By Janie Ankers
Yessssss! Was my reaction when I discovered that I had won an unlimited month’s pass to Bristol’s new hot yoga studio ‘Yogafurie’ based on Ashley Down Road in North Bristol. At this point I hadn’t stepped foot in a yoga studio for coming close to 4 years, and prior to that my yoga style could at best be described as average…think of an elephant, giggling, trying to balance on a stick, and that just about sums up what I remember of it.
HOWEVER… since then a lot has changed for me. For a start I have produced 2 children, and this of course means I am now 100% more invincible in terms of endurance and everything really. Alongside that (and as a result of said kids) I’ve got really into running; I’m a TMR run angel, and a run maker, and I am unashamedly completely hooked! So I’m much, much fitter than I was when I last tried yoga. Surely now I‘m in such a different place physically and mentally, yoga will be a breeze, right?
This self-assurance wore away as the first session loomed closer, but all my nerves proved completely unnecessary. I was met and booked in at reception by an extremely friendly lady who offered me a small but thoughtful welcome bag with goodies and treats inside. The atmosphere immediately instilled a sense of calm over me. The studio is new, clean, warm and welcoming. I don’t know if it was the ‘Quinoa crisps’ on display, or the pukka herbal tea bags, but I IMMEDIATELY felt a little bit smug and wholesome and fabulous. This was great, and in direct contrast to my mood 10 minutes prior to that as I left the house to the sound of my son (5 years old) howling ‘Mummy don’t gooooooooooo?’ from the top of the stairs.
So off we went… we were guided into pose after pose with detailed descriptions from the teacher. Throughout my month’s pass I attended classes by Dom, Kate and Ed. It turns out I still have pretty terrible balance and (despite my perceived athleticism from running) I don’t seem to BEND. Neither of these points was a problem and thanks to the wonderful differentiation, flow and support of the teachers I never once felt silly. I felt I was able to push myself to the limits I felt comfortable with.
After a couple of sessions I could already start to feel improvements in my flexibility, and the thought of the 5-10 minutes relaxation at the end of each session as reward for my efforts drew me back again and again. So let’s summarise:
1) One of the best things about the yoga classes was that they gave me HEADSPACE. Big time. Maybe even more than running because it made me be quiet (for once!) and think and reflect.
2) A huge benefit of hot yoga – as the owner of the studio, Ed, told me – is that it can help runners overcome and more importantly, prevent injury. It’s like the ULTIMATE warm up!
3) It felt inclusive and welcoming regardless of your previous ability.
4) The hotness of the yoga really made me feel as if I’d had a great workout, as I’d sweated buckets each time.
5) Everyone at Yogafurie is sooo nice!
1. What with running as well I’ve pretty much seen my husband about once this month! If you’re a Mum who runs you’re busy so it’s been hard to fit it in… but well worth the effort when I have.
2. It’s not free like running… but there are some great deals available to trial it with so well worth a look.
So in conclusion yoga doesn’t give that same ‘wind on my face/ great outdoors/ mad endorphin rush’ that running does. But do I think it’s something I’d love to do alongside running? Absolutely! I came out of each session feeling like I’ve had a great work out. I felt energized, strong and as if I had had some much needed ‘me time’. So if you are a runner (injured or not) and you can spare the extra few pennies each month, I’d say go for it!
If you’re in Bristol and want to try out some hot yoga, head over to yogafurie’s website where you can find out more and book onto your first session.