After winning my entry into the Whole Foods Market WomenOnly Run (still in contention for the longest race name ever), I then entered a Twitter competition and won my entry into the Om Yoga Show at Olympia last weekend. What’s that about luck coming along in threes?! *runs off to buy EuroMillions ticket*…
Okay, wish me luck. Now, having only started practising yoga earlier this year, my obsession is developing at a fairly rapid rate. I’m still an absolute novice, but am already starting to see improvements in postures and benefits from regular practice. I really love it.
For me, being in the exhibition hall and walking around all the stalls was about as un-Zen experience as you can get (lots of noisy, bustling shoppers), but before the day I booked onto a couple of workshops. However, in the short time I had for lunch and shopping, I still managed to pick up the world’s most expensive sandwich (that’ll teach me for relying on exhibition centre catering), a yoga mat and bag, a few tubes of Nuun and I even got talked into a subscription to Om Yoga magazine.
Then it was time for some actual yoga…
Hips, hips, hips workshop with Leah Kim
Back in the summer of last year, I did Leah’s yoga session at the NTC Live Festival. At that time, I had zero yoga knowledge and I remember really struggling with the class. I think this goes to show that having even a little base knowledge (through a level 1 class or similar) goes a long way to help the enjoyment of a lot of yoga classes, as this time I thought it was awesome. As the name suggests, it was a hip focussed class (great for runners), with loads of lunges, floor based hip openers and a hell of a lot of time (yes, three minutes did seem like eternity) spent in pigeon.
It was flow based, but we also spent a lot more time holding poses than I would do normally to really work the hips. My favourite (funniest) part was laying on the floor, attempting to move my big toe somewhere in the region of my ear and Leah saying ‘this is great if you’re working towards ankle behind head’… whilst my foot was about half a metre from my head. Something to work up to, perhaps.
Boxing Yoga open class with Kazja Ekberg
There were tonnes of open classes throughout the weekend, which were filled on a first come, first served basis. Some looked fun (like Bollywood dancing), some looked a bit odd (like face yoga) and there were plenty of other more ‘normal’ classes like ‘Yoga for Daily Energy’ which I unfortunately didn’t make it to in time. One class that I did manage to take part in (and which there was a bit of a rush to get a mat for after some non-existent queue management) was Boxing Yoga. I was really intrigued as to how these two (seemingly fairly opposite) things could be combined into one workout.
The class was quite NTC/bootcamp-esque in the moves we did – lots of lunges, squats and planks, interspersed with some down dogs and all whilst holding our arms in boxing ‘guard’ or throwing slow punches. For me, this was the toughest session of the day. It was only a half hour taster, but I got seriously hot and by the end, a lot of the class were struggling to do the moves without collapsing in a sweaty heap. I’m not sure this would add anything new to my training at the moment, but for those who are interested in the benefits of yoga, but are less keen on the ommm-ing, I can see this would be a good alternative.
An interesting chanting wavey type class
Look there’s my head in the bottom corner! (Image from Boxing Yoga’s Twitter)
Vinyasa Flow for Athletes with Karen Breneman
Another good option for those who find they can live without the more ‘spiritual’ side of yoga (side note: personally, I really like that part and find it adds to my overall enjoyment of the experience of yoga, but I can see that it wouldn’t be some people’s cup of tea), is to find a class or workshop specifically aimed at runners or athletes, as they tend to dive straight into the more ‘physical’ stuff. This workshop was no different. At only 45 minutes long, Karen was keen for us all to get the most out of the workshop. This was one of the last sessions of the day, and looking around the room, a lot of very fit looking people had stayed around specifically for it. This was more the kind of yoga that I am used to, so less of a different experience, but a really enjoyable practice nonetheless. Karen spoke throughout about why the poses we moving through were beneficial to athletes and took us through some great stretching at the end. Some internet research (typing her name in Google) has uncovered that Karen is based in Edinburgh, so I would recommend her to anyone in that neck of the woods.
The yoga show was only a tenner to get into if you bought your ticket in advance, and I definitely would pay to go again. My tip would be to get the programme in advance, plan which day has the most interesting classes to you and plan your day around these, ensuring you turn up in plenty of time before the start to bag a mat – that’s the best way to get the most value of the ticket.