Even the most devoted yogis can overdose on downward dogs now and again. Spice up your yoga routine with one of London’s best alternative yoga classes. We tried out everything from stretching in the buff to Hip Hop salutations and colour therapy back bends. Find out what type of yoga is best for you…
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Naked Yoga with Doria
Best for: Conquering fears, releasing inhibitions and cultivating body positivity
If you’re nervous before a presentation, the advice is often to picture the room full of people fully naked. But what if you find yourself in a room full of nude strangers (men and women of all ages), in downward dog no less? Or attempting a headstand. Does that make you nervous? Us too. But that’s why we loved it. The feeling of conquering that fear of getting your kit off in a room full of strangers was extremely liberating and a surreal experience. After the first five minutes of ‘oh my god I have no knickers on’ subsided, it was pretty easy to put the lack of clothes to the back of your mind, whilst instructor Doria led us through an intense Vinyasa flow session. The studio is a lovely cosy space, heated and scented with incense. 5 minutes from Clapham North Station. Matts are arranged in a semi-circle so no one is directly in front or behind you. The feeling of moving without a tight sports bra or restrictive leggings was also very freeing. Doria says: “While our society often equates being naked with sex, other cultures have found that being naked removes many social and economic barriers. It is also very freeing to move the body without the restriction of clothing, and yoga provides a great way to deepen body acceptance. Also, being naked can bring up many of our vulnerabilities. By facing these fears in the context of a safe and supportive community, we naturally become more grounded and comfortable with ourselves”. So what are you waiting for? Get naked! If the co-ed session is too much for you… Doria also runs candlelit women’s only sessions on Monday evenings. Watch Doria’s video explaining why she teaches naked yoga. Classes from £25.
Best for: Banishing Seasonal Affective Disorder and January Blues
This tiny studio in Shoreditch offers a one of a kind yoga experience. Classes combine light and colour therapy with brain stimulating soundscapes and bespoke natural scents to create an immersive, multi-sensory yoga experience. The classes are grounded in the latest scientific research into the effect that specific light frequencies can have on our body. Many scientific studies have been conducted to monitor the effects of monochromatic light on the human body and mind. One of the most common colours which affects our day to day routines is blue light. The advances in technology over the past 40 years has culminated in a influx of over exposure to blue light through laptops, smartphones, tv’s and tablets. This prolonged exposure to blue light has been scientifically proven to suppress the production of melatonin and subsequently interferes with our natural circadian rhythms. Suppression of melatonin at night can contribute to a wealth of emotional and physical problems; from insomnia, anxiety, S.A.D and even cancer.
ChromaYoga sets to address the imbalance in our lives by saturating ourselves in the colours we need to bring about positive change. Flooding the studio with hot pink, red, blue orange or yellow, each ChromaYoga class is held in an ergonomically designed room bathed in a specific colour of light. The teacher guides the class through a set of sequences that correspond to the healing properties of that colour. We tried the orange class on a particularly cold rainy day and it felt like doing yoga in a warm cosy womb-like space. Not only is orange light recommended for rebalancing your sleep cycle, it stimulates the cognitive part of the brain, reduces anxiety and promotes youthful, healthy skin by balancing collagen production. Who doesn’t want those added benefits to their yoga class?! Drop in from £13.
Fierce Grace Hot Yoga
Best for: Detoxifying the organs and dropping pounds
We tried out a class in the City branch of Fierce Grace – they have branches across London from Primrose Hill to Brixton. Fierce Grace offer a range of classes from more traditional relaxation focused flows, but also several that will help you torch serious calories such as Primal, where key foundation poses are coupled with a breath-led Warrior sequence, new poses, and groan-inducing core and arm strengthening. For those who want to take it up a notch further, WILD is a new cardio-yoga class that bridges the gap between conventional gym workouts and yoga. Combining Kundalini Yoga, Barre, resistance stretching, HIIT and Super Slow training to strengthen and sculpt every inch of your body. All in a stifling studio heated to 42 degrees – not for the faint hearted! Drop in from £13.
Yoga in the Walkways at Tower Bridge
Best for: Appreciating the London skyline
Kick-start the day with vinyasa flow yoga in the sky. Sometimes its easy to forget we live in one of the greatest cities in the world – let this sky high session revive your love for the big smoke. Strike the perfect pose, with the possibility of witnessing the magic of a Bridge lift. Back by popular demand, the sunrise vinyasa flow yoga classes take place on the high-level glass floor walkway, a thrilling 138ft above the River Thames. Designed to revitalise and recharge, the classes are open to all abilities and offer a unique setting to perfect the plank whilst taking in unrivalled panoramic views of the London skyline. The energetic early morning classes run from 7:30am – 8:20am on the third Wednesday of each month from 16 January to 19 June. Booking a class in advance is essential. The glass floor across each walkway, installed in 2014, comprises six panels, each weighing 530 kilograms, supported by a carbon steel framework weighing approximately 1,000 kilograms, and designed to withstand the weight equivalent of one elephant and two London Black Cabs! A mirror has been installed above the West Walkway – bringing a new dynamic to the view of the Thames and the bustling London life below. £25 per person (spaces are limited and booking is essential).
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