Spa Junkie at… Bodyism’s new London flagship: Part Three

Spa Junkie is part-way through a 10-day programme with James Duigan to lose weight and change her attitude to food

Thursday 1.30pm

The caffeine withdrawal is kicking in – I’ve had a pounding headache for days.

“Caffeine limits cerebral blood flow, so when you give it up there’s less constriction and you get a rush of blood to the head. When I stopped I lost my eye-bags completely,” Tanner says. That’s all the incentive I need. Next, a spot of yoga.

Bodyism has developed three types of yoga: B-Free – a dynamic vinyasa; B-Calm – a gentler practice using yin yoga; and B-Strong, involving longer holds to correct alignment, which I’m doing today. I meet with Melody Hekmat, a disciple of yoga gurus David Life and Sharon Gannon.

She smothers my neck in white Tiger Balm… I inhale the heady blend of menthol, cajuput oil, clove oil and natural camphor and position myself first into a forward bend and then a series of sun salutations – Hekmat works beside me in parallel.

For the Locust pose (a bit like Superman), I lie on my tummy, arms at my sides, hands palm up, forehead resting on the floor, and exhale as I lift my head, upper torso, arms and legs away from the floor. “Imagine there’s a weight pressing down; push up toward the ceiling against this resistance. Keep the base of the skull lifted and the back of the neck long,” she says.

I focus hard on Ujjayi breathing – heavy exhaling – and I can feel myself purging the stale air, my solar plexus pulsating on the mat.

We work through chest openers and back bends, after which Hekmat turns on some meditative music that sends me into a deep, sleepy trance – despite it only being the middle of the afternoon.

Her nurturing, intimate style leaves me almost ready for bed - headache vanished entirely. I have to take extra care crossing the street I’m so chilled out.

Friday 1pm

Advertisement

There are barre exercise classes, and there’s ballet. I’ve always avoided the latter, due to lacking any grace whatsoever. Instead I’ve dabbled in high-intensity hybrids and am still desperate to know what terms like arabesque and fondu actually mean.

Royal Ballet-trained instructor Karis Scarlette has pirouetted on virtually every major London stage with the biggest names in the industry, from Darcey Bussell to Carlos Acosta. I’m relieved to see her nibbling on a Clean and Lean cookie pre-class. She is human after all.

She hands us all a shot to get our class of six revved up for the foam roller. “So how many of you are new to ballet?” she enquires. Half the class sheepishly raise their hands. “Well, you’ll be relieved to discover that we have some professionals in our midst,” she says, gesturing to the group to my right. She’s not kidding.

We lie on our sides and draw circles with our feet to target saddlebags. After 20 reps clockwise and anticlockwise, I start to feel a burn that’s rewarded with a ritualistic slapping of the outer thigh – I catch my reflection, reminiscent of a beached sea lion.

We work through a warm-up to piano music, one hand on the barre, demi-plié into full grand plié, all while trying to master a port de bras.

“Part the feet naturally, try not to force them apart, now assume second position and repeat…” I now seem to have evolved into a shuffling penguin.

We move to more complicated poses that involve balancing on one leg (so this is an arabesque), before jumping up and down on the spot for the entrechat to finish…

I’m making this look more like an attraction at SeaWorld than an art form – but I can feel every inch of my body working.

Will Spa Junkie keep swerving the CRAP and beat her weight-loss record? Find out on Tuesday August 23.

Spa Junkie, aka Inge Theron, is the founder of FaceGym. She pays for all her own travel and accommodation. Follow her on Instagram @spajunkiechronicles.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Loading