By Kate Raddatz

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s estimated that more than 20 million Americans practice yoga. Among the newer trends in this ancient practiceis hot yoga, which is performed in a space that’s 90 degrees or warmer.

Your votes sent us to a studio that keeps yogis sweating and centered — Minnesota Power Yoga in Minneapolis.

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In the Uptown studio, each student is on his or her own separate journey.

“Here at Minnesota Power Yoga, it’s about connection — number one, to yourself, and then connect to everyone around you,” studio owner Danielle Jokinen said.

It’s that sense of community that sets this yoga studio apart from the others.

“It’s super open and really inclusive,” Minnesota Power Yoga student Hilary said. “When you walk in the door, you’re met with a huge smile.”

That openness goes from the front door all the way into the class.

“We got into our physical body, because it starts there,” Jokinen said. “Then we got possibility, with shifting our perspective and our thoughts and the way we look at things.”

Jokinen teaches the Baptiste discipline of yoga, which blends traditional yoga with the power of thought, the possibility of transformation and of course, a sense of community.

“I came in not knowing what to expect after just moving here and I immediately fell in love with the studio,” yoga student Erica Jones said.  “I’ve experienced, in different studios — it’s like, you have to be a certain way, and there’s a lack of diversity. Walking in, right away, it wasn’t just like you’re a person checking in. They know your name.”

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Jokinen says it’s about connection not just with others, but within yourself.

“It’s an opportunity to find you, to find me, and then there’s ‘we,'” she said. “We really look at the mind-body connection, like, ‘What are you saying to yourself that’s causing pain and/or suffering?'”

You’ll find no mirrors in the sutdios — this is not a fashion show — and the sound of breathing and the instructor’s voice are the only sounds you’ll hear.

“The world is loud enough,” Jokinen said. “We don’t play music because it gives you the space to listen to your breath, or to hear the thoughts that you say, or the thoughts that you don’t say, to make room for something else.”

But, this is hot yoga.

“You will definitely sweat,” Jokinen said. “For me, it’s about that internal fire that is created when you’re moving, and you sweat anything out that isn’t serving you.”

Internal fire, indeed.

It’s obvious that this vocation runs through Jokinen’s veins — quite literally.

“Me, my mom and sister are all Yoga teachers, and my boyfriend is also an instructor,” she said. “I just wanted to create a home where everyone can feel connected and loved.”

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It’s a true recipe for success that makes it no surprise why you voted it the Best of Minnesota.

Kate Raddatz