By Matt Newman, staff teacher and studio construction project coordinator
Many people have been asking about the safety of our Yoga room in the present circumstances. As many of you know, I am passionate about air quality, so I wanted to take some time to lay out the facts of our solution and how it compares to the “norm” because we have something extraordinary and unique to Bikram Yoga San Jose.
When we designed the system, we did not start with the typical requirements of heat and humidity but rather focused our entire design around Indoor Environment Quality (IEQ). This led to a great deal of focus on air quality and airflow. The conclusion was we wanted a lot more air and far better quality than is typical.
How much more?
In normal operation, we have 3-1/2 times the recommended airflow, capable of refreshing all the air in the room almost eight times per hour.
How much better?
Viral and other organic contaminants were something we wanted to eliminate – increasing airflow automatically and significantly improves the situation, however, we wanted to go much further, and so we installed a special ultraviolet UV-C/PCO technology used at hospitals in recovery wards and ICU, and other places where IEQ really matters, to deactivate and filter out over 98% of viral load, compared with less than 10% for typical filters.
Why that big fan in the room? Should I be concerned?
Hell no! That HVLS (high volume, low speed) fan is your best friend! It is an integral part of the whole air system to ensure no stale or potentially contaminated air lingers in the room, but rather is exhausted to the outside as soon as possible.
What happens to my exhaled air before it leaves the room?
When you exhale, the vast majority of air droplets you expel will hit the floor before they have traveled six feet – this is one of the reasons we maintain social distance.
Also, your exhale gets greatly diluted by the room – as long as the air is being refreshed – hence airflow is so important.
Additionally, viral load has a half-life in the air – it doesn’t last forever, and in very hot environments will die much faster than normal 70-degree Fahrenheit environments.
Is there still a risk?
Of course – if you leave your house your risk increases. And only you can assess the level of risk you are willing to take to navigate life and balance your considerations.
When the County and State assess the risk for gyms and yoga studios is acceptable they will allow us to open.
However, my one resounding message in all of this is that BYSJ specifically is far safer than the average facility, exactly because we prioritized the indoor environment and air quality in every aspect of our design.
Bottom line: more fresh air = a healthier environment
Think outdoors – tons of air, gentle breeze always keeping the air around you fresh.
I would also like to thank Jack Zarour – one of our members, and a world-class veteran mechanical engineer expert in the design of pharmaceutical clean rooms, who helped us design this solution.