For more than 4000 years practitioners have bended their bodies and stretched their minds seeking inner peace and outer flexibility.
The popularity of yoga ebbs and flows. I can remember in the 1960s a short segment on Australian television in which a fishnet stockinged female fitness guru proffered champagne while she demonstrated yoga poses — but for the life of me I cannot remember her name. This incongruous pairing has always endeared yoga to me. Unfortunately, I’m yet to find a champers and stretch class. Still, it seems that 4101 offers more challenging versions for the yoga enthusiast, and quite an array of options.
Flightskool conducts anti-gravitational yoga. This technique uses a soft trapeze to support the body and stretch the spine as one is suspended in space. Yep, that sounds like fun. Another popular and slightly more traditional version is hot yoga. Bikram, in the ‘Gabba, combines yoga and sweating to help people increase their flexibility. Rather than sitting on individual mats doing your own thing, Aspiring Acrobatic yoga has people pairing up to achieve dynamic balancing whilst performing acrobatic sequences. Bubacise isn’t actually a form of yoga but it is a strength and conditioning class that helps mums tone post-natal bodies while bonding with bubs. The classes happen periodically at South Bank. For the cheerful and not so cheerful, why not try laughter yoga. West End locals may see Denise Gibbons leading a jolly group in stimulated laughter and stretching on Saturdays in Davies Park. Try laughing while you read this — yep, it certainly gets those abdominal muscles moving.
Combining music and dancing is another yogic option. Recently the Motor Room hosted a Warehouse Yoga Party. This American style of yoga has a live DJ and saxophonist playing smooth tunes to give attendees the chance to connect music to movement. “When looking for a venue we wanted to channel the cool, edgy street vibe and eclectic nature of New York,” says Meagan of lululemon athletica. “We were immediately drawn to the alternative scene and great warehouses found in West End. With yoga and healthy lifestyle playing a big part of West End’s culture, we really wanted to share this experience with the locals and the broader community.” Similarly Mad Dance House yoga melds movement and music. Imagine achieving a cardio workout on a trampoline? Sounds more like fun that fitness. For the inner child, Lady Marlene’s School of Arts teaches hula hooping to whittle those waists. But if you prefer your ‘yoga’ more energetic then opt for their Urban Burlesque classes — sexy dance combos are inspired by club, hip hop and jazz dancing. Sounds like quite the workout.
What a range of fitness options — laughing, bouncing, gyrating — surely there’s something to tempt you off the couch, open your mind, and help you achieve centred calmness.
Words by Toni Johnson-Woods
Images by Adam Bortic