Funky Buddha Brings the Heat

By Jane Whitttington on October 31st, 2015 / Comments

Yoga has been around for a while. In fact, history tells us that the practice, which began in India, has been around since 600 BC. Considered a physical, mental and spiritual tradition, yoga encompasses a wide range of disciplines, philosophies and physical exercises, all aiming to improve flexibility and strength while also calming the mind.

When Chris and Kerri Reinbold moved to Grand Rapids from Madison, Wisconsin, they found that, while the area had many yoga studios, none offered what they had enjoyed in Madison—hot yoga. And since it didn’t exist, they decided to make it happen. They founded Funky Buddha Yoga Hothouse in 2010, and it was an immediate success. Since then, they have expanded to Holland (in 2012) and Forest Hills (in 2013).

According to Chris Reinbold, “Hot yoga started in California about 20 years ago, but it has taken longer to catch on in other parts of the country. “

He continues, “Hot yoga is really no different than regular yoga except that it is practiced in a room heated to 95 degrees with 40 percent humidity. The humidity level goes up as the class progresses, but the temperature remains constant. Participants get all the benefit of yoga plus, due to the heat, they feel looser and less stiff, and it’s easier to stretch so that flexibility is increased and there is less injury. “

A variety of classes, usually lasting 60-75 minutes, is offered. These include Absolute Beginners Class, Hot Yoga Basics, Power Vinyasa (yoga which flows in coordination with the breath), Asana (yoga done to music), Slow Flow, Flowtation, and Stand-Up Paddleboarding (a summer-time only class done at Reed’s Lake in East Grand Rapids). All the classes are described more fully on their website at

In addition, Funky Buddha offers community classes for only $5. The money raised in these classes is donated to community partners. For 2015-2016, these non-profits include Outdoor Discovery Center, Urban Roots, The Spoke Folds, Arts InMotion Studios and GR Creative Youth Center.

Chris Reinbold says, “To be the most beneficial, students should practice yoga three to five times a week. It only takes a little while to get used to the heat in the yoga room. We tell our students that all they have to bring is themselves, a yoga mat, a towel and plenty of water.”

Chris has a background as an entrepreneur, and he is the business side of Funky Buddha. Kerri is the one who hires, trains and oversees instructors, making sure the quality remains at the highest level.

Chris says that he and his wife researched and planned for about a year before actually opening their yoga studio. Located in the Eastown area of Grand Rapids, which is often described as the “hippest neighborhood in GR”, the building where Funky Buddha resides has been LEED Silver certified.

Chris says, “The building was almost empty when we found it and was not suited to our needs in its condition at the time. We completely built out the space to accommodate our particular specifications. Since we have been here, the area is really evolving, and there are lots of great businesses here. Our Holland studio was converted from a space used for barbershop quartets, and the Forest Hills location is new construction. “

Currently, Funky Buddha employs 16 with that number continuing to rise. Chris says that in the five years they’ve been in business, they have had over 25,000 yoga students in their classes.

Chris says, “We are committed to continuous improvement and innovation. It’s not enough to establish a successful business—you have to continue to evolve. We believe in providing our customers the highest quality experience, and that will continue to be our motivation and our goal going forward.”

About the Author

Jane Whitttington

Jane Whitttington

Jane Whitttington is a freelance writer and editor who lives in Grand Rapids. A Michigan native and Michigan State University grad, she enjoys reading, travel, politics and volunteering.