Yin&Yang Yoga

On Wednesday last week I went along to a yoga session in the Sweaty Betty store in Islington. Pretty usual, SB run free yoga classes in all of their stores every week. Despite them being free and all the time, I’ve never actually been along to one. This practice was part of their ‘guest instructor’ series, lead by Nahid de Belgeonne, the founder of Good Vibes studio in London – another awesome yoga place I’ve heard lots about but have never been to (yet!)

Once we’d all squeezed our mats onto the shop floor, we enjoyed an hour class of Yang and Yin yoga. A very basic explanation of this is that Yang = the flowing element and Yin = the relaxing element. I’ve only very recently discovered Yin yoga, which is a more of a mat based practice, where you adopt restorative poses, and then hold them for much longer than you would a pose in a more dynamic type of yoga. The focus is on being comfortable, rather than any of the poses being ‘strong’, and the theory is you see benefits from holding a pose regularly for longer periods of time.

I personally found the Yin and Yoga Nidra parts of the practice preferable on this occasion, as the Yang parts of the class weren’t really ‘flowy’ enough for me and I found it a bit stop-starty. However, I would recommend checking out a class with both elements if you’re looking for a practice that leaves you feeling like you’re floating out of it.

As much as I enjoyed this class, I would also just like to take this opportunity for a very small rant. This session was taken in Sweaty Betty’s store on Upper Street in Islington. I was on the back row of the class, with my back towards the window facing into the shop. And the amount of men that felt the need to stop and holler at us through the window was RIDICULOUS. I fully expected people to stop and have a look, it’s not everyday something like that happens in a retail space (one woman even asked for details of the next session as she passed by, which is great). But one group of what I can only describe as boys actually stopped and banged on the window. They banged on the window. I mean, really.

I could go on and on about how stupid and immature and rude and sexist and all the other things that this was, but we all know that anyway. I think this recent post over on Spikes & Heels says it way better and can be applied to any form of working out, not just running.

I’ve experienced this whilst out running before, but what shocked me was just how much more vocal and leering these people were just because they had a sheet of glass between themselves and the women they were shouting at. Thankfully we just kept breathing and moved on.

A video version of the Ying and Yan yoga session is available on the Sweaty Betty website where myself, Leah and Charlie are also famous!