How Hotpod Yoga has reinvented an age-old practice

People doing a Hotpod Yoga class

For centuries yoga has been revered around the world for its mind, body, health and, some would even say, spiritual benefits. Those who practice the Eastern-inspired stretching techniques swear to its holistic benefits and are dedicated to making sure that they allocate a certain amount of time every week to the meditative practice to unwind and relax. While there are countless yoga movements around the world, one reinventive yoga type that has made a name for itself over the last few years is Hotpod Yoga.  

Hotpod Yoga was founded in the UK in 2013 with the aim of reinventing yoga for the modern world. The founders wished to create a more immersive and appealing yoga experience to attract clientele who wouldn’t normally be interested in taking part in a yoga class. This led to the creation of the Hotpod Yoga concept. Each Hotpod Yoga studio has a patented 37°C heated inflatable pod in which the yoga classes take place. The unique Hotpod architectural design paired with innovative technology bathes participants in a dim light with purple hues, creating an immersive, intense and appealing yoga environment.

Strengthening the Hotpod Yoga global brand

The popularity of their out-of-this-world immersive yoga classes has led to Hotpod Yoga becoming one of the world’s largest yoga businesses, with franchises popping up in over 50 locations across 8 countries, including South Africa.

The Hotpod Yoga franchise business model is intended for yogis and yoginis who are entrepreneurs at heart. By buying into the Hotpod Yoga brand, the new business owners can create and run their own independent yoga business with support from the main UK-based brand. From the get go, the business owners are provided with business planning support and training required for setting-up and running a Hotpod franchise. Each franchisee is also equipped with the patented Hotpod and access to the full business ecosystem, brand and marketing support.

The first South African Hotpod Yoga studio was established in Pretoria in 2015 followed by Johannesburg in January 2018 and Cape Town a few months later. The South African franchises are separately owned but, according to the Hotpod Cape Town owner, André Hugo, they work very closely with Hotpod UK, and the other global franchises, to ensure a similar Hotpod Yoga experience.

Bringing Hotpod Yoga to Cape Town

André, who is a Chartered Accountant by profession, first came across Hotpod Yoga during a UK business trip. As a self-described yoga enthusiast, he was quick to look into whether there were any Hotpod Yoga studios in his home town of Cape Town. He found out that there were only studios in Pretoria and Johannesburg, so he contacted Hotpod Yoga UK to make some initial enquiries before launching Hotpod Yoga Cape Town in September 2018.

“A tiny percentage of our population do yoga. We at Hotpod Yoga are firm believers in its transformational benefits and believe that delivering yoga in its most potent form is the secret to reaching an audience otherwise untouched by yoga. We want to convert the sceptics and draw in the doubters by supercharging the yoga experience. Our secret sauce is the pod which is a heated cocoon of glowing lights, aromas and tunes taking you a million miles from the everyday,” said André.

Facilitating easy payments for online yoga classes  

When the South African government announced lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Hotpod Yoga studios were forced to close their doors. “We were very quick to do what we felt was the responsible thing to do, which was to stop in-studio classes. We closed our doors on 20 March about a week before the hard lockdown official began on 26 March,” said André.

The South African Hotpod Yoga studios were however quick to adapt by offering online classes on a pay-what-you-can payment model. “Our online classes are delivered by our lovely team of teachers over Zoom. All bookings can be done on the Hotpod Yoga iOS or Android app or the website. It’s a great way to keep our community connected and moving until we are able to get back to classes in the pod,” said André.

The Hotpod Yoga website and app uses TeamUp as it’s online booking management system with a PayFast integration to receive online payments. Those who are interested in booking an online yoga session can simply register an account and then pay using their credit card for either a membership package, an online class package or an individual online class pass. By using the PayFast tokenized recurring billing feature, Hotpod Yoga is able to accept recurring ‘once-off’ payments without the constant need for their customers to re-enter their credit card details. This secure encrypted feature enables Hotpod Yoga to maintain a stable revenue stream while also providing a great customer experience. 

“Our booking system makes it quick and easy to buy class passes and membership and book into classes. We did our research when deciding on which payment gateway would fit seamlessly into our booking system and PayFast stood out as the best option for us. We are very happy with how easy it is to book and pay for classes…and we hope our clients agree!” concluded André.

PayFast has been the go-to online payment solution for South African merchants running businesses of all sizes thanks to its ease of use and free to use features and solutions. For more information on how PayFast can help grow your online business, visit www.payfast.co.za.

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