle groups. This pattern of exercise helps to improve strength, balance, flexibility and posture.

We recently added trampoline classes. Rebounding helps with weight loss, improves cardio endurance, helps with the lymphatic system, improves balance and makes you feel younger. There is 70 percent less impact on the body on the trampoline compared to running on pavement. Zumba is also on the schedule to give the students the opportunity to dance their calories away.

Our yoga classes consist of Gentle Yoga, Restorative Yoga, Flow Yoga, Chair Yoga, Devotional Yoga and Power Yoga. Private group yoga classes are scheduled on Mondays at 7 p.m. We have had the privilege to work with the YMCA, church groups, groups of friends and local sport teams. The studio can accommodate 40 students.

We recently completed our Studio B at Balanced Life Studio for nonheated yoga classes. Lectures and presentations from various health professionals are also given in Studio B. We offer yoga teacher training and workshops for our students. We have an inversion workshop coming up at the end of the month and other events planned into 2019.

Knowing West Virginia's health issues, how does it feel to have a studio geared toward health and fitness?

I am a West Virginia native and love my lush green mountains. I am surrounded by family and lifelong friends. It saddens me to know the statistics of our state -- one of the highest obesity rates, highest population of diabetic patients and the most depressed residents.

I lost my parents at a young age due to health-related problems. I have spent my life educating myself on health and fitness. I want to help others live the healthiest life possible. As a certified health coach and registered yoga instructor, I hope to make a difference in southern West Virginia.

I feel very blessed to have the opportunity to help others through Balanced Life Studio. Six other certified instructors and myself share in this passion of health and fitness. I can truly say that Balanced Life Studio has some of the most caring and devoted instructors I have ever met in the industry.

It takes a village to cover over 25 classes a week. We start at 6 a.m. and end at 7:30 p.m. We have classes on Saturday and Sunday. I invite anyone interested in their health to come out and feel the camaraderie we share at the studio. We have sunshine 365 days a year!

Email: and follow on Twitter @WendyHoldren