MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Infrared heated yoga — it’s an idea that came to Chris Richmond after offering infrared saunas to his clients for the past few years.

“It actually creates vasodilation which just means your blood vessels are getting bigger, and your heart rate is then increasing so you have less resistance on your heart,” said Richmond.

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WCCO’s Molly Rosenblatt — a fan of hot yoga — decided to give Richmond’s program a shot.

The technology involves panels that heat the body directly with what Richmond describes as healing wavelengths of the sun.

He says Infrared heat actually penetrates deeper into the body with proven benefits like pain relief, lowering of blood pressure and a boost in metabolism.

Richmond says another health bonus in this new kind of yoga is the option for salt therapy.

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“It’s great for the respiratory system. Also it’s an anti-inflammatory, so it’s actually helping some sinus issues and potential other lung issues that involve inflammation,” he said.

And unlike traditional Bikram and hot yoga classes where you’re packed in a room with dozens of other people in close proximity, this space is available for one on one, or up to five students a session.

“To my knowledge it’s the only private hot yoga room in Minnesota,” said Richmond.

“So instead of coming in and … sweating all over somebody next to you, you’re actually able to bring in your friends and people you want with you, or you can actually just go in by yourself.”

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Awaken for Wellness is located in St. Paul. The private instruction runs $45 for an hour and a half. The small classes are $35 per person.