An introduction to Glow Yoga
Yoga: the secret of the slender and serene or just a lot of hippies moaning and bending into funny positions? Katie Gormley, of women's sports magazine Sportsister, tried her hand, and various other body parts, at the newest yoga trend, Glow Yoga...
There are many versions of this discipline and I’ve tried quite a few, so am fairly well versed when it comes to yogic lingo and manoeuvres, which is probably why Sportsister HQ suggested I visit the new glow yoga class to see just what its all about.
So what is it all about?
There are so many different types of yoga, it’s hard to keep track from the hardcore Ashtanga and Bikram, to the more mellow Hatha, as well as all sorts of spin-offs and interpretations in between. The benefits of mindfulness, flexibility, strength and wellbeing are typical of all yoga studios so what makes glow yoga stand out?
The key differentiating factor is the environment. Infra red panels create a warm and nurturing environment. The studio’s website lists the benefits of this light to include reducing muscle stiffness and increasing weight loss. The infrared lighting is also documented to help relieve SAD, giving you all the benefits of a sunny day, which on a rainy and grey Sunday in March is very appealing.
What do you actually do?
If I was going to put forward a really concise description I’d just say this is vinyasa yoga, in a dark, warm room.
In terms of movement the class is much like any other of this genre and postures are taken from a combination of hatha yoga and pilates. The sequence of movements is designed to encourage you to focus on the present state and breath as you ‘flow’ from one to the other. The sequence is designed to encourage harmony in the body and mind as well as strength, tone and flexibility.
I do a fair bit of yoga but still managed to be rather ‘unflowing’ at various stages of the class. It’s always the breathing that stumps me more than the moves. However, nobody seemed to be laughing in my face, which is always a bonus. In fact, everyone was just quietly engrossed in their own practice; a good sign of a serious yoga studio.
What did I think?
I attended the ‘bliss yoga’ class, the focus of which is relaxation and harmony between body and mind. None of these states come naturally to me. I struggle with keeping still and can only really relax in a “savasana” (aka. lying down still or ‘corpse’) if I’ve really worked the posture beforehand.
However in terms of zen environments this is about as calming as you can get. Looking around the class it’s clear that the effect of the diptique candles, the teacher’s calm and melodious voice, and the infra-red glow has created a relaxed state of calm sedation.
After the class my fellow classmates shared their feelings of total calm and a completely balancing experience setting them up for the week ahead (this class was on a Sunday afternoon).
How does it make you feel?
My normal exercise routine is fairly intense, so while I was in the class I couldn’t ignore the nagging feeling that I wasn’t really doing anything. However, for the next couple of days I realised that this was a total fallacy as my legs and torso were clearly telling me a different story.
And with their warm sunny glow my fellow classmates certainly seemed full of the joys of spring but for me, maybe I just need a few more visits.
Who can do it?
Anyone. Absolute beginners can start with the foundation series or a beginners course in which the basic poses are taught. Those who have done any sort of yoga before can go straight into any of the glow flow classes.
What to wear?
Anything light, that you can move in. The room is warm but this isn’t ‘hot’ yoga – you may want a light long sleeved layer to remove while in the class as your body warms up.
How much does it cost?
There is an introductory offer of £20 for 20 days giving you lots of opportunity to give the variety of classes a real go at a very reasonable rate. After this classes are £16 per time or you can buy blocks starting at 10 for £120.
The six weeks beginners course is £85.
Where is it?
Glow Yoga is the first of its kind in Europe and is located Good Vibes, in central London in Covent Garden, 14 – 16 Betterton Street , London WC2H 9BU.
Bliss Yoga is run twice a week and is a 60 minute long class. There are a range of classes at the studio from 45 minute ‘Flow to Go’ to the more extensive ‘Deep Flow’ 90 minute class.
Glow yoga is one of the strands on offer at ‘Good Vibes’ studios. With a focus on ‘integrated health’ this group provide yoga, pilates and power plate classes to the frazzled London masses.
More info: www.goodvibesfitness.co.uk