As the holiday season gears up, while we’re enjoying lovely weather, thoughts inevitably turn to losing weight, toning up, how one would look in a swimsuit… and the relief from stress that going on holiday should naturally provide.
Conversely, how one looks in a swimsuit and planning a holiday are, in themselves, great stressors. To say nothing of possibly having to work while on holiday.
Statistics show that a whopping 90% of Britons on holiday admit to working while away; at the very least, they are writing business emails deep into the night.
Clearly, this demographic needs to disconnect!
If your partner’s nagging to put down the phone and spending bundles on holiday can’t make that happen, who or what could?
This growing trend of steady work pressure is only one reason why people are discovering the benefits of yoga.
Another would be that, all too often we define ourselves through our work and our social trappings – high powered jobs, living in the right postal code, driving a gleaming automobile… when we should be discovering our fundamental identity.
Rather than being stressed over money, worried about teenagers or angry about work, wouldn’t it be a relief to only feel stressed, worried or angry?
Practising yoga can help you peel away the layers of surface identity that everyone uses to define themselves, permitting you to become the calm, centred being you always knew you were, deep down.
Are you ready to delve into those layers? Tap into your potential, discover new levels of energy, concentration and creativity?
Together let us find some of the best yoga studios in the country, where we could learn more about yoga philosophy and how we could shut out some of the noise and tension of our daily life!
For centuries, the practice of yoga was isolated to the Indian subcontinent, where it originated as a religious practice.
People were dissatisfied with their belief systems’ symbolic rituals; they wanted a more intimate union with their god.
Yoga means Union in Sanskrit, the ancient language of India.
Only by shedding external concerns and finding a true liberation from daily concerns could one find the much sought-after spiritual enlightenment.
On the way to communion with their higher power, early yogis discovered the amazing effects their postures and meditation had on their health and well-being.
It has only been in the last 100 years or so that yoga has made its way into western society.
The practice was introduced by Swami Vivekananda throughout Europe and in the United States, where it gained a following among such worthies as Ralph Waldo Emerson and other philosophers of the day.
However, yoga did not go mainstream until about 20 years later, when a self-styled fellow named Pierre Arnold Bernard, known as The Great Oom, founded the Tantrik Order of America.
As he tended to be rather secretive, the original yoga studio’s location is unknown but thought to have been in started somewhere on the west coast of America.
One concrete fact is that there was a Tantrik club in Nyack, New York, the facility having been given to him by a disciple.
From there, yoga spread across the United States and throughout the western world. Mr Bernard did eventually marry, and his wife taught yoga well into her 80s!
In the 1980s, yoga enjoyed another resurgence in popularity, this time for its health benefits.
A Dr. Ornish, concerned about the prevalence of heart disease, espoused yoga as one aspect of a lifestyle change one could make in order to prevent heart attacks and reverse any damage done to the body.
The health benefits of yoga are just one reason why more people are unrolling their yoga mats!
It might be hard to believe that posturing on a yoga mat could do so much good, but you should know that yoga is not all posing and holding.
Pranayama, the art of controlling one’s breath, is essential to magnifying the gains normally brought by yoga.
No matter what type of yoga you embrace, breathing is a fundamental part of the practice.
What type of yoga would you practice?
Couples’ yoga is a way to build intimacy with your partner Source: Pixabay Credit: Mohamad-Hassan
Classifying yoga lessons into beginner, intermediate, advanced and daily practitioners would be doing the art and science of yoga a disservice.
Yogis, as yoga practitioners are known, would also frown on those labels.
A 70-year-old’s body has different requirements than, say, a professional athletes’, an expectant mother’s or a child’s.
Therefore, the types of yoga are categorised by their level of intensity and discipline rather than yogis’ levels of proficiency.
Yoga teachers everywhere advocate trying several styles of yoga before settling on the one(s) that work best for you.
Hatha yoga, considered the fundamental style of yoga, generally incorporates 20-30 poses in one class. Proper breathing is emphasised throughout. Hatha is great for beginners!
Iyengar yoga is primarily about body alignment. You would use blocks, ropes, and harnesses to help you hold each asana, and get plenty of information about each pose from your instructor. Best for those recovering from injury or those who like details.
Another type of yoga that is great for injury recovery and for seniors is Restorative yoga. This type of yoga is very gentle, with each position held for several minutes.
Yin yoga is surely meant for those who cannot unplug from their daily life!
Each asana is held for a long time, with a special stress put on proper breathing. It is more of a meditative style of yoga; one might even call it a more spiritual form of the art.
Kundalini is where the religious roots of yoga come into practice. This type of yoga involves chanting, singing and meditating.
Rather than asanas, you would perform kriyas; challenging physical poses. Naturally, breath work plays a role in this practice.
Ashtanga is a very popular form of yoga. Consisting of a repeating set of 6 poses, you would flow from one to the next, breathing all the while.
This is more of a workout than other types of yoga mentioned till now; best suited for those who like orderly progression and predictability, and building a little sweat.
Bikram yoga is a form of hot yoga: 26 poses and two breathing exercises, done in a high temperature, low humidity room.
Hydration is important, and beginners should rest when they feel it necessary. This workout is more challenging than most!
Hot yoga is similar to Bikram but is not constrained to only 26 poses. If you enjoy a challenging workout that leaves you drenched, Hot yoga is for you!
Vinyasa yoga: if you are ready for a strenuous workout, this is the style for you. You would flow from one asana to the next, holding each pose for only a few seconds.
Endurance athletes find extra value in this type of yoga, as it substantially raises the heart rate and challenges the body.
There are, of course, many types of yoga, and the list is ever expanding.
Mysore – a subset of Ashtanga, Nada yoga, dealing with inner listening and chanting, and Jivamukti: a proprietary style of yoga created by Americans David Life and Sharon Gannon in 1984.
So concerned are authorities in India that yoga is being misappropriated, they seek to protect the practice of yoga from straying too far from its origins by limiting claims of new types of yoga in other lands.
We don’t want to take anything away from the pure souls that gave us this beneficial practice; we just want to know where to go to get our yoga on!
Can you see yourself finding new energy levels by practising yoga? Source: Pixabay Credit: AndiP
Our capital city being the world’s leading financial centre, it is no wonder that Londoners crave more relaxation!
Of course, not everyone works in finance: London is also a global centre for the arts and entertainment, for fashion and education, healthcare, tourism, and transportation.
The number of yoga studios within London’s greater metropolitan area proves a number of those savvy city dwellers are already in on fitness’ best-kept secret!
You could get started on your journey to wellness in any of London’s yoga studios, among them:
Yotopia, located on Mercer Street, in the heart of Covent Garden.
Besides the traditional Ashtanga and Yin yogas, they teach flow yoga – where you gracefully transition from one position to the next.
You could join any of their hot classes – sessions held in hot rooms, to get your sweat on.
Also taught are: Dharma yoga, Rocket yoga – an intense workout, and inversion yoga.
As the name implies, you would be inverted; perhaps doing handstands, headstands, shoulder stands, or hang upside down in a harness.
The best pricing at this studio is £100 per month for unlimited classes. If you wanted to check them out before buying access to a set number of passes, their drop-in rate is £18 for one session.
The Iyengar Yoga Institute is located on Randolf Ave, Maida Vale, just a short walk from the tube.
Their focus being on wellness, you will find their agenda full of restorative yoga classes, or sessions meant for special groups:
They also conduct a beginners’ class for those who are new to Iyengar yoga philosophy. In addition, they host workshops over the weekends!
Prices start at £11 for members, with concessions made for seniors and youths. Non-members would pay £3 more per class.
An annual membership costs £55.
Birmingham runs a close second to London. Although not a major financial hub, it is our country’s second-largest and most populous city.
At one period in its history, Birmingham enjoyed its own Age of Enlightenment, a quality every devoted yogi seeks to attain.
However, in this sense, the enlightenment gained and applied was more of a secular bent: scientific, political, cultural and, of course, economic.
Since that time, Birmingham has been at the forefront of technological advances, leading it to be included today on the world’s list of Gamma+ World Cities.
A desirable appellation indeed!
Which begs the questions: how hard do Brummies work, and where do they go to relax and steep themselves in wellness?
We’d be hard-pressed to answer the first one, but the second one is easy.
Judging by the number of yoga studios in and around the city, we’d venture a guess that more than one yoga mat gets rolled out in the course of the day.
Yoga in Solihull is a freelance group of instructors who teach yoga in various venues around the city, where beginners of all ages are welcome.
If you are concerned about your well-being, you may drop in on them to learn breathing techniques and mindfulness that will help you detach from your stressful day.
Every class those yoga instructors lead is suitable for beginners. Additionally, they teach a gentle yoga class, for those recovering from injury and who have not recently been physically active.
One intriguing style of yoga they teach is chair yoga, a modified style of yoga suitable for those whose ability to move is restricted.
If need be, they would visit your home or facility to provide private lessons, too!
Pricing for one on one lessons is £15 per hour if you book 3 sessions; for 10 sessions in class, you would pay £70.
Should your enthusiasm demand something more lively, you might prefer learning at The Unlikely Yogi.
This organisation has two studios; both in Sutton Coldfield: one on High Street, the other on Lichfield Road.
There you could participate in yoga classes, workshops and retreats. Although there is special emphasis placed on beginners, yogis of every level are welcome to join them.
A 10-class pass costs £68, or you could drop in for £8 per session.
As with London, so with Birmingham: we invite you to find your best yoga by trying many styles, studios and instructors before finding the one that is right for you.
From the largest cities in England, we go to the largest metropolis in Scotland…
You too might be able to assume the lotus position after a few yoga sessions! Source: Pixabay Credit: Logra Studio
Glaswegians have plenty to feel stressed about, one of them being that legendary rivalry between Celtics and Rangers.
Here is a short look at yoga studios in the city that could help combat any stress you may feel when your favourite team loses:
In fact, the list of yoga studios in Glasgow is so rich and long that we could not list them all in this article!
You may find other yoga studios to your liking throughout the city.
With the first anniversary of the attack on the Manchester Arena just past, it would be understandable that many would feel stress and anxiety. Ariana Grande herself admitted that she too is overcome.
With due respect given to everyone who suffered and lost in that tragedy, far be it from us to flippantly suggest that yoga would heal all ills.
However, it might not be a bad idea to lessen anxiety and relax through breathing and meditation.
Should you be of a mind to do so, you might find valuable teachers throughout the city.
Yoga Manchester consists of a dedicated group of yoga masters who teach classes and workshops in locations throughout the city.
You could purchase class passes from their website, and even book yourself into a week-long retreat in sunny Spain.
Perhaps a healthful getaway is just what you need! Just remember to leave your work phone at home…
If Iyengar yoga intrigues you, you may enjoy practising it at iYoga, located in Winsor House on Battersea Rd.
Should your schedule be jam-packed, you are sure to find a spot in any of their sessions: they hold 14 classes per week; beginners are welcome – to their workshops and to class!
Their unlimited class passes cost £90 per month.
Manchester Yoga and Holistic Central is located on Lloyd St, the major commuter’s route from Manchester city centre.
How about dropping in on their Ashtanga or Hatha yoga classes after a busy day at work? Drop-in rates are only £7!
Besides those types of yoga, they teach restorative yoga, Vinyasa and yoga for anxiety and depression.
We leave Manchester now with the sincere hope that you have recovered well from last year’s events.
Search for yoga classes in Manchester.
You may find that yoga and meditation could ease a bit of anxiety and depression Source: Pixabay Credit: StockSnap
The economy of Leeds is reputed to be the most diverse in all of the UK, with 77% of its jobs held in the private sector.
That represents a majority of headaches and pressure for the Leeds workforce!
In spite of Leeds being known as the country’s greenest city, we’d venture to say that plenty of Loiners would like to get their yoga on – indoors or out. You and they could do so with any of these studios:
As with other cities featured in this article, the list of yoga studios in Leeds is longer than we have room for in one article.
Thanks to this city’s dedication to sports, it earned the distinction of being named Europe’s most sporting city in 2014.
Have you ever noticed that there are no yoga competitions in any major sporting event?
That is because yoga is an intensely personal journey: no two yogis experience the discipline and art of yoga in quite the same way.
You could discover for yourself what yoga means to you.
Find yoga classes in Cardiff.
The name may seem a caricature of channelling inner energy, but we assure you the practice of yoga is not a joke to these masters.
You may enjoy their foundation course (£40 per session), or attend one of their classes (£50 for monthly unlimited access).
Their special focus is prenatal yoga, followed by Mum’n’baby yoga (£35 for 5 sessions). If you wish to drop in, you could pay only £7 for one lesson.
Here you will find an entire array of beginners classes, along with more advanced offerings such as Hatha yoga and Mindfulness yoga.
The price for such a 7-week course is just £9 per session!
You may also register for an extended session – a workshop, for just £30.
As much as we would like to dig deeper into this city’s singular yoga culture, we would have to refer you to this page, where you could find more studios in Cardiff.
If you work deep into the night, perhaps a yoga teacher online could help you sleep better! Source: Pixabay Credit: Kreativwebmarketing
What if you don’t live in or near any of these cities?
What if you are a shift worker, unable to attend a regularly scheduled class? Or somehow unable to get to a yoga studio?
Your best solution may well be private lessons, taken via webcam.
Plenty of yoga studios in the UK offer private lessons, in your home or at their facility, but it would be hard to argue against the value and convenience Superprof yoga teachers provide online.
No matter where in the country you live, as long as you have a reliable Internet connection, you could realise the benefits of yoga for yourself under the instruction of a Superprof yogi.
You may worry that the rate for such private lessons would exceed what you would pay in a class.
Let us put your mind to rest: Superprof yoga teachers often charge less than what you would pay a studio, and you would be treated to more personalised attention than in a class full of peers!
Besides, most Superprof yoga teachers offer one incentive that yoga studios don’t: they give their first hour of lessons for free!
With more than 300 teachers standing by at an average cost of £24 per lesson, you may find Superprof offers the best deal in yoga teaching.
If you are one of those Britons who cannot seem to switch off from work, you may find that channelling your energy into your own well-being would prove far more worthwhile than answering yet another email from the boss.
After all, work will always be there; no need to stake your health, sanity and family on it.
Much better you should invest more in yourself.