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Calling all my fellow yogis! I LOVE yoga, don’t you? It’s so diverse. There are so many variations, so many new things to try! When I first started yoga (almost a decade ago) it wasn’t so wide spread and mainstream; it was a lot more alternative and less well received. Now, thanks to this new burst of health kicks in the media, and with a little help from social platforms like Instagram, yoga has become a cool way of keeping fit, socialising, getting in touch with your spirituality, and all round having fun.
If you love yoga, here are a few things you should try:
Much like it says on the tin, aerial yoga is yoga but in the air. Well, not exactly. Suspended from the ceiling in silk hammocks, aerial yoga takes the flow of a yoga class and gives it flight, including impressive inversions and with the help of your hammock, helping you push further into your stretches than ever before. I took one aerial yoga class two years ago and fell in love. I instantly enrolled in a Teacher Training programme; I already taught yoga and I have a circus arts background, so the aerial side really appealed to me! This is my favourite form of yoga. Period. Everyone should try it.
When I did my pilates teacher training I have to admit, I did not immediately love the practice. For me, pilates is slightly more regimented than yoga. Yoga has a peaceful flow to it whereas pilates is a lot more core and strength focused. I was recently injured and actually found myself starting to fall more in love with my pilates classes than my yoga! Pilates and yoga are always lumped together, but in actual fact they are very different. Both concentrate on breath, and that’s about where it ends. With yoga I feel like there is more freedom to adapt and create whereas pilates is amazing if you want to correct your posture and alignment and work on your pelvic floor and core stability.
This is definitely not for everyone, and if the smell of other people's sweat is particularly offensive to you, maybe give it a miss. I went through about a year of being completely obsessed with Bikram. The premise of the class is a 90 minute flow of asana; the postures stay the same for every class and the pose is held twice, for a minute each time, in sauna levels of heat. These classes are usually jam packed and generally people are wearing underwear. You pour sweat, and I mean pour.
The first time I went, I didn't take a change of clothes and I left looking like I'd just jumped into a swimming pool fully clothed—it was horrendous. But I was obsessed from day one. You may feel light headed during the class so just lay down and breathe. I did pass out once, but I was stupid and hadn't drunk enough water that day. It is recommended you sip water at intervals, do not down a whole bottle during the class. If you are brave, give this a go.
Abandoning the traditional yoga style, boxing yoga was born in a boxing gym and instead merges boxing techniques with a 60 minute flow of yoga asana! This little known pocket of the yoga world is practiced by athletes and yogis alike, and the platform is growing, slowly but surely.
This is one for the Londoners. Loaded yoga is basically yoga in urban settings all around the capital, to the sounds of Drum n Bass. Personally this is my dream yoga class—maybe not so much for those of you that want to chill and get your 'om' on. But if you're looking for your yoga workout with a London twist, give Loaded Yoga a go.
Yin is one of my favourite types of yoga, a slow and passive form of practice that gets deep in to the postures. A Yin yoga class usually consists of a series of long-held, passive floor poses that mainly work the lower part of the body—the hips, pelvis, inner thighs, lower spine. These areas are especially rich in connective tissues.
Forget about fast paced Ashtanga and sweaty Bikram; Yin is slow and peaceful and relaxing, deepening your stretching and allowing you to melt into the poses during the long hold. Yin, I find, really helps me connect my breathing to my practice in a way that other yoga forms don't. It has a deeper and more personal feel to it.
OK so... I can't help but feel this might be a joke? BUT apparently it's not! Frozen yoga, also known as Snowga, is... yep... yoga in the snow, often accompanied by winter sports. I work for a company that delivers outdoors exercise programmes in London. Last year I taught yoga outside, all year; the coldest was -1 at 7 PM in a park in London. It was excruciatingly unpleasant and near impossible to do anything that even vaguely resembled yoga in temperatures that low... so I'm not really sure how this will work... but... it kind of looks cool? And I believe in trying everything at least once!