THE BASICS: There are several “pods” around London and the rest of the UK, offering intimate yoga classes in heated, softly glowing, inflatable pods. I went to Hotpod Yoga in Hackney, located in a room at the top of the Trampery complex, on Mare Street E8. It’s accessible through the “Look Mum No Hands” cafe in the Trampery. £12 per single drop in class, discounts available if you block buy classes.
THE CLASS: I must be getting old, because at the moment nothing excites me more than a yoga class on a Friday night to gently ease me into a hangover-less Saturday morning. I decided to book Hot Pod Yoga to start a chilled out January weekend in the best possible way. I wasn’t disappointed!
I’d agreed to meet fellow Hot B*tch Jen at the pod. Before climbing into the our little inflatable home for the next 60 minutes, our instructor Emma introduced herself to each of us, pointing to sofas outside the pod to leave bags and coats. The main room was locked as we practiced inside the pod, so valuables were safe.
Now then- into our pod! Essentially, I was like stepping into a square inflated tent. That is the factual description- and absolutely doesn’t do it justice- it felt like so much more! As I pulled open the chunky zipped doorway that kept the air inside warm and cosy, I was greeted by silhouettes of yogis, and a gentle lilac light coming from the bottom edge and the corners of this yoga spaceship! The sound inside was absorbed too- it was very quiet and still. This was exactly how I wanted my weekend to start!
The heaters in the corners of the pod were understated; Set to 37 degrees celsius, I think they were the “Dyson” type of fan, set to warm us up rather than cool us down. I chose a spot where Jen and I could practice next to each other, and she arrived moments later. The class was comfortably full for the size of the pod, without being cramped- I think there were 8 of us in total.
Emma climbed through the door and into the pod, bringing music with her on a docking station. After a few moments of setting up the power source, she welcomed us with a happy hello, checking for injuries and wishing us an enjoyable experience in this little Hotpod!
We moved through some salutations to warm up, and the I felt my forehead prickle with sweat almost instantly. Nothing like a bit of hot yoga to clear all of the crap out of my body! Emma encouraged us to start our practie with strength, and I decided to maintain that effort for the whole class. I definitely don’t like to turn yoga practice into any form of competition, (either with myself or with others), but the beautiful pod and the happiness of yoga on a Friday night made me determined to work to the best of my abilities. Amazing what a little Friday feeling can do!
Emma was patient throughout the class, noticing when people could probably challenge themselves to achieve a pose, and helping to guide them into it. She helped to correct my “warrior 2”, a pose which I always struggle with, having slumped over an office desk for more years I care to count! I was grateful for this, and felt guided without being pushed, which is a nice skill for an instructor to have.
There was one point where Emma broke the flow movements and mixed it up by throwing in a few reps- ab crunches with our legs held at 45 degrees, and some press ups. I wasn’t overly enthusiastic about these, (arguably because I’m lazy!) but also because I feel like the pod lent itself to an ethereal set of flowing yoga moves, without anything that felt like aerobics creeping in.
I thought about this a bit more after the class though. The honest truth of the matter is this: I am a lazy MoFo and I couldn’t be bothered to do any crunches. However, having them thrown into the class didn’t affect my enjoyment of the overall experience at all- I just wasn’t expecting them! I think it’s important to appreciate how lucky we are to have such a huge variety of yoga teachers and styles in London- and the beauty of being able to take several classes a week and never feel stuck in a rut is something I appreciate often.
Therefore, despite my laziness meaning I was reluctant to do press ups and crunches in a yoga class, I was more than happy to see Emma mix them in with the practice. Why the hell not?!
The hour long class was dynamic, left me sweaty and my heart pumping. I especially enjoyed the balance sequences as the poses were challenging and fun to attempt! I also felt incredibly relaxed and really peaceful within my mind. After a long, deep savasana (“sleeping pose”), I was left glowing as much as the pod! I thoroughly recommend this goreous experience as an introduction to the weekend.
THE VERDICT: For me, yoga in a Hotpod really enhanced my enjoyment, by adding an extra dynamic of peace and beauty. I thought the whole package- the light, the pod, the music, the yoga and Emma as a teacher- were genuinely fantastic and together offered a very unique evening. Will be going again!
THE EXTRAS: Jen took this class as part of her 21 days of yoga challenge. This lady is one Hot B*tch!