Everybody has a yoga class to get to these days and it seems London has taken to yoga with the same infection as having your morning coffee in a paper cup! With everybody raving about its benefits with the same excitement as their crazy coloured active clothing I thought I would give it a try.
As with every good four week challenge I set myself out a plan. As I had only ever been to a couple of Yoga classes before I thought it best to increase my yoga sessions week by week and attend mainly beginner classes to learn the basic techniques.
I started by purchasing ‘Yoga Bible For Beginner’s‘ book.This book talks about the potential benefits of practicing yoga and gives clear and detailed directions for a variety of yoga poses.
I then set about booking myself in for some local classes. In order to get a good overview of the different practices of yoga I went to a few studios and sessions within London to see what this Yoga obsessed city has to offer.
So I thought I would start with a fun class and I literally had no idea what to expect. What I definitely didn’t expect was to find out that the class was being filmed by an Australian TV Crew who were doing a documentary on the bizarre things people do with beer!!
The class was held in the basement bar area of Trapeze Bar in Shoreditch and we were all given an ice cold beer before we started our practice. The room we did the yoga in wasn’t ideal, I mean at the end of the day it was a bar and the bright red lights and sticky floor didn’t really induce a meditative state.
The idea behind the class was to bring our love of beer and yoga together by using mindfulness practice when focusing on the movement of the beer by way of moving it and taking sips during the practice. It was all a bit of fun, especially when we had to negotiate balancing it on our head, and I did feel very relaxed when leaving the class, although I think that was more to do with the beer than the yoga itself.
These classes currently run at £12 each. Great novelty class to do with friends, just not one that I would return to on a regular basis!
I have always found dancing whilst suspended in the air beautiful to watch, the moves look more fluid and dream like when not touching the floor. I had never done an antigravity yoga class before but was really intrigued to see how this dance like yoga could work.
We started off the class bare foot with our own suspended silk like hammock that was adjusted to our height by our instructor. We then started with a few warm up exercises before working into more advanced moves. A lot of the techniques had a couple of different levels so you had the choice of a beginners move or, if you felt more confident extending it so the class could cater for any level of ability.
It was really fun and as you became more confident with being suspended I really fell in love with the practice. I actually managed to flip myself completely over! It reminded me of being a child and holding my dad’s hands as I ran up his legs and flipped over to land on my feet. I felt really childlike and as soon as I’d done it once I wanted to do it again and again.
The best part of the class was the meditation at the end! You completely cocoon yourself in the hammock and lie there gently rocking as the lights go out and you listen to meditative music.
Classes start at £15 per class per person but the studio offers lots of different packages if you wanted to try some other dance and fitness classes. Neither me or my friend wanted the class to end so I would highly recommend you try it out.
Unfortunately, I don’t live by a beach so that blissful ideal of yoga with the sea waves moving in the background and the warm summers heat rising against my skin is just a holiday goal so when I saw this advertised I had to give it a try. Maybe a giant 32nd story conservatory might be the next best thing!!
Sunrise yoga runs through half the year from March to October during the warmer months and the other half of the year they run HIT classes with the option of breakfast as well.
The yoga class itself was a little overbooked for the space available so it was a little cramped, you need to bring your own mats and in hindsight arrive early to get a decent spot. The very fact that I had got myself and my friends out on a Saturday morning for a class that began at 08:00 was a win I never thought I’d see, getting them there early would be as likely as the sun spontaneously rising over us from the west!!
Due to these slightly cramped conditions it was difficult to hear the instructor despite her mic set. This meant that I couldn’t completely relax into the class as I was constantly looking around me to figure out what I was suppose to be doing. This was all made better by the rising sun as we practiced and absolutely spectacular by the breakfast selection.
The breakfast was amazing!! A continental assortment of croissants, pastry’s, cereal, yogurt, fruit and as much tea and coffee that you could consume. We sat there after the class for two hours chatting and putting the world to rights. There’s a pretty amazing feeling when you’ve exercised, socialised and feel full to the brim with food and look down at your watch to find its only 11:00 AM and you’ve got your whole day ahead of you!!
The Yoga and breakfast was £20 and £10 for just the Yoga class but I would highly recommend the breakfast option as I ate way over my daily allowance of calories that morning and nobody wants a dose of food envy when passing those pastries on your way out!!
As I hadn’t really done much yoga before this challenge I thought I would take the time to check out some of the beginner’s classes so that I could learn some of the techniques slowly so that I didn’t end up in a class where I couldn’t balance on one leg and they’d be asking me to do handstands.
Frame offer a range of different yoga classes and at the weekend there were a couple of basics classes for the newcomers to the practice.
The studio itself is super funky and offers changing facilities and lockers. The class provides all the equipment you would need and is designed to teach you the basic principles of yoga so that you don’t find yourself getting lost in the main classes.
The class itself was really relaxed and slow pace and the instructor was really supportive in checking your posture and re-adjusting you when necessary. Its definitely a class I would recommend before you go into a main class as it really helps build your strength, flexibility and confidence with the practice of yoga.
What I loved at the end was during our meditation the instructor came around and pressed our shoulders into the ground with what smelt like lavender essential oil on her hands!! So relaxing!!
Basic Yoga classes are currently £12 for a 60-minute class and you can finish with a smoothie from their smoothie bar to really kick-start your day.
This studio was by far the most beautiful I have been to during my month of yoga. The studio itself is set down a gravel alley way out of the way of the London hustle and bustle by Battersea park. As you went inside it was so stunningly decorated with incense sticks burning that I felt the task of relaxation had been completed before I even began the class.
The studio felt like home from home yoga with facilities to help yourself to tea and biscuits and a really kind and friendly instructor who made you feel completely at ease. The studio is set separate from their other studio so there are no interruptions from other classes happening nearby and offers a cosy changing area so you don’t have to attend in your yoga gear if you don’t wish to.
The class itself was relaxed and slow pace and focused a lot on breathing techniques and getting your postures just right. I felt it working on my strength and flexibility with a real acceptance that everybody there would practice at a level that was comfortable for them.
Memberships are available but you can also book for individual classes. This is definitely a studio that I would return to as I came away feeling like I was walking on a cloud.
This class is specifically designed for stretching out our muscles after sitting at a desk for hours on end. The class caters for all levels of yogis so don’t be put off if you’re a complete beginner.
Set in a basement studio I did get lost trying to find it but that was probably less to do with their studio location and more to do with my lack of navigation skills. The studio itself felt very luxurious and had a variety of pukka teas to help yourself to pre and post class which I always appreciate. All of the equipment was available for you to use as well as changing and shower facilities.
The class itself was 1hr and 15mins long and really focused on stretching and strength at a slow relaxed pace, which is exactly what you need at the end of a long workday. We even got to practice handstands against a wall/mirror which I don’t think I’ve done since I was 8 and that really brought everybody’s energy up.
The instructor was really knowledgeable and the meditation at the end of the class was gorgeous. The lights were turned off and the only light was coming from the candles burning on the window ledge. Really gorgeous end to your day.
Classes start from £16 and there is also packages on offer if you wanted to go back for more. Highly recommended.
This was another fun yoga class offered by funzing which sounded too exciting to miss. The class itself offers a chance to put glitter on your face, an hours disco themed yoga with a cocktail to finish. What’s not to love right.
The class was based in the basement of Trapeze bar in Shoreditch which unfortunately offered the same sticky floor as beer yoga. All yoga moves were slightly changed to incorporate its disco theme and music but I found myself feeling more awkward than relaxed when shaking my bum in the air to the ‘downward disco dog’!
Disco yoga was a bit of a laugh but to me it’s a novelty experience I’ve ticked off my list. Great as a one off class you attend with your friends but not a class I would return to with regularity.
Each class is currently priced at £17 each with a gorgeous cocktail to finish!!
For the rest of the Yoga week I completed a lot of at home workouts that I literally just used you tube for. They are never the same as doing an actual class but attending several classes a week can be expensive so just google the free ones to keep up your practice at home in-between classes. I increased my practice form starting at 4 times a week and working up to my last week practicing every morning.
What I most loved about yoga was the meditation at the end of the practice. You don’t feel exhausted from the exercise but completely revitalised to begin your day. I now meditate regularly following my meditation 4-week-challenge and yoga offers both yoga and meditation in one.
Not only did my strength and flexibility increase massively even in just a few weeks but I also felt a really positive impact of my mental health too. We all need to take care of our body and mind and for me this practice offers both in abundance. This is a practice that I have fallen in love with completely and will continue to do consistently from hear on out.