I, like most women in their mid Twenties, has dipped in and out of yoga since I turned eighteen. Fusion classes for sixth form (Body Balance!), massive group session for £3 at university (those were the days) and a couple of experimental ‘try one free’ classes since I moved to London (including the one with the yoga fascist teacher, the one with the fainting, and the one with the props). I really, really want to be one of those people who manages three classes each week between lunch breaks and organised after work dashes, but alas, the inevitable lack of cash and time mean it isn’t possible, especially in London where the price of a class is usually half way to a new outfit from Whistles.
Recently however, I have managed to sustain fidelity with one yoga centre, and not just rely on the ‘who has an offer on’ school of intermittent yoga-ing I used to subscribe to. Ok so I can only manage classes twice a month thanks to the hourly fee and my frequently lack of spare cash, but when I go it’s really, really good.
The place? Triyoga centre in Chelsea, off the ever-trendy (and ever-smug) King’s Road. Ok so I often feel like a fraud walking into the what can only be described as the height of yogic smugness – all incense, ‘no shoe and phone’ policy and impossibly toned women in high-tech outfits, but it is a really friendly place, filled with teachers and staff that Know Their Stuff and an amazing schedule of classes throughout the day, every day.
My class of choice, after a few easygoing refresher sessions, is Ashtanga. The more physical form of yoga, the foundation of the ancient system, discovered by the late Sri T. Krishnamacharya and his disciple Pattabhi Jois in the 1930s, involves a series of set postures practised in sequence (vinyasa). Triyoga recommend a certain level of fitness before starting Ashtanga, and they’re not wrong – I’ve always exercised as part of my routine, yet one hour leaves me wrung out, with every muscle throbbing.
I think if you work in an office, at a desk, and have a tenuous relationship with your posture, a yoga class is worth a try. I suffer with tight neck, shoulders and back and yet plenty of the poses relieve tension like a massage or gym workout just don’t. The other good thing about yoga is that it is suitable for all levels, all ages and all types of body. I have rock hard hamstrings and virtually no movement in my shoulders yet I manage poses that I never would have thought I would, and I can feel myself getting better at them every time. The teachers at Triyoga (particular the fantastic Michael from Sunday’s Ashtanga) are all great at working you to your ability, pushing when you can take it and giving all sorts of posture options for the beginner up to the advanced three-times-a-weeker.
If you haven’t tried yoga, give it a try sometime, I particular recommend Triyoga Chelsea for its attitude towards combining yoga with your life, and for being welcoming for easily intimidated beginners.
*disclaimer, the picture of the below is of course, not me. But we all need a little yogic inspiration don’t we?