Combining the key principles of hot yoga with the technology of wood-fired brick ovens, the latest fitness craze known as hot pretzel yoga offers participants the opportunity to twist themselves into a pretzel and be baked at 425 degrees for 45 minutes, or until golden-brown.
“We definitely wanted to go with baked, rather than deep-fried,” explained hot pretzel yoga founder Cliff Hartwell. “Deep frying would pretty much negate the health aspects of the yoga itself. What would be the point of that?”
Hartwell, who grew up working in his family's soft pretzel bakery in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, says that he was inspired to launch his new fitness modality one evening when, on a whim, he took a Bikram yoga class in a blazingly hot studio - and, along with his classmates, ended up sweaty and overheated and twisted into a pretzel.
“In my case, it was a very soft pretzel,” he acknowledged. “I was pretty out of shape at that point.”
Hating to see all those pretzel-shaped humans going to waste just lying on their mats, half-baked at best, Hartwell crafted what seemed, to him, the obvious solution: stick them into a wood-fired oven and bake them to perfection.
“There's no need to even add any salt,” noted Hartwell. “With all the perspiring that's already going on, the pretzels are naturally well-salted. It works out brilliantly.”
Hartwell emphasized that hot pretzel yoga is not for the faint of heart. “If you can't stand the heat – well, you know.”
That being said, Hartwell strongly encourages any yoga practitioners interested in taking their flexibility – and internal temperatures – to the next level to give hot pretzel yoga a try.
“We're offering a special discount for people of the gluten-free variety,” he added. "Or even just whole-grain is great."