Turning the heat up on hot yoga
Muddy signs up for a yoga class at the award-winning Akram Hot Yoga Studio in Addlestone, Surrey. Here's the hot goss (geddit!!) on this popular form of exercise.
The benefits of yoga are well documented. It can improve flexibility, strengthen bones, burn calories, reduce stress, ease depression and boost cardio fitness. Turn the heat up and you’re getting a greater, more intense workout.
I’m a regular and pretty devoted yogi, attending at least one class a week for most the last 10 years. So it’s kind of strange really that I’ve never braved the world of hot yoga!
But now that I have, I may never go back. If you like to feel like you’ve had a good workout, this is certainly the yoga class for you.
My maiden hot yoga voyage took place at Akram Hot Yoga Studios in Addlestone. Owner Zahir Akram won the 2019 Muddy Award for best yoga instructor, an accolade that by his own declaration belongs to the studio as a whole.
The studio, in the old Barclay bank building on Station Road, specialises in hot yoga classes and teacher training, although there are also non-heated classes on the schedule too. The studio is well kitted out – mats are provided, though you’ll need to bring a towel to put over it for the hot yoga classes or your own ma. I’d suggest you bring your own mat, if you’ve got one, because a towel can slip around a bit. There’s also a large change room and showers. Hair dryers are also provided.
It’s industrial chic with lots of exposed brick walls and timber panelling, and being a former bank building – with the change rooms in the vaults – it really works. The hot yoga studio is dimly lit – and during the class you’ll be thankful for that as you sweat it out all red-faced and sticky. The second studio is more brightly lit, with a rainbow of coloured mats to keep things bright.
My class was at 1pm on a Thursday, taught by Lindsey Brown. And – I’ll admit it – I developed a bit of girl crush. Lindsey is a walking advertisement for the benefits for yoga. She’s lean and toned, has an aura of relaxed calm, a quiet confidence, and she’s beautiful.
The first thing you’ll notice about the studio is the heat. It sounds kind of obvious, but it really is a little like walking into a tropical climate – so it’s a good idea to get there in plenty of time so you have a chance to acclimatise.
There’s a great pace to this class moving through sequences including sun salutations and balances plus a seated section. Most of the poses will be familiar to anyone who’s a regular yogi – it’s fun, creative and at times challenging.
Lindsey offers modifications to the poses, and wanders the room to gently correct your form. It’s an energising class, and you’ll leave feeling you’ve had a really good all-over workout and a good stretch. And a good sweat!
After being closed during the Covid pandemic lockdown, Akram Hot Yoga Studios are open again. But to comply with the Government’s new social distancing rules, class sizes have been reduced by half so that mats can be spaced 1 metre apart. All classes must be booked in advance, and all students will have their temperatures checked before each class. Students are also asked to bring their own mats, towels and yoga props.
Single drop-in yoga sessions are £13 each or there are options to buy multi-class passes or a monthly passes. A monthly pass (anytime) is £90, a 10-class pass is £100 and a 20-class pass is £190. You can also buy a month pass for two classes a week for £69.