Week 40: Hit Hop Hot Yoga

Hip Hop Hot Yoga: awesomely alliterative, but not really words you’d think to put together. I was intrigued, so I went to try it this week.

What They Say:
A brand new yoga flow for people who love fast paced yoga and for those who ‘don’t do yoga’, designed to not only sculpt your body by making you sweat but also unplug you from your day-to-day life whilst listening to your favourite beats.

Hip Hop Hot Yoga is perfect for cardio junkies who love high-energy, result driven workouts. Expect the Hip-Hop music to take you into a continual rhythm of fast vinyasa flow. While not quite Bikram hot, ONE LDN uses infrared heat to warm the studios to heat the room to 35 degrees to provide a better cardiovascular exercise and deliver a high calorie burn, whilst maximising flexibility. The workout syncs a 50 minute long Vinyasa flow to the beat of the music which is expectedly fast-paced and will therefore leave you dripping in sweat.

My Experience:
I’d booked the into an early evening Friday night class and headed up to London a bit fatigued, having done a load of exercise already that day (deadlifts, squats, heavy thrusters, dips and lots of rope climbs… FUN!). I wasn’t sure how a high-energy yoga class was going to feel, but I’ve done enough yoga classes now to know that I could stop or scale back if I needed to.

I’ve been to ONE LDN’s sister gym in Imperial Wharf for a Muay Thai session, and this class was at their Tower Hill studio. Stepping out of the tube I was immediately pleased I’d made the effort to come. The sight of the Tower of London lit up at night is pure “London”. I love how the lighting is a little murky; you can imagine conspirators hiding in the shadows and the glittering Shard backdrop is a stark reminder of the depth of history within those walls. One of the most awe-inspiring moments I’ve had in London was going to see the poppy installation a few years ago, and I can’t ever look at the tower without picturing those crimson waves flooding the moat; just thinking about it makes the hairs on my neck stand on end. I’ve got one of those poppies in a flowerpot on my balcony now and it’s a regular reminder that we have things pretty bloody easy these days.

I strolled along to the gym, dodging the cars and bikes whizzing people home to start the weekend and stepped down into a large white reception area which felt immediately away from the noise. I love how you can step into a place and feel a million miles away from where you were moments ago.

The gym is pretty spacious, with 3 studios offering a range of classes including HIIT, strength and conditioning and kick boxing. Along the reception wall is a huge blackboard wall with scrawlings of hashtagged fitspo statements alongside Polaroid pics… like a real world instagram (naturally insta handles were written down too!)

As I waited in reception for the class to start a few of the trainers were chatting jovially and there was a relaxed vibe – Friday night isn’t exactly prime time for gyms!

We were called into class by our instructor, Isabelle. The room was dark, lit only by a neon sign “lose yourself in the music” on one wall and few candle lamps on the floor. Mellow hip hop was playing in the background and it was warm – not hot – but perfectly warm, with a light scent of aromatherapy oils. Walking in felt like snuggling under the duvet on a chilly night; pure comfort.

There were just three of us in the class and Isabelle instructed us to get a mat and block before we began. We started off simply focusing on our breath – this would be our foundation for the whole class. From there we moved onto a fairly fast paced flow, repeated each sequence two or three times before moving on. For each sequence we’d spend the first round focusing on the positions, with clear directional cues and adjustments, then we’d go through it again on our own, always focusing on the breath. It was the perfect balance of instruction and letting us get on with it and feel the movement and breath.

We’d often return to chaturanga and down dog which reset the body, mind and breath ready for a new sequence. A year ago the down dog felt like a torture position for me, but I actually get it now as a restorative position. My yoga practice is sporadic at best, but I’m slowly coming to learn what works for my body.

The pace was great – while it was fast compared to most of the yoga classes I’ve been to, we still held the poses for long enough to really feel it, and it wasn’t so fast that you’d ever get lost; even someone who’d never done yoga before would find it simple to follow. I really liked that the instructor gave guidance for improving the poses, but didn’t at any time make me feel like I was failing (even though my inflexible body looked far from yogini most of the time!).

The music is obviously this class’s USP and it really worked – mellow beats in the background which synched with the flow and the breath. It wasn’t in any way distracting, it just enhanced the experience.

As the time went on, I found myself really connecting with my breath and ironing out the creases in my creaky limbs. When we reached the end and lay on our backs, eyes closed, Isabelle told us to place our arms on our stomachs if we didn’t want a massage… er… yes please!! I plonked my arms right out to the side! She came round one by one and gave a delightful massage of the head, temples and traps with a drop of lavender oil. Heaven.

I finished the class feeling light as air. My body felt like it had had an oil change and I headed back across London in a blissful floaty state. Even on a packed Friday night train, I plugged in some piano music and felt like an onlooker – I wasn’t part of this hustle and bustle. I got home and slept like a baby. Friday night yoga for the win!

In Summary:
Fast paced but far from frantic. I can’t think of a much better way to set up for the weekend; this class was wonderful.

Cost: Drop in £20, packages and monthly membership available

How to book: http://www.oneldn.com

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