To say I’m not a fan of anything remotely sporty would be an understatement. Every atom of my being screams out in opposition to any attempt at exercise. But yoga had always been a wishful fancy of mine, in a beachy, romantic, meditative sort of way.
The closest I’d ever got to actually doing it, though, was settling down to watch ten minutes of Geri Halliwell’s yoga DVD with a packet of chocolate digestives.
So it was with some trepidation that I made my way to the Om Tribe Yoga Studio in Canary Wharf to sample the delights of Hot Power yoga. The studio itself is brand new, tucked away in a quiet courtyard in the heart of Canary Wharf. Not ideal for those working centrally like me, but a great location if you’re based in the area.
The changing rooms and facilities were lovely and the whole place had a feeling of warmth and positivity; a refreshing change from the sometimes clinical feel of some gyms or exercise studios.
I laid out my mat at the back by the wall and sat somewhat nervously as everyone else stretched rather professionally or sat meditating with legs crossed and eyes closed. Little did I know that I’d be so inspired by the session I’d borrow a pile of meditation books from the library, and by the next time I’d be doing some practice of my own!
Having heard people rave about Bikram yoga as the latest big thing I was curious to see how Hot Power yoga differed. For starters, the room is heated to only 28 degrees rather than Bikram’s considerably sweatier 40 degrees. Plus, Bikram is a set sequence of moves repeated in the same order each time, while each Power yoga class is different and the poses are held for a shorter period.
Our instructor’s primary focus was very much on breathing and he wandered around adjusting our positions without letting us become too bogged down in getting them perfect.
The main thing was keeping the breathing going constantly and as loudly as you liked. It was quite refreshing to make noise and by the session two I had completely got into the breathing without having to be reminded. We were told that the steady breaths would create a heat inside us which would make the positions come more naturally, and it certainly helped clear my mind of its normal barrage of thoughts.
I had been concerned about being a total novice, but just as the class had been advertised, it really was for all levels. We were encouraged to try out the poses but not to worry if we couldn’t do them or had to do a less challenging version.
I was slightly put off by an enviably tanned, lean and exercise-toned yogi bending herself into complex knots right next to me but equally there were plenty of wobbly candidates which made me feel better about my slightly embarrassing performance.
I was surprised by how intense the workout was – we were constantly switching between poses, springing down onto the mat, jumping out of downward dog and tensing muscles I wasn’t aware of having. By the end my body was completely and utterly exhausted but my mind was energised and I felt calmer on a different level.
Two sessions and I’m hooked. People aren’t wrong when they say it’s addictive.
Om Tribe also offer Vinyasa flow, Jivamukti and Power Vinyasa at the studio. Visit the website here for more information.
Om Tribe Yoga Studio
123 Cannon Workshops