INDIANAPOLIS - An Indianapolis-based hot yoga and pilates studio is continuing to branch out. The Hot Room recently opened its third studio, and first outside of Indiana, in Chicago, with plans for three more locations set to open later this year. Additionally, the company announced a new scholarship designed to support people of color looking to become yoga instructors.

Co-owner Hye Jin Kalgaonkar told Business of Health Reporter Kylie Veleta word of mouth has played a major factor in the company’s growth.

"More and more people were coming to us and saying they started in Indianapolis, practicing, and they're moving other places and, 'Bring The Hot Room here. There's nothing like The Hot Room,'" said Kalgaonkar. "So our idea is now how do we make this accessible to anyone who wants it and expanding outside of our local geography and showing that this business model works is a step towards that goal."

The Hot Room was founded in 2013 and Kalgaonkar says they have built a community based on people sharing their experiences with others. The company currently employs more than 50 people among its three locations in Indianapolis and Chicago.

Kalgaonkar says another interesting driver of The Hot Room's growth has been the popularity of at-home workouts.

"Now, more and more people are interested in learning about how to improve their health and wellness. More people are wanting to improve their quality of life. And so they'll start maybe in the online world and then they'll quickly notice that they're looking for something more. They're looking for community, more inspiration, more accountability, more face-to-face, human interaction that creates friendships and then, now, they come to our studio and they get a totally unique experience that they can't get in the online world."

This week, the studio established The Hot Room Leadership Institute Scholarship for People of Color. The company says the full-tuition scholarship is available to any person of color "who would like to deepen their yoga practice and gain the skills necessary to lead inspiring and powerful classes in their community."

The first recipient of the scholarship is Marquese "Quese" Martin-Hayes, a Butler University alumnus who came to The Hot Room to help recover from old football injuries. 

“We are so proud of Quese and excited for this opportunity for him,” Co-owner Ashish Kalgaonkar said in a news release. “Individuals will be able to lead a class and also will be able to develop and hone skills to be leaders in the community.” 

You can learn more about The Hot Room Leadership Institute and the new scholarship by clicking here.