Yotopia, Gentle Flow Yoga Class
THE BASICS: Yotopia is a yoga, hot yoga and pilates studio, offering a little slice of serenity close to Covent Garden. A drop in 75 minute class was £15. If you’re new to the studio, you can bag yourself a £35 ten day class pass.
THE BITCHES: Carly and Nicola
THE CLASS: Nicola and I had been looking for a new flow yoga class to try since becoming TotesYogaBuddies, and this studio in Covent Garden seemed like an easy spot for both of us to convene after a long day at work. I arrived with approximately 17 seconds to spare, and grumbled under my breath about why I am always late for everything as I climbed the stairs to the studio. Nicola’s happy little face was there smiling to greet me, and I think my first words actually were “WHY AM I ALWAYS LATE FOR EVERYTHING?!” in an unnecessarily accusative manner. Yes I am a truly hideous human being.
A truly hideous human being who doesn’t deserve such a lovely TotesYogaBuddy, clearly. Or perhaps, I was in need of some relaxation after work- yeah, let’s go with the latter for now.
Luckily Nic must have decided to give me the benefit of the doubt and put my grumpiness down to needing to relax, too. We stood waiting for the last class to finish before making our way in. We hadn’t realised this was a hot class, and so I was glad to have a big bottle of water with me! Nicola’s glasses steamed up within half a second of entering. She looked pretty unimipressed. I did not laugh. (Ok, I did).
It was a big of a scrum for the mats hanging at the back of the class, and also a bit of a squish in the studio itself. I understand this though- a class straight after work, right in the middle of London isn’t going to be empty. The markers on the floor helped to space everyone out evenly, so it was absolutely fine.
I think the only time I minded a little was when I came nose-to-toe with the girl in front of me during baby cobra pose- but this could be due to the fact that I’m not that hot on my alignment, in all honesty! The rest of the time, it actually felt quite spiritual to be in a full room of Londoners all moving in unison in a cosy candlelit studio.
I ended up in the corner by the door, which I later discovered let in sporadic wafts of cool air under it. During a hot yoga class this is pretty much the closest feeling to heaven you can ever wish for. Several times throughout the class, both of us let out rather dramatic sighs of relief at the air wafting in under the door. Simple things, ay?!
The teacher was clear and concise in her direction, and demonstrated a lot of the poses with us, which helped confirm what we should be doing. This class was gentle flow, and I was interested to see how it differed from the normal pace I’m used to. In flow classes, yogis end up going through a whole sequence of poses (such as the sun salutation) but with this gentle flow, the series of movements was toned down slightly, and there were times that we rhythmically repeated one back and forth movement in time with our breath, isolating it and actually making it seem more of a gentle practice.
I struggle with 3 legged dog at the best of times (hands on the floor, both feet on the floor, bum in the air- you are in down dog. Raise one leg up behind you and make a straight line run from your head, along your spine, and along the back of your raised leg- you are in 3 legged dog). I struggled with 3 legged dog even more today, when Nicole whispered to me under her armpit “I’M SO SWEATY!” Her comment coinciding with a droplet of sweat pouring itself rather unthoughtfully into my eye.
I could maintain my balance no longer and disolved into giggles. I love the relaxation of yoga- but more than that, I love going with a pal so you can also have fun during your practice.
This class was 75 mins long, and I was worried a long day at work was going to render me useless by the time an hour was up. I needn’t have worried- the last 10/15 minutes of the class was spent in an absolutely wonderful silent meditation; the whole class cross legged, the lights dimmed, and the teacher talking us down through steps to reach total relaxation.
Close to the end of the meditation, I think I may have fallen into a very deep trace-like state (commonly known as sleep), because I nearly toppled over sideways. Does anyone manage to stay awake during meditation?! Do I just suffer from narcolepcy? We were roused gently from our meditation for a series of OMs, and with so many yogis in a room, it was a pretty impressive vibration sound we managed to get going through the room.
We left the studio happy and glowing, and finished the class in the only way we know how- with a cup of chai and a Crimble Crumble bar from Pret. It’s like a mince pie, in a bar. Yeah yeah, join the back of the queue, I saw ’em first, ok?
THE VERDICT: Yotopia is a beautiful studio and a nice central London spot The gentle flow was perfect for a mid-week de-stress, and although it was pretty cosy in the studio, it was typically full as you’d probably expect from such a central studio. Anyway, you should be paying attention to yourself and not the toes of the yogi in front of you.
THE EXTRAS: Crimble Crumble. *whimper*