Yoga, but not as you know it

I am most definitely a wannabe yoga bunny – in theory. But I always prefer to leave a fitness class dripping in sweat than relaxed.

However, every now and then (usually when I have been stressed at work and/or struggling with DOMS) I book into a yoga class for the future, to force me to take some time out and do something different.

This weekend, I went to the only place I will ever go for an enjoyable yoga experience (aside from Amante Beach Club www.amanteibiza.com/homepage  in Ibiza!) and that’s Yogasphere’s City branch at Matt Roberts’ gym near Bank (www.yogasphere.eu), specifically the class that Olivia Marley (Instagram: yogawitholivia) teaches on a Saturday morning. As it’s a weekend, the City is dead, which means your head is already in the right place for an hour of yoga.

Atmosphere: Matt Roberts’ gym is as luxurious as you might expect: the changing rooms contain gorgeous Percy and Reed products for relaxing post-class, and the room is spacious. However, I think it would be a nice touch if some background music was added.

For the yoga itself, this is conducted in a single-room studio, where the yoga mats are spread in the middle of the room which is otherwise dominated with gym equipment (pictured). The mats are close together but, as you are focusing solely on you this doesn’t bother me too much.

Content: Olivia’s Saturday Yogasphere class is a mixed level Vinyasa yoga class, meaning that, after warming up, you move from one pose to the next, coordinating the flow with your breath.

As I am very much a yoga novice, there are two things that I love about Olivia’s class that differentiates her from other yoga instructors, and that keep me coming back (oh, and that she has a fantastic yoga-given figure is a great bit of motivation too!)

  1. Each pose is offered to you in stages. If you can’t progress to the next stage, you can easily remain at a more basic version of the pose. For example, at the end of the class we graduated to Bird of Paradise pose but, as Olivia explained each part of the pose step-by-step, the room was all posed into different variations that suited them as an individual, rather than the class as a whole.
  2. Olivia has a very relaxed attitude towards instructing. She will often be laughing as she explains the pose, and has never once forced anyone into a pose that they do not feel comfortable in. So many yoga instructors force bodies into positions that they aren’t ready to do, meaning that would-be yoga converts are scared off from returning for a second class.

Rest is offered between poses in the form of child’s pose, downward dog or, for those of us who want to keep moving (me!), a downward dog that progresses into a plank, and then a backbend. And, of course, at the end of the 60 minute class, there is the lovely Savasana section, before you head back into the real world.

Because I chose the constant movement “rest option”, I was moving for the whole hour, toning muscles in a different way to a spin class or boxing class would offer. However, I didn’t realise this until the following day, when my arms ached more than they would do after an hour of boxing! Not only was I very relaxed for the rest of the day, I realised how hard my body had worked holding the poses once the ache set in. This has absolutely convinced me to rebook. Maybe I will be a yoga bunny after all…

Sweat-rating: 1* but as I have mentioned, this doesn’t mean your body isn’t working

Studio quality (amenities): 4* (quite small so can’t offer anything)

Music quality: N/A so this would be a good offering

Smoothie quality: N/A

Overall rating: 4*

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