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Evolation Yoga studio features Bikram yoga; Gaspar's Grotto to upgrade kitchen

PALMA CEIA — As summer approaches and the temperature rises, most people tend to head indoors to escape the heat — not become one with it.

But heated studios are a big part of the new Evolation Yoga, where the extra warmth — as much as 105 degrees — loosens the muscles and aids in what owner and founder Mark Drost calls "detox" (That would be sweat).

Drost plans to open at least three Evolation Yoga studios in the Tampa Bay area in the coming year, including one at 2825 S MacDill Ave. that should be ready by May 1.

"Evolation" is a melding of evolution, elation and elevation, according to Drost, who has two studios in New York and one that recently opened in the Aqua­stone Well Spa in St. Petersburg.

The studios offer a yoga style that is based on Bikram yoga, which is commonly known as "hot yoga." It is based on the teachings of yoga guru Bikram Choudhury. But Evolation classes will incorporate "the whole lineage" of yoga techniques introduced to the west by the late yoga guru Paramahansa Yogananda, Drost said.

"We're taking Bikram as a foundation and adding meditation, breathing and some other classes that are more accessible," Drost said.

The range of classes will include some hot and some not: a 90-minute, 105-degree class; a 60-minute, 90-degree class and a 30-minute meditation class in a room that's of more normal temperature.

Practicing hot yoga in Florida is less strange than it seems, Drost said, while admitting that the classes are very popular during upstate New York winters.

"Everybody I know who practices in the summer in the heated indoor environment is better able to deal with the heat in Florida," said Drost, whose first yoga studio was a Bikram studio that he opened in West Palm Beach in 2001. "It's a more controlled environment. It's hot, but you sweat profusely and it becomes a detox."

A single class is $17, but Evolation offers a variety of packages, including 30 classes for four months ($300) and a year of unlimited classes ($1,200).

The company's Web site is evolationyoga.com.

Gaspar's Grotto to add an upgraded kitchen

The word "grotto" means small cave or cavern, and certainly doesn't imply anything sleek. But a sleek kitchen is what they're getting at Gaspar's Grotto, the Ybor City venue that is undergoing a $300,000 renovation that should be finished by mid April.

The new kitchen is long overdue for a restaurant and bar that can serve more than 600 at a time for a private party, said owner Eric Schiller.

"We're a notorious pirate bar," Schiller said. "We're an event venue, an entertainment venue. We wear a lot of hats and serve all kinds of people."

Since opening Gaspar's Grotto in 2003, Schiller and his wife and co-owner, Shere Schiller, have been living with an "old kitchen that's kind of like an expanded beer can," he said. It's a relic from when the bar was a nightclub in the early 1990s. "We've taken that about as far as we can go."

Last year, the Schillers' friend and well-known Tampa chef Jeannie Pierola developed a new menu for Gaspar's Grotto, so the time seemed right for an upgrade. The new kitchen will be housed in a shotgun-style structure that is being built behind the restaurant in accordance to the requirements of the Barrio Latino Commission.

The large patio, too, is getting a makeover, with decidedly un-cave-like misters, heaters, shade and other niceties being added so it can be used comfortably year-round.

Gaspar's Grotto, at 1805 E Seventh Ave., is open daily from 11 a.m. to 3 a.m., and serves its Sunday "Booze Cruise Brunch" from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Web site is gasparsgrotto.com.

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Evolation Yoga studio features Bikram yoga; Gaspar's Grotto to upgrade kitchen

03/25/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 24, 2010 7:29pm]

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