Spa Junkie on… Fierce Grace Yoga

Will a hot combo of Hatha, Bikram, Power and Ashtanga yoga give our run-down reporter a boost?

Image: Jay Yeo

Although I enjoy the excitement and buzz of life at full throttle, there comes a time – usually when my throat starts to get sore and ulcers appear in my mouth – when I realise I’m run down. Often I find that slipping on my Lululemon kit and heading for a yoga class is just the remedy. With this in mind, I set off to Primrose Hill to experience Fierce Grace yoga – the latest hot-yoga class in London.

Fierce Grace is the new system of five interconnected yoga classes brought to the UK by Michele Pernetta, who introduced us to Bikram yoga in 1994 after returning from LA. Michele was a personal student of Bikram Choudhury for many years. It’s designed to be motivating and no-nonsense, and is sequenced in ways that adhere to ancient yogic principles as well as the latest research on attaining optimum results in the minimum amount of time.

The session I chose combines the central poses of classical Hatha, Bikram, Power and Ashtanga yoga. The studio boasts a few quirkily mismatched chandeliers – a nice touch – and is fairly spacious (essential considering we’ll be exercising in 35°C heat!); and although there are around 20 of us, our mats are reasonably spaced, which makes for a comfortable class.

The teacher, Adam, turns on some upbeat tunes, tells us he’s standing in for the regular instructor today and starts us off with a selection of exercises, such as standing and deep breathing, half-moon poses and various Bikram balances and body stretches, to get the oxygen racing around the body. As we move between them, sweat begins to drip off my forehead, plopping onto my towel, and my face turns a deep shade of puce. I’m thankful for the groans and grunts around me, indicating I’m not alone in my discomfort.

There are a lot of hip-opening stretches and deep body twists, which I sometimes find too difficult, but our teacher is happy to let us work at our own level. Soon, I really get into the swing with my happy-baby pose (lying on my back with legs in the air, feet clasped in my hands just like… a happy baby!), which makes me giggle. Maybe I’m delirious with the heat?

As we pick up the pace and go into abdominal crunches, I start to feel dizzy, but a long glug of water and a few seconds of stillness soon sort me out. I can’t believe the amount of sweat that’s started to soak my clothes and towel, but looking around I know we are all in a hot mess together. The energy in the room is quite intense and I finally get that much-sought-after yoga high.

There’s a 10-minute optional meditation at the end for those who feel like staying but I decide 80 minutes of rolling around in my own sweat is enough and head off to the shower.The Bottom Line

Unlike some of the more classic yoga classes I’ve tried, which can be pretty slow moving (and quite boring, to be honest), Fierce Grace lives up to its promise of giving a cardio-vascular boost and a fully rounded body workout, as well as a powerful series of stretch and strengthening poses. I like the addition of (the fairly funky) music as I feel it allows the mind and body to flow together more freely than working out in silence. There’s also a friendlier, more relaxed vibe in this class.

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Spa Junkie is the founder of FaceGym. She pays for all her own travel, accommodation and therapies.   

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