Frame studio- Shoreditch

At the risk of stalking my yoga teacher I went along to a class she was covering at Frame in Shoreditch last night. I’ve heard a few things about Frame and I’ve been interested in checking it out for a while.

They are fairly new (as far as I know) and are dance and fitness studio rather than a dedicated yoga studio. This kind of approach worries me as I find that Yoga classes at gyms can be a very hit and miss affair. For me, yoga taken out of its context and used just for weight loss totally misses the point. Maybe its many years living in Brighton, or the hippy in me, but I believe that any weight loss or toning is a side effect of yoga and the real benefit is the balancing of the body and the mind and the sense of well being that brings.  If you’re selecting postures and sequences based on how  much weight students will lose, or where they want to tone up, you’re missing out the most beneficial part.

With the above in mind I was fairly apprehensive about what I would find. I was torn between wanting to check the place out because it looked quite cool and wondering how well yoga, a fitness studio and hipsters go together.

I shouldn’t have worried. The studio is a lovely space, high ceilings, lots of light and wooden floors. It was easy to find  and I was impressed with the friendly staff, the massive changing rooms and the overall feel of the place. While the class was only an hour long it was proper yoga rather than a soulless fitness version.

It was lovely to get back to Vinyasa flow after the Budokon I’ve been learning for the past month. It’s so much easier when you know what comes next and already have the sequences lodged in your subconscious. I was enjoying it so much that I totally forgot to worry about my forearm stand and got myself into the posture on  the first go. It was an assisted forearm stand but I found myself thinking that one day I will be able to get into, and hold, the posture on my own.

I wasn’t so keen on the massive mirrors in the room where the class was held but I suppose you need to have those for the dance classes. Luckily I was quite near the back so avoided having to stare at my sweaty face for an hour! The class was much bigger than I’m used to but everyone was very friendly and I didn’t spot even one aloof  hipster.

Yoga classes can be very expensive in London (£10 minimum often as much as £12.00) so I was pleased that my trip coincided with an offer they have on at the moment for 10 days of  yoga for £10. As this is less than I pay for my usual weekly class I was very pleased. Even if I don’t go again I’ve still saved £2.00 – bargain!  After a good look through their timetable I’ve found various classes I’d like to try over the next ten days and I’m rather looking forward to it!

Overall I’m very pleased with my new yoga find.

Post holiday yoga and more inversion progress

Much as I loved my super relaxing holiday I was rather pleased to get back to yoga class this week. I was looking forward to having a good stretch and maybe working off some of the cheese I ate on holiday. Of course  in an ideal world I would have taken my mat on holiday and got up early every day for a little bit of yoga to make the most of the warm weather…… However much as I love the idea I am very lazy when holidaying so that is unlikely to ever happen! Nevertheless I still felt slightly guilty for my inactivity. I have an amazing capacity for feeling guilty about things and generally fretting.  So amazing indeed that I can even bring it to a hobby as relaxing as yoga!

So, trying to ignore feelings of guilt about recent gaps in my yoga practice I turned up to class expecting to struggle through. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the class sailed by and rather than struggling through the postures I was really enjoying putting my body through its paces. We did a lot of work on our elbow dog and I was encouraged to find that I am finding that posture easier and easier to hold. Despite my little break from yoga I can still see how my body is getting stronger and how my overall practice is improving.

Towards the end of the class it was time for forearm stand. The more progress I make with inversions the less apprehensive I feel about having ago. I was thrilled to find that I managed to hold an assisted forearm stand (emphasis on the assisted!). One thing I really enjoy about partner work with inversions is the chance to see how other people are approaching the posture and to get encouragement from them and tips on how to improve. My partner suggested that I try moving my gaze and looking at my hands rather than straight down. This was a really small change but one that has really helped me make sense of the posture and given me hope that one day I’ll find myself in an unassisted forearm stand and maybe even transition into and out of the posture with a little grace!

My improvement with forearm stand gave me the encouragement to try out a full wheel rather than a standard bridge for the back bend at the end of the class. In recent months I have been avoiding this posture feeling too tired at the end of the class but this time I felt inspired to try. I couldn’t hold the posture for as long as I’d like and I’m sure that my alignment needs a lot of work but I’m inspired to make a really good full wheel my next project!

Inversion progress!

For me one of the most frustrating things about yoga is that you can’t push or force yourself into a posture. You have to relax and let it happen or you’ll just tense up and won’t get anywhere. For me it’s even worse with balancing postures and inversions as I will also fall over the moment I start trying really hard. This has been a major barrier to my inversion progress as the longer it takes me to get my headstand, handstand and forearm stands looking anywhere decent the more frustrated I get and the less likely it is to happen!

After what seems like months of unsuccessful attempts to get into handstand or forearm stand I think (touch wood) that I might finally have worked out the trick. No trying so hard. I turned up at yoga last week frankly knackered. It had been a very long and stressful day at work and all I really wanted to do was have a  little nap. I was too tired to put much thought into what I was doing and just concentrated on the instructions from my teacher. I hadn’t been the previous week so all my concentration was taken up with keeping my slightly resistant muscles from making me wobble. So, when we started on forearm stand, rather than spending time worrying that I wouldn’t be able to do it, I just had a go. We were doing partner work and I was shocked when I managed to kick my legs up high enough for my partner to catch them and, though I needed to be supported and my alignment wasn’t exactly textbook, I managed to hold the posture and fall out with something approaching poise! Though a tiny achievement for some this has been a huge breakthrough for me and I left the class in the most upbeat post yoga mood I have felt in quite some time. I suspect this was also aided by the short meditation our teacher included at the end.

The mind is a very naughty thing though and by the time this week’s class came around I’d convinced myself that it was just a fluke. So when we started to practice our handstand I wasn’t feeling too hopeful. But I got myself next to the wall and kicked up as hard as I could. I was thrilled when I kicked up high enough for my teacher to catch my legs (she’s very encouraging so I suspect that she helped me out with the last part and yanked me up a bit…..). It may have been wobbly and assisted by both the wall and my teacher supporting me but I couldn’t have been more pleased if I’d done it all by my self in the middle of the room!

I’m feeling excited about my future progress and hope that this the start of great leaps forward to come!