THE BASICS: Fresh over from Canada where FUSION is already known, this class is “rooted in Yoga, informed by Pilates and inspired by dance”- an hour of all three combined, in a class of constantly flowing movement. FUSION was invented by Amber Joliat of Misfit Studio (one flight to Toronto to try this studio out immediately please!)
The lovely Kathryn Griffiths is the only qualified FUSION instructor teaching this in London at the moment. And so if you want to know what this class is all about, then you need to get yourself to gogoyoga on Columbia Road, E2, on Friday nights. £10 per class.
THE BITCHES: Carly
THE CLASS: I’d received a lovely email invitation from Kathryn inviting me to come and try a new class that she’d brought straight over from Toronto, Canada. Naturally this appealed to my magpie-like attraction to new and shiny fitness classes, and I was IN! I’d heard of gogoyoga as it’s close to where I live, but I had yet to try it out. This place was perfect for what was otherwise going to be a relatively lonely valentines night.
I stepped out of the gale force winds, went through the shop front and peeked behind the translucent curtains- the studio was cosy, inviting space with a sweet little interior- wood, brick, craft studio colours and full wall of mirror. It was an incredibly cute little space that I can’t believe I had walked past obliviously until now.
Kathryn was incredibly welcoming, and whilst saying hello and chatting about how the concept of FUSION came about, she was busy laying out mats, blocks and offering cups of tea to warm up class attendees as they arrived. There were 5 of us in total for this class which was a good number when you consider the hideous storms outside and the fact it was Valentine’s night. We settled down and Kathryn got us thinking about our breath and awareness of our bodies before the workout began.
We started with some mat Pilates- I haven’t done much of this and it is very hard. Your core is kept taut throughout, and we varied between leg work (supported more by your belly and back than your actual legs) and balancing, which again engaged the torso fully. Things start to burn after a minute of this sort of movement, and I particularly struggled with the balancing and core pulses whilst in semi-sit up position. It felt like a pretty damn fast way to a toned tummy though!
From Pilates inspired mat work, we moved into what was more of a yoga practice, but it was kept flowing and fast. I could keep up but I had a little trouble keeping my breath in time with the movements, and was panting by the end of the sequence. The dance element came in during this more yoga-influenced part of the practice, as we repeated sequences, and worked graceful flowing stretches into regular yoga poses.
Kathryn was able to give us all lots of individual attention due to the small size of this Valentine’s night class, which was a great bonus as we became familiar with the practice. It felt like when she could see potential for one of us to push ourselves and achieve the full range of movement in a pose, she would come and help manipulate us into it. It never felt like she was forcing us to engage in a move that might have been a little too challenging- she had a good sense of judgement regarding each of our abilities.
The flow of the class kept my heart rate up, and the floor work (side planks and salutations especially) left me with the good kind of muscle ache. I definitely had a shake on at times, and I liked the physically challenging element as much as the fact that the flow to the class helped focus me and cleared my mind.
A nice touch for Valentine’s night was the playlist Kathryn had put together for us. Among others, Al Green, and one of my favourite songs of the past year Edward Sharpe’s Home led us through the hour. A sweet idea and I was really impressed with the effort on Kathryn’s part to add this extra little touch to an already enjoyable class.
Kathryn told me that the first time she’d tried a FUSION class, it felt like she’d “found the one” after a long time of being satisfied with yoga and Pilates, but still feeling like she was missing something. Her enthusiasm for FUSION was clear, and her genuine enthusiasm and happy nature were infectious. She was self-deprecating in a humble, likeable way and I could see her teaching this way in front of 50 as comfortably and naturally as she did 5 of us.
My muscles hurt a lot on Saturday. This class is fuses yoga, Pilates and dance, but it packs a punch to the core!
THE VERDICT: It’s difficult to describe this class exactly- but I think the description “FUSION” is very apt. If you don’t do much yoga or Pilates then it introduces both of them in enough detail to have an adequate introduction to them. If you practice one or the other regularly, then you can see how they flow into each another, and get the best of both in a strong, challenging but mind-clarifying workout.
THE EXTRAS: Having spent the last 7 years (albeit happily) demolishing an M&S meal for two as a Valentine’s night treat, spending the evening in a strong class with a cute as a button instructor, who clearly loves what she teaches, was just delightful.