Yoga can be a complicated thing. Our roving reporter and newbie yogi finds out how one team is making it simple for the City
I’m not a morning person. The idea of doing anything besides having a shower and sitting silently on my bed until the very last minute is not one I’m usually acquainted with. However, the chance to try Hotpod Yoga, which has set up residency at One New Change until late in the year, dragged me from my sleep and into the City.
Classes are being held every day for 20 invigorating minutes at seven in the morning and at lunchtimes, with a longer hour session in the evening for a wind-down at the end of a long day.
It was slightly unnerving taking my shoes off in the basement of a shopping mall next to a SuperDry store, but the teacher and co-founder, Nick Higgins, padded his way over to me to allay any fears. I’ve done yoga before, whenever I’ve seen a particularly inspirational film about westerners finding themselves spiritually, but I was approaching this from a more pragmatic standpoint: could twenty minutes of stretching really benefit my daily life?
The answer was, of course, yes. There’s a reason Yoga has stuck around for so long. The idea behind Hotpod is that by cranking the heat up around you, the poses are made slightly more difficult, your effort therefore increasing. The group is taken into a space-age inflatable pod, which is heated to 37°C. This isn’t the hardcore Bikram “stretch or die” style, though: this is a gentler, refreshing way to wake up your body and mind, with dim, purple lighting and calming tunes. This doesn’t mean that I didn’t stumble out of the pod looking like I’d just about survived a six month stint in the Amazon. I was glad of the dehumidifiers.
Something else happened as I walked out of the pod. I felt great. Not just awake, but completely refreshed. Maybe it was the poses expertly taught by Nick, or the contrast of heat to the outside temperature, or a mixture of both, but I hadn’t felt that well in the morning for a long time.
Another advantage to possibly the most literal pop-up you’ll ever experience is its partnership with the nearby Grange Hotel, which lets yogis use its spa and pool facilities after a session. I was more than ready for the cool shower, which completed a genuinely energizing half an hour.
The short session is an inspired idea for those who are time poor and fancy starting the day on the best possible terms. I’m going back tomorrow. I promise I’ll wake up in time.