Blue Cow Yoga, Flow Yoga

THE BASICS: Blue Cow Yoga. YUM. Think Buddhas, incense, candles and ceiling drapes. Who knew that Zen was under a bank on Moorgate?

To find Blue Cow, you’ll need to look down the right hand side of actual Number 7 Moorgate- a sign should point you in the right direction. Down the metal steps and heaven awaits. Sign up to Blue Cow and your first WEEK of lessons is FREE!! You really being too kind to us, studio moo moo….

THE BITCHES: Carly & Nicola

THE CLASS: Nicola and I had met at a yoga bloggers event the previous weekend, and instantly bonded as, like, #TotesYogaBuddies. We have spent most of the last week talking about, like, #TotesYogaThings on Twitter, and we were both definitely in need of slowing down the brain and relaxing the body by the time our Friday night flow session at Blue Cow came around.

I had power walked to the class and made it with a few minutes to spare, with a sheen of sweat slicked over my forehead. Yay. Nicola mentioned that her day had been a challenging one and we both managed to have a quick chat about the general injustices in the world whilst I threw on my yogi trews. We’d signed up online previously and so although there was no booking system available for your first free class, the Friday night class was a relatively quiet one and there was space for us to grab a mat.

As we approached the studio, we saw a candle glowing inside, which caused us to look at each other happily exclaim “Oooooh! Candlelight!” Bless- we are so easily pleased! True it sounds like such a small thing, yet it was probably the most exciting thing one could hope to see when approaching a yoga studio in search of some Friday night downtime.

Inside was everything one would expect from a candlelit yoga studio; nice squishy manduka mats, incense, gentle and relaxing (and definitely not panpipe) music, and Pete our trainer looking like a happy little yogi at the front of the class.

A man in front of me was bending himself into the most eye-watering shape- Pete the teacher saw me watching in utter bewilderment, caught my eye and said “you’ll be doing that before you know it” with a cheeky laugh. This was all the reassurance I needed that we were about to be taught by a down-to-earth, friendly and fun teacher. Phew!

Nicola and I gave each other several impressed looks whilst we surveyed the studio- and I could feel that both of us had relaxed just by being in there. Now onto the good stuff- Yogatime! (Like Hammertime, but slower and without the big trousers…).

We moved through a set of sun salutations to warm us up and get the flow on the right track. Flow yoga tends to start with a medium speed warm-up, and then a relatively high paced practice. One of the reasons you move so fast through practice is because each move is synchronised with an inhale or an exhale… you have to move fast to keep breathing and yoga in sync.

This is what gives the yoga its flowing quality (and is also one of my favourite aspects of it). As you move faster, your breath obviously quickens, and so half of the meditative quality of flow is that you are concentrating on keeping your breath steady whilst moving in to different poses. It means that there is no time to think about your worries of the day- you are just there; flowing, moving, and being.

We took some time to work on balance and inversions in this class. These sorts of poses work during some classes, and then in others you just can’t manage to make your body do what you want it to. Pete reminded us to isolate this class from all others, and concentrate on achieving what we were able to, and nothing more. Your capabilities should be obeyed- yoga is a practice and not a competition!

Inversions (head and shoulder stands) were good fun, and although they look like you should practice 8 hours of yoga a day to be able to achieve them, Pete mentioned that the best way to get good at them was just to attempt them, even if we didn’t feel like we’d been yogis for long enough.

I love this positive kind of attitude, and I am chuffed to say that I managed my very first EVER rabbit pose in this class!! This is a baby headstand…. one that I have actually just stopped, mid-blogging, to recreate in my front room and ask my lovely,yet long-suffering housemate take a photo of. You can admire my new trick below!

I saw a similar photo of Nicola doing this recently- let's just say if we were to compare poses, she is a gazelle and I am a wilderbeast!

I saw a similar photo of Nicola doing this recently- let’s just say if we were to compare poses, she is a gazelle and I am a wilderbeast!

Inversions came towards the end of the class, and we approached warm-down and savasana (corpse pose). The music was gentle, the room smelled warm and calming, and I was glowing with pride at my little rabbit pose victory. We said our Namaste and quite honestly floated out of the studio looking like different people.

THE VERDICT: Blue Cow Yoga studios is scrumptious. It has a beautifully serene atmosphere and you will leave feeling mentally and physically glowing.

Pete was exactly the sort of teacher you hope to get on a Friday night too- softly spoken, instructive without being bossy, in tune with people in the room (offering advice on corrections gently and patiently) and making jokes to keep the feeling lighthearted and positive.

THE EXTRAS: Did you ever hear anything more lovely than a studio that offers free green tea and a place to enjoy it?! Nicola and I sat in the big open communal space after our class with some cups of the lovely stuff, nattering about how we were going to change the world. The class, the vibe, the studio, the class buddy- just yum.

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