By Betty Yu

 

PALO ALTO (KPIX 5) — Turbo 26 Studio at Stanford Shopping Center held its last hot yoga class Monday evening, where students did not have to wear masks indoors.

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Owner Joanna Meiseles says the Santa Clara County indoor mask mandate was expected, but unwelcome.

“I was really disappointed and feel like it’s just a blow to the business. We’ve just been slowly making progress towards something that resembles normal and now I think it’s really going to set up back again. It’s going to be tough,” said Meiseles.

The studio has been reopened for about three months. Meiseles spent the day making new signage and updating the Turbo 26 Studio website and her instructors and students.

Meiseles says she’s already seen a drop in attendance in the last couple of weeks, even among vaccinated students.

She’s now thinking about offering virtual classes again and will also lower the temperature in hot yoga classes.

“To account for people not getting overheated with their masks on. Sometimes they’ll get overheated and get lightheaded or they might break out in a rash,” she said. “It’s no fun for the teacher, it’s no fun for the students, but we do the best we can.”

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Student Alyssa Zulueta says though classes will be tougher, the mandate won’t stop her from coming.

“My husband works in the medical field so he sees it up close and so we have two kids and we just want to take every precaution to keep all of us healthy and safe,” said Zulueta. “I’ve been here with a mask on and it’s okay, it’s a little challenging.”

Jacob Edelson of Menlo Park said he’s not looking forward to hot yoga classes with masks.

“It’s still tough because I can’t breathe, a lot of it is focused on breath so it’s hard to really get fresh air in when I’m kind of like overheating,” said Edelson.

Health officials said vaccinated people remain strongly protected against severe illness, hospitalization, and death from a delta variant infection, but can still spread the virus.

The goal of the mandate is to slow the surge before stronger measures are needed.

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“I’m not super optimistic that we can really survive another surge or another setback. It’s just really – it’s hard enough to build a small business when everything is going for you,” said Meiseles.