"You just can't compare Yoga at a gym, with real Yoga." My friend Nik always says.
"I mean gym Yoga is fine, but you just don't get the same experience as if you go to a proper Yoga centre."
And after today, I completely agree with her.
This weekend my friend Lara and I met a lady called Bel, and she gave us a leaflet for a yoga class that she teaches in the Wimbledon Village, in a hall at the St Mary's Church.
Bel's enthusiasm for Yoga and passion for life in general is quite contagious, and after chatting to her for just a few minutes on Sunday we both said that we would join her today for her class.
This morning, I got home later than planned from my early patient, my head cold was showing no sign of retaliating in it's endless consumption of tissues, and for a few moments I considered not going.
But boy am I glad that I did.
A rushed cab ride later as tfl journey planner said there was no ways that I would get there in time public transport style, I arrived at the Church Grounds. I walked into the Church initially, which was empty, tried to call Lara to see if she knew where to go, but her phone wouldn't connect, and then finally saw the sign and hurried into the hall.
Now I've seen a few Church hall's in London, and I was expecting the usual: musty, slight damp smell, a bit grubby and altogether quite grim. This room however, is not your typical Church hall, with massive windows letting in natural light, it overlooks a garden. Gorgeous.
Coupled with Bel's warm welcome, some lit candles, relaxing music and pleasant incense, by the time Lara and lay down to begin with the cosy blankets that Bel had also provided, we were pretty calm already.
Bel took us through a stretching and breath focussed warm up, before we pushed aside our blankets, got up and did some more active work. Bel teaches in a very relaxed manner and encourages everyone to do what feels most comfortable for them in a posture, which I love. I despise being pushed deeper and deeper into a position that I know my body isn't tolerating. Her teaching is very flowy and I enjoyed the 'dance' like movements we performed in some of the poses. The final part of the class, again cosily tucked up in our blankets, she lead us through a relaxation sequence. I was so chilled out by this point, my mind blank, that I can't even remember what it was.
And then whilst we lay there, in our own little worlds, she came to each of us and with a gorgeous smelling oil on her hands, stretched our necks ever so slightly and released the tension in our shoulders with some gentle pressure and massaged our muscles. Amazing.
I stood up slowly from the class, feeling energised, invigorated and at peace. My rush to get there and the loads of things on my to do list a million miles away.
So far away, that I forgot to get a picture with Bel to put on here.
Next time I will for certain.
Nik, I agree completely, Yoga at a gym serves it's purpose, but you just can't compare it, to a class taken by a teacher like Bel, in an environment like this.
Gym Yoga works the body.
Real yoga works the body, calms the mind and invigorates the soul.
Contact Bel at: belgibbs at talk21 dot com
for more information regarding her classes. I highly recommend you try one.
And if you have only ever experienced Yoga in a gym setting, I insist that you try one....
No matter what level you are. And she does full massage treatments too:)