*Jazmin hates anything that feels remotely like legitimate exercise while Alyss thrives on that feeling of getting a really good workout. What happens when two young women with completely opposing outlooks on (and willingness to) exercise try out the fitness class of the moment? Here’s where we find out... *
Is it just us, or does it feel like there’s a gym class that one celebrity fitness guru or another absolutely swears by to keep in shape? New exercise classes pop up all the time, and while most of the time they sound really great, they sometimes feel a bit out of reach for us mere mortals who either have no idea what they really involve.
Well, we worked up a sweat so you don’t have to. This week we headed over to Another Space to try their new Primal Vinyasa Yoga class – an exercise class that promises a ‘seamless blend of yoga, plyometrics and animal movements'. Yes, animal movements. Let’s see what this is all about then shall we…
Alyss: Pop ‘animal movements’ into the title of a workout class and you’re bound to get attention. Pair this with yoga and I’m signing right up. I love yoga, but don’t often feel like I’m ‘working’ properly – the energetic child in me finds it quite s-l-o-w. But yoga that promises to push you both mentally and physically? Sounds pretty up my street.
Jazmin: I'm a yoga fan. I don't necessarily know all the terms off by heart or anything, but I really enjoy the pace (most conscious exercise scares me) and boy do I love a good stretch. But I'll be honest, the primal thing threw me a bit because, how seriously can you take rolling around a yoga mat like a panda? I went into it a rather skeptically but thankfully the point was not to take yourself too seriously and it was nowhere near as awkward as I thought it would be.
How difficult is it?
Alyss: It’s pretty difficult, I won’t sugar coat it for you. But, this being said you can ramp it up as much or as little as you want. Doing yoga is hard without the animal movements, so given that in this class you had to ‘move like a gorilla’ which involved literally jumping like King Kong it does make it more intense. In a good way, though.
Jazmin: If you're a practised yogi, I'd say you'd still be challenged by the class which is great. And what's nice is that the nature of it encourages you to really listen to your body and just go with your instincts. So if you're doing a move that feels too easy, you can ramp it up a gear and intensify the pose. On the other hand, if you find something too hard (like me for 60% of the class) you can adapt the pose quite easily to suit your ability. Primal yoga is anything but strict with that sort of thing.
Do I need a working knowledge of exercise beforehand?
Alyss: I feel like if you had been to yoga before it would be pretty beneficial. I’ve done hot yoga for a while, and this helped when moving into particular poses. I feel like if I hadn’t done any yoga prior, I might leave feeling quite frustrated that I was unable to do some of the moves. That being said, the whole point of exercise is to improve – and there’s tons of classes to attend where you can improve bit by bit if you are a beginner.
Jazmin: Yeah, knowing your downward dog from your warrior II pose is definitely going to be helpful for this one. But there are so many new elements thrown in that there are bits that everyone in the class, no matter their experience, will be learning something new, which I found reassuring. Also the instructors were so SO great at coming round to help you get into the pose correctly without making you feel silly, which is super important too.
Can I fit it into a lunch break?
Alyss: For sure – if you’re lucky enough to work by Another Space (like us, #sorrynotsorry) you can definitely fit it in. Get your butt down there.
Jazmin: Totally. They also have a yummy food and smoothie bar if you were worried about time and wanted to grab something post-work out appropriate on your way back to the office.
Could I take a mate?
Alyss: You can, but I feel like yoga is the type of class you should go solo too. Obviously, it’s nice to grab a smoothie after with a mate, but if you really want to focus your thoughts and breathing – leave the mate at home, or rather their own home.
Jazmin: A pal would be nice but I don't think it's necessary. I always think of yoga as one of those few periods of time that I like to shut everyone out for a bit. But this one isn't like any other yoga class I've done. Safe to say that Alyss and I didn't really communicate bar catching each other's eye when we were told leap like a leopard.
Would I need to shower after?
Alyss: This is entirely up to you. I reckon if you decided to do this on say, a lunch break, fully knowing you don’t have enough time to shower – you could save your washing for the evening. But you’d have to take it pretty easy during the class. If, however, you go hard in the class. SHOWER.
Jazmin: I was sweating hard, you guys. More than I have done with yoga in the past. So if you can, do shower. And not just because the changing rooms are a d-r-e-a-m. The class a lot more physically demanding than I expected (i.e. I didn't get to just lie down and stretch) but I didn't mind the sweat. I felt good about the sweat.
Was it fun, though?
Alyss: So much fuuuuun. I laughed the whole way through, which isn’t normally something I do throughout a workout class. I really like the fact the guys over at Another Space have made yoga fun by adding animal moves into the mix. I find it really difficult to switch off during yoga and end up feeling guilty when I find myself thinking about work, not my breathing – so this class was the perfect balance of hard work, silliness and yoga.
Jazmin: It was definitely fun! A great one to try if you want to mix up your routine or give yourself a different insight into the world of yoga which can sometimes feel a bit inaccessible.
Can I realistically afford this?
Alyss: Let’s get one thing straight – Another Space is a very beautiful boutique gym. BUT, it’s without a doubt my fave in London. You leave feeling so relaxed, and that in itself is enough to justify spending the money each week on primal yoga, or another one of their yoga classes. So I’d say, for your wellbeing, yes.
Jazmin: It's not going to be as cheap as the local leisure centre down the road, no. But Another Space is beautiful, the facilities are great and I don't think you'd feel guilty about spending the money at all. Also, there are loads of quite flexible class credit passes which I'm a huge fan of. Because let's be honest, if you need to skip a week, you don't want your bank account to angry at you for it.
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Follow Alyss on Instagram @alyssbowen
This article originally appeared on The Debrief.