September is just around the corner, and not only will it bring a beautiful golden autumn but it’s also National Yoga Month! You may have only recently given yoga a whirl or you could be a die-hard yogi fanatic, but either way, we’ve got some great alternative ways to practise yoga and some super cool studios you should try this month.
What’s yoga all about?
Yoga dates back to over 5,000 years ago in Northern India, but it didn’t attract followers in the Western world until the late 1800s/early 1900s. Yoga masters began to travel further afield teaching yoga and sharing their practices - since this time, yoga has firmly rooted itself into everyday modern culture offering something for everyone with the wide range of lineages, styles and creative yoga studios available!
With such a long history of reported benefits for individuals and community health and wellbeing, it’s not surprising that even Western science is beginning to provide some concrete evidence on the positive effects of yoga on both the physical and mental bodies. If you’re a passionate yogi, it’s likely you’ve already experienced the benefits of yoga practice - perhaps your anxiety or back pain has subsided, or your focus has improved dramatically as a result of regular classes?
There’s no denying that yoga is great for the mind, body and spirit, so let’s delve into some alternative ways to practice yoga and help you think outside the box this National Yoga Month. If you get inspired, login to your MoveGB account and start looking for some brill alternative yoga studios that can spice up your flow.
National Yoga Month: Time to think outside the box
Turn your world upside down with Aerial Yoga
Counteract gravity and clear your mind with an aerial yoga class, allowing you to move more freely with less effort. Drawing from the alignment and techniques of yoga, the use of a low hanging, wide aerial sling helps you to access these postures and deep stretches in a relaxed manner.
Whilst suspended in the air, aerial works on core strength whilst reducing tension on the bones and muscles, which in turn increases flexibility in the muscles and allows you to deepen your practice. This ‘weightless’ aspect of Aerial yoga classes allows you to get access to a wider range of movement!
Fancy giving it a go? Why not visit Flying Fantastic on Union Street, London, for Aerial Yoga classes suitable for all levels.
Flow in the clouds
Start your day by saluting the sun as dawn breaks over the city. Relaxing and stretching before an epic view is one heck of an alternative way to practice yoga - venture to London and head up to Level 24 of The Shard to experience a truly unique yoga class.
Flow through energising yoga over the impressive cityscape and spend an hour nurturing your mind, body and soul. Leave supple, inspired and ready for the day ahead.
Try out yoga up The Shard with Yogasphere.
Stimulate the senses with light therapy
Drawing on the soothing or uplifting effect of light, light therapy yoga has become a fitness trend that has captured many people. We know that light already has effects on our brains: blue light (hello iPhones) can negatively impact our sleeping patterns, and yellow light can produce a calming effect as it emulates sunrise. Plus light therapy treatments have been found to increase circulation of oxygenated blood in the body, which can improve metabolisms and promote detoxification.
Combine light therapy with soothing or uplifting yoga flows and you’re onto a winner. Plus, with the days slowly becoming shorter, combat Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) with a blast of light energy - whether you want to be energised or relaxed, choose a yoga light therapy session with the colours that suit your needs.
Explore ChromaYoga - London’s latest yoga concept. Classes combine light and colour therapy techniques, brain stimulating soundscapes and bespoke natural scents to create an immersive experience.
Sweat it out in a hot yoga session
Hot yoga has been around for centuries and is embraced by those who can stand the heat! Follow a sequence of poses and breathing exercises in a humid, heated room. Performing yoga in heat allows the body to stretch, detoxify, relieve stress, tone. It is also thought to heal chronic pain such as arthritis, joint aches, knee injuries, back problems, and more.
If you’re curious to try out hot yoga, explore Hotpod yoga - these inflatable 20 person pods can be found nationwide and host classes in 37°c heat. Enjoy active and passive flow of postures for an intensive and balanced physical workout. Restore calm and clarity to the mind!
Immerse and escape to far off lands
You may be in a yoga studio in your home city, but when visuals are projected onto the wall at the front of your class, you’ll be transported 1,000s of miles away! New immersive studios are popping up which include uplifting tunes and cinematic visuals or projections to turn a yoga class into a real experience. Activate all your senses and you’ll feel your body become more responsive to exercise!
Explore some of London’s top immersive studios:
Fly LDN: Choose from beautifully crafted yoga flows set to soul-uplifting tunes and cinematic visuals in their state of the art, immersive yoga studio.
Studio Society: Think surround-screens. Think high quality sound. Think scents designed to match your workout. Studio Society’s sessions use 270° HD screens and Bose speakers to transport you far away from their corner of North-West London.
With National Yoga Month kicking off, now is the time to get a bit experimental with yoga! There are so many exciting options out there, we’ve only just scratched the surface.
So whether you’re an age-old yogi looking for somewhere new to practice or are interested in trying yoga for the first time to see how the practice could benefit you, for National Yoga Month jump on your MoveGB membership and check out what you could get up to. With more than 1,200 yoga offerings across the UK, you can really find the perfect practice - from hot yoga to suspended yoga and everything in between!