Tonight was my first night back on the mat in about two weeks and the first time I'd done any real exercise in about a week and a half. It wasn't even down to party season partying (although that may have been part of what caused the coldy flu I've been fighting for what seems like forever). But my cold and not doing enough active stuff was starting to get me down so the fact that I was feeling a million times better today than I had in a long time meant I was so excited to hit the mat again.
It also conveniently coincided with the class of a colleague whose yoga I've been wanting to try. Katy of Red Panda Yoga is just one of the absolutely loveliest, most serene, warm and funny people you could meet so I knew her gentle Hatha class this evening was just the thing to start getting me back in balance.
Katy's class was at Yogarise Peckham, a little bit of calm tucked into the hustle and bustle of Peckham. Less than a two minute walk from Peckham Rye station, it's nestled deep in an alcove off the street so I was thankful to be following two other would-be yogis who knew their way! If you're finding it on your own, there's a handy map on their web site and signs to look for on the way in.
First, the vibe of Yogarise was great. Nice staff welcome you at the door, low lighting in a high-ceilinged former warehouse-style building and a gently warmed space made for a very welcoming atmosphere. There was even a tree in the reception area and Christmas lighting in the changing room which added to the lovely, cozy vibe and made the gross, drizzly London night feel a million miles away. Facilities are basic but what matters (the staff and class itself) are absolutely tops.
Katy's practice was exactly what I needed tonight. She is a strong leader with a soothing voice and firm direction that is absolutely clear and easy to follow. We went through a series that opened the hips and shoulders particularly and, while it was a gentler practice it wasn't too easy (for those who are more advanced, I challenge you to try Turbo Dog, a variation of Downward Dog I hadn't done before and I'm totally certain will make me sore in muscles I didn't know I had tomorrow). Katy was big on use of props to help us get into the poses if we needed them, but they only improved the practice and didn't distract. My favourite was the bolster under our knees in final Savasana, which I hadn't tried before. I have a bad knee which sometimes by the end of practice doesn't like being flat on the floor, so this was a great to end the night and allowed me to fully relax.
The combination of getting back to yoga, the atmosphere of Yogarise and Katy's guidance really made me feel an enormous sense of coming back to wellness and I can't wait for my next session! I think it's definitely worth the trip to Peckham to check out this great little studio and especially Katy's yoga.