On an average review we are usually sent out to the latest haunts to tackle colossal food challenges, testing the unforgiving limits of our jeans a little more each and every time. On this occasion however, we swapped our usual review setting for the likes of a hot yoga studio—spoiler alert: we survived!
We were invited to The Yoga Lounge Bournemouth to try the latest “it yoga” Fierce Grace: 90 minutes, 70 poses, in 40 degree heat. Created by the same woman (Michelle Pernetta) who brought Bikram yoga to London back in 1994, Fierce Grace is a new system that blends strength and flexibility for both body and mind. In combining the best of Hatha, Bikram and Ashtanga yoga this system is the ultimate amalgamation of core building, balance and flexibility training, as well as the additional benefits of soothing deep breathing and meditation. It also happens to have some seriously wicked ethos behind it too…
Over the years yoga outsiders (myself included) have laboured under the false impression that everyone who practices is of flower-like proportions, and born with the natural elasticity of a bendy ruler. But, the Fierce Grace mantra is that of if you’re even the slightest bit yoga-curious then you should act on it, as all are welcome. So, as a what I’d call “semi-fit” kind of gal, I and my partner in crime Vicky took ourselves off to try the class for ourselves.
We arrived at The Yoga Lounge Bournemouth one unexpectedly bright February morning (was this a sign? Were the exercise gods smiling down of our efforts?), the warm beams of sun filling us with uplifting energy ready for the class ahead. Having completed the relevant healthy and safety forms we collected our mats and entered the hot yoga studio.
The class began with a gentle standing back bend to awaken our muscles, and a series of deep and soothing breaths. The key to this class—and the most challenging thing to initially get my head around—is taking the time to breathe consciously in and out of your nose (as opposed to nose and mouth), and it really does make all the difference. In fact, the soothing simple breath reminded me just how much we take our amazing bodies for granted—something that kept coming back to me throughout the class. Another point to be made was the unique temperature of the room. Whilst many might be put off at the thought of the heat, it actually made movement that bit easier, allowing the muscles more flexibility—not to mention the additional benefit of serious calorie burning.
We transitioned from move to move, sweating pleasantly and profusely along the way, trying new and exciting things in the process. The beauty of yoga is that you can take on as many or as little of each pose as you like—there’s no pressure to be the most flexible because this is all about your individual body and you’ll find that your co-yogis embrace your ability with no passing judgment. When you start, your body is probably going to be a little tense, but as you progress you’ll find that each class you go that bit further and find it that bit easier and there’s nothing like that moment of realisation when you see how far you’ve come.
The class was wrapped up with some light meditation; a time to reflect. I lay there feeling sore but strong, exhausted but peaceful and overall proud of what my body was able to achieve with the right coaching. Feeling properly worked-out we picked ourselves up, got dressed and headed to the onsite café, Sukha Lounge.
To pep ourselves up we decided a smoothie was in order. I opted for the deliciously caffeinated Espresso Smoothie (espresso, banana, coconut milk, dates and cacao), and Vicky the Immune Booster (apple, spinach, pineapple, avocado, celery, cucumber and lime), both of which were appetising and packed full of goodness. To eat, we were offered their signature Bento Box salad: our choice of three unique salads. Considering we were eating possibly the healthiest thing we’ve both ever eaten, this was seriously tasty.
All in all we really enjoyed our morning of Fierce Grace Yoga and healthy eating and if you’re looking for a way to get in shape in time for summer, whilst also looking after your mind and soul then this is a fantastic option for you!
By Charlotte Williams
t. 01202 390090
a. 704-708 Christchurch Rd, Bournemouth BH7 6BY