Confession: I haven’t done a yoga class for, gulp, nine months. And oh, can I feel it! I won’t go into my lame excuses but lets just say that anything for ‘me’ gets pushed to the bottom of my ‘To Do’ list – right under mopping the floors and dusting. Slack excuses, I know. So when I was invited to trial the new Urban Yoga everyone’s talking about, I lunged at the opportunity to find out what all the hype is about…
So, What Is Urban Yoga?
It’s an all-new bells and whistles concept – a contemporary spin on the age-old practice. Urban Yoga takes the great parts of yoga and puts you and your poses into a fresh, modern environment, with a super-sized cinematic screen experience and a music soundtrack to boot. It’s like being in the Gold Class cinema (minus the wine), with mood lighting, awesome visuals and a matching soundtrack, and doing a yoga class at the same time!
According to the Urban Yoga crew, “the practice promises to reinvigorate you both mentally and physically through its sensory immersion, transporting you from the mat and your mind so you can disconnect from the urban world and reconnect with yourself.”
Based in Sydney’s urban central at level 1, 401-409 Cleveland Street, Surry Hills, the studio is super-sleek – it felt like I was walking into a five-star health resort with its sky-high ceilings and windows, chill out zone and tea station, urban wall art and cool interiors – quite a contrast to the busy road and Chemist Warehouse that sit below it. But very, can i say, urban? And a fancy bathroom with primping and preening facilities with lockers means you can hit the bars, err, health food stores, post poses.
Bend & Stretch: Does It Work?
I joined the Urban Stretch class to get elasticised with an hour of Yin. When I began, I felt like the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz and had visions of an oil can lubricating my stiff joints. Despite the lower intensity slow postures, holding them for up to five minutes actually made me break a sweat. Seriously.
The wall length screen featured stunning David Attenborough style nature scenes of polar bear cubs frolicking through ice caps with their mum, Amazonian waterfalls and herds of dear exploring savannah plains, all with a befitting soundtrack. I was mesmerised. I even managed to switch off the ‘shopping list’ thoughts running through my brain for five minutes before an image of a can of WD40 popped back into my head again, replacing the cubs, and I realised just how rusty I was. It’s going to take a few more classes to get me ‘mindful’, I suspect.
Two instructors run the class – one teaching and giving instruction, while another helps yogi bears perfect their pose. I needed a little bit of tweaking. Okay, a lot. But I was not complaining. With my tweaking came a little massage. Bonus! I was more than happy to move deeper into ‘swan pose’ as one instructor, Patrick, gave me a shoulder rub and zapped the tension out of my shoulders!
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Would I do it again? Yes sir-ee. I don’t exactly feel like Elastic Woman just yet, but I have comfortably stretched and released muscles in parts of the body that had been seized up for months. The class I’m really aching to try is Urban Base (see below), which drops in unapologetic tunes from Chet Faker, Fleetwood Mac and other cool cats throughout the session.
Urban Yoga offers a range of classes to rock everyone’s yoga boat. All unique and suitable for all levels, from rusty beginners (a la, moi) to warriors.
Urban: The signature class, this practice is designed by be dynamic and challenging. I’m not ready for this challenge yet but when I master the stretch without breaking a sweat, I’ll be signing up.
Urban Base: Designed for me – or people who are new to yoga or in need of a little WD40. Base classes are designed to help you ‘switch on’ to a yoga practice and get comfy through a series of slow flow postures.
Urban Warrior: Hello, boys! This one’s for the guys and designed to target areas which are problematic for the blokes.
One-Off Rocking Classes: Urban Yoga also runs special event classes. Hold your tree pose to the sounds of DJs spinning the wheels upfront. Or as the Urban Yoga crew describe it: “A live DJ event with our very own DJ Jackmore – killer beats and a slow flow…”
Want to give it a try? Visit Urban Yoga details and session times.