Tag Archives: Richard Failla

New Westport Yoga Spot: Definitely Hot

The shopping center between Sherwood Diner and the old Bertucci’s/new-and-may-open-someday Ignazio’s Pizza — is hot and cold.

Literally.

On the ground floor is Restore Cryotherapy. Clients step into chambers chilled to minus 220 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s an adrenaline-surging, toxins-removing, endorphin-producing way to burn calories, reduce pain and enhance endurance.

Right above it is a new tenant: Westport Hot Yoga.

That’s exactly like it sounds. You do all your yoga stuff — stretching, breathing, concentrating, posturing, working out — in a room super-heated to between 95 and 105 degrees.

It’s as energizing and relaxing as cryotherapy.

A recent session in the new Westport Hot Yoga space.

The studio — which opened July 4 — is not new. For nearly a decade, it operated as Fairfield Hot Yoga.

Owners Abbey Chase and Richard Failla moved here from the Sportsplex for a few reasons.

Both have long local roots. Many of their clients came from Westport. And while the Fairfield location was a hot, windowless box, their new space has a view. Granted, it’s the Post Road, but if you’re going to sweat like that it’s still better than 4 walls.

Chase is a single mom, with 3 kids going through the local schools. Failla is a former Westport police officer now working part-time as a traffic agent.

Rich Failla and Abbey Chase, in Westport Hot Yoga.

Hot yoga attracts a wide range of people. Some are in middle school. Some are in their 70s. About 30% are male.

The sweet spot, Chase says, is women 35 to 60 years old. They add yoga to their routines, to balance their other activities.

Hot yoga also appeals to people who have had knee or hip replacements, shoulder surgery or back issues, Failla says.

Westport Hot Yoga offers a variety of classes, of different lengths (and heat levels). There’s bikram, power vinyasa, and low-impact, high-intensity interval training.

The studio gets hot, sure. But the heat can be sucked out, enabling Chase and Failla to offer something here they could not in Fairfield: unheated yoga.

With Chase’s kids involved in Staples sports, she knows several Staples coaches. She’s talked with the school’s trainers about offering stretching classes for Wrecker athletes.

She and Failla are excited about their move. Their many Westport connections will serve them well here.

Early feedback is positive. Several people said the new space has “great energy.”

Between yoga and cryotherapy, the strip mall by the Sherwood Island connector is definitely hot.

And cool.

(The official grand opening is tomorrow [Friday, July 12, 5 p.m.] There’s wine, cheese and raffle prizes — including from Westport Hot Yoga’s neighbors Restore Cryotherapy and Shearwater Coffee.)

 

Cop Hot Yoga

If you’re a typical motorcycle cop, you may spend your hours off watching football or TV.

If you’re Richard Failla, you teach yoga classes in a 105-degree room — in a studio you own.

Failla — in his 25th year on the Westport force — is clearly not your typical motorcycle cop.

Richard Failla, hard at work.

He’s spent his life around bikes — he rode his first motorcycle at 8, and is a former racer — but he says the course he took to be certified in Westport was “the hardest one I ever took.”

Nine years ago, his dog sitter suggested he take a yoga class.

“Immediately, I got addicted,” Failla says.  “It was winter, it was cold — the heated room warmed me up quickly.”

It was also physically challenging.  Failla had played soccer at Shelton High School — and later lifted weights, did martial arts and ran — but this was waaay more demanding.

Most importantly, yoga relaxed him.  It gave him peace of mind.

He became co-owner of a studio.  Last January he opened his own:  Fairfield Hot Yoga, on Mill Plain Road in Fairfield.

It’s where Failla now spends much of his free time.  He teaches many of the Bikram-style classes — that’s when the studio is the hottest, and the focus is on stretching — as well as 6 Vinyasa classes (the room is a mere 95 degrees; the focus is on strengthening the upper body and core).

Adult classes are 90 minutes long.  Failla also offers 45-minute (unheated) classes for children, ages 5 to 11.

Morning classes attract “mostly soccer moms.”  In the evenings, it’s primarily commuters coming from the nearby station.

Last year, the Fairfield Ludlowe High School girls lacrosse team took classes.  They won the state championship.  This year he’s training the school’s girls basketball team.

Despite owning a yoga studio, though, he’s still a cop.  What do his fellow officers think?

“They tease me a lot,” Failla admits.  “I just tell them, take a free class.  I’ll show you what it’s like.”

Five cops — 4 men, 1 woman — are regulars.  They quickly learned how demanding it is — and they keep coming back for more.

Do his yoga clients know about Failla’s day job?

“Yeah,” he laughs.  “I’ve stopped several of them!”

He did not say whether he gave them tickets.  Or just worked them even harder the next time they came to the studio.