The summer break from my regular classes has been a good time to explore different yoga styles and support other local teachers and studios, so I was excited to overhear people talking about a new yoga studio that opened up in Oxford on the Cowley road. It turned out that the new studio called YogaVenue is a purpose-built yoga studio with two rooms – one for hot yoga with a bespoke heating system, and a second room for Vinyasa Yoga and meditation – and also changing rooms with showers. Seeing as I have never been to a Hot Yoga class, I decided to go along, try it out and see the new studio.
On Saturday morning I was up and ready for my first ever Hot Yoga class, armed with all the gear suggested by the YogaVenue website. Running a bit late, and minus any cash on me due to running late, I was relieved when greeted warmly by Caroline and Alessandro, and even more relieved to find out they take card payments at the studio (thank you!). The studio offers mat and towel rental at a reasonable £1 each, and sell water, coconut water and all the other yoga gear your yogi heart could desire, including some very funky floral leggings which I have my eye on.
I was glad not to be the only newbie to Hot Yoga in the class, and Caroline, a trained Bikram yoga teacher, took the time to explain to the newbies what to expect. The class started off with some pranayama (breathing exercises), and then moved onto the postures. It was already balmy and warm when we first walked in, but we were told that the room would gradually get warmer as the 90 minutes practice progresses… and it did. For those who have never been to a Bikram or Hot Yoga class, the classes consist of a series of 26 postures, with each pose preparing the body for the next.
Physically it was a tough class, and with the heated room we were already drenched 30 minutes into the class, I could definitely feel my legs and core having to work hard. The style of the class is very different to the yoga classes I am use to, but the majority of the poses were familiar to me, and Caroline explained what to do whenever any of us we weren’t sure. I was glad to be able to take a hot shower after the class and definitely needed the change of clothes that I took along.
It’s really good to get out of our yoga comfort zone sometimes, try out different styles and to be guided by a new teacher. It was good fun, and next time I’ll be trying one of their Vinayasa classes, as I didn’t get a chance to pop in and see that room.
The YogaVenue can be found just off the Cowley in Oxford at the back of the Tesco store right across from the pay and display car park (handy!). Visit their website here, and you can buy the range of clothes, mats, bottles and accessories at the studio or online at letyourbodybreathe.com
After the class I popped into my favourite shop on the Cowley Road, a fabulous shop that sells Fair-trade goods. But that’s a whole other post, so watch this space.