THE BASICS: Hot Power Yoga offers hot (warm rather than piping hot) yoga in a happy, approachable, airy ground floor studio, flooded with light. The community classes are those run to allow almost-newly-qualified yoga instructors who have been training at the studio, to run 30 mins classes in front of Real Live Students! Each class is 90 mins, and 3 teachers take a 30 minute section of the class, flowing on from one another seamlessly. £10 per community class. Plenty of other membership options available at the studio.
THE BITCHES: Carly and Nicola
THE CLASS: Nicola and I met last year at a blogger event and hit it off over our love of yoga straight away. A few months later, we sat drinking herbal teas after a yoga class, discussing life in general. It was then that Nicola mentioned that she was thinking of doing her yoga teacher training. It was an exciting conversation, and one that I look back on fondly.
6 months on, and Nicola invited me to Hot Power Yoga to attend a community class to celebrate the end of her yoga teacher training course. I was absolutely delighted at the chance to go along and be taught by my friend, and celebrate her success at qualifying. These community classes were held on consecutive Saturdays over a month, and it’s pot luck as to which 3 new yoga instructors teach the class. Unfortunately, Nicola had taught the class the previous week, and so I didn’t get taught by her when I visited. However, we practiced next to each other and I was lucky enough to be taught by some people who had taken the course alongside her.
The studio is a 10 minute walk from Clapham Common, although it feels like a little village by the time you reach the collection of studios and warehouses where Hot Power Yoga nestles. In through the doors and I was immediately greeted with a bustling reception area. I found out that the yoga-instructors-to-be (Nicola included) had just finished their final exam, and were looking tired but happy as they cleared out the studio. Those of us who had turned up for the class signed forms, paid and changed in the little communal changing corner up the stairs.
Nicola was still as springy and happy as always, despite having just completed a 3 hour exam- what an excellent yoga teacher this lady will make! She was busy chatting to her fellow course-mates so I went into the studio, watched the excited chatter and bounding yogis, enjoyed the music being pumped through the studio and felt the warmth prickling against my skin. It had been a glorious spring day outside, and getting down to some hot yoges watching the dusk arrive through the big windows was going to be delightful.
Before we’d even started, the noise and energy in the studio suggested this was going to be pretty spectacular class. It was making me feel really…. happy. Sometimes, it’s nice to go into a studio and have silence to clear your mind of thoughts. Today, the energy suited the mood, and I felt lifted by it.
Let’s get down to the yoga. Teacher in trainer number 1 took the first part of the class. He was funny, humble, endearing, made the odd left over right mistake which I’ve heard even experienced teachers do, correcting himself whilst we all laughed with him in a good-natured way. He was excellent, and I was so impressed to see how quickly these guys had gone from yogi to actual yoga teacher with a patter and a sequence to teach.
It was as this first teacher taught that I realised the breathing in the room. Sounds silly but it was really loud, which I found incredible. In so many classes, people are afraid to make noise, or to stretch. They stifle their movements and their breath, practicing polite or, even worse, serious yoga. In this class, you could sigh, groan, laugh, and breathe as loudly as you damn well wanted. It sounds like such a small thing, but it was such a wonderful experience. I felt free, breathing loudly, sighing into a bend, and not being embarrassed to move energy through my body. It actually helped me to sync breath with my movements effectively! Here’s to a future of noisy breathing in yoga classes….
When the second teacher took over for the next 30 minutes of class, she was again an incredibly humble, relaxed and self-deprecating in a really likeable way. Again, the odd mistake was made, but it was the way in which it was it was corrected jovially and in such a human way, that you could tell she was going to make a great teacher.
The final teacher took over, and she brought a different dynamic. Her words were very calmly spoken, and she peppered her instructions with antidotes which made her style very personal. I could already appreciate how people’s personalities must become a sort of “signature” over their teaching style when they become yoga instructors. She brought us to the end of the class, and we shared the nosiest, strongest and most impressive series of Oms I’ve heard in over 2 years of attending yoga classes. The room was ringing with sound- it made my heart sing, and sealed one of the most unique, electrifying practices I have ever attended.
Special mention has to of course go to the lovely Nicola for completing her course and becoming an official yoga teacher! Although it was a shame not to be taught by her, to practice alongside her was such a wonderful experience- she was able to show me where to put blocks, whisper helpful corrections and encouraged me to free my stifled body and as breathe loudly and move as fluidly as she was. A huge congratulations and thank you to this most inspiring of ladies!
THE VERDICT: The people teaching and attending this class made it absolutely electrifying. The little studio, the colour and the light, along with the welcome, the music pumping before class… absolutely everything about this studio and this class lifted my spirits immensely. I stood on the tube home in a hazy daze of happiness. Even a group of tourists dithering in the doorway over a map didn’t make me want to throw them on the tracks for once. Yoga really does make you forgive this most heinous of crimes.
I can sum this class up in one word: ELECTRIFYING. Hands down the best yoga class I have attended in my life to date. I cannot recommend it enough.
THE EXTRAS: Now I’m a Shoreditch-ite I barely ever make it down Saaf of the River- I adore it here in E1 but the sun going down over Clapham Common really is something I miss. Lovely.