Saturday, April 19, 2014 · 11:26 p.m.

Yoga isn't about ego, but it's inevitable that the idea of stretching and bending in a roomful of strangers may provoke some self-consciousness, especially for people new to the practice.

So leaders at the North Shore's Hot Yoga Plus are offering a beginners series, starting in the new year. 

"It's more of a workshop format," Hot Yoga Plus manager and yoga instructor Blaire Foster said. "You can ask questions. There's discussion and demonstration. A lot of times in class, you feel overwhelmed because you don't know what the pose is supposed to look like." 

If you go 

What: Beginners yoga series

When: Wednesdays, Jan. 8-Feb. 12, 7-8:30 p.m.

Where: 313 Manufacturers Road

How much: $115 for six weeks (participants get discounts on other classes and merchandise)

Availability: Space is limited

To sign up: Click here

What: Community yoga classes

When: Saturdays, 12-1 p.m.

How much: Donations suggested 

But that's part of the beauty of yoga, she said. Each pose might look and feel different for each person. So the six-week program is a chance to learn about the breathing and experience the poses, she said. 

"But it doesn't have to be for somebody who is brand new to yoga," she also said. 

The class won't be heated at first, but by the last class, the instructors will have bumped the heat up to about 90 degrees, she said. 

Hot Yoga Plus offers mostly heated classes, although some are not heated. 

The warmer temperatures serve three purposes, Foster said. 

It helps warm up the body faster, which makes muscles more pliable, she said. It also produces a cleansing sweat. 

"The third reason is it's emulating the natural climate of India, where yoga was started," she said. 

Another opportunity for locals to practice yoga is during the studio's Saturday community classes. 

Members of the public can attend the community classes for a donation. The suggested donation is $5, but it's not required. 

That 90-minute class, which is appropriate for all skill levels, is done in a nonheated room, but the temperature is warm, Foster said. 

This past year, the Hot Yoga Plus team took all the donations and gave them to one local nonprofit, but they are planning to identify four different nonprofits to benefit from the money this year. 

The details aren't final, so Foster couldn't identify the organizations. 

Foster said that her goal is to make yoga more accessible.

"We want all kinds of people to come," she said. "We want more yoga for more people." 

Updated @ 8:54 a.m. on 12/19/13 for clarity.

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