When the call went out last week for the best yoga classes, some readers suggested the best way to do yoga was self-practice. I can appreciate that yoga classes are expensive and it’s not always easy to attend classes at the time they are scheduled, but unfortunately I don’t have the discipline to be at home and not get distracted!
I was also intrigued by suggestions of posture and flexibility classes. However, upon further investigation there seemed to be limited classes available each week and this was something that required more commitment than attending a casual class.
In the end, I chose to visit Bikram Yoga Kingston and Hangestu Yoga in Deakin.
Bikram yoga is a series of 26 postures undertaken in 40-degree heat. The first half of the class is a standing series, ranging from an impossible standing head to knee pose to a more neutral triangle pose. Sometimes, the heat got to be a bit overwhelming, at which point it is advised to stay in the room and take a seated position until the feeling passes, rather than leave. The second half is a floor series, by which time I was extremely grateful for a little lie down … or, savasana. Each pose from there on is separated by a short savasana, which was most welcome.
At the end of the class my clothes were drenched and I felt pretty drained, but refreshed at the same time. I also found myself drinking a lot of water during the day, which can only be a good thing!
There are a few things that I wasn’t fussed on during the class though. One was the concept of pushing beyond my flexibility, which is what the instructors encourage you to do. Also, the instructions for each pose are constant, for the whole 90 minutes. It isn’t gentle and soothing like you’d think a yoga class should be, rather it is being constantly alert and a bit competitive – mostly with yourself rather than the people around you.
Hangetsu Yoga on the other hand, is very gentle and relaxing. It is a cosy little studio tucked away in Deakin. And I mean little. It doesn’t allow having too many people in a class, but it wasn’t overcrowded – insofar as I didn’t extend on to my neighbours territory. I did a Vinyasa class and here, the length of each pose is much shorter than in bikram. We moved through a gentle sequence, changing on an exhale, and flowed through. The faster pace does allow for a workout as well, you are definitely using your muscles, just without all the sweating.
Making a decision on the best yoga class is hard because they are so different and it depends on what you want to get out of your practice. I liked Bikram Yoga Kingston because I felt great working hard while stretching everything out. However, Hangetsu Yoga was perfect to unwind at the end of the day, still provides a little workout and it is a lovely little sanctuary in which to practise.