Ok, a little word association game for you. Give me a few words that come to mind when you think of yoga. Tranquility, serenity, peace, right? Oh, and fierce.
FIERCE?! Yep, fierce. Get your postures into the 21st century, my flexible friends because Fierce Yoga is here on your doorstep and it’s… well, fierce!
Now, you can keep a secret, can’t you? Yoga is an area of fitness that presents a bit of a challenge for me. I think I’m a fairly fit and healthy individual but I’m not in the least bit bendy. My flexibility stretches (or doesn’t!) to touching my toes (and that’s knees bent, not breathing!) But I’ve never been afraid of a challenge… no matter how er… FIERCE.
Saturdays are best spent sprawled on the sofa after one too many tonics the night before… agreed? Not last Saturday I’m afraid. My weekend began with a debut at Fierce Grace, a studio with a difference central to the city where I would attempt to embrace my long lost zen. One glance at their website gives a clue as to what to expect. A bulky tattooed man is the last image you would associate with yoga. But read on.
The first thing Fierce Grace do for you is define ‘fierce’ and ‘grace’! Fierce need not be a snarling lion, it is all about ‘heartfelt powerful intensity’ and ‘forceful resolute action’ in this corner of London town. And Grace is defined not in balletic terms but as ‘inspiration from a higher power’. After 1 hour and 45 minutes of advanced yoga in their ‘The Beast’ class, you have completely redefined those two words for yourself. This is powerful, action-packed, inspirational exercise.
My initial scepticism was met with an encouraging assurance that Fierce Grace is as flexible as it intends to make you! It comprises of a unique series of 6 different classes, each with a different emphasis, duration and intensity. This is adaptable exercise specifically designed to achieve maximum results in the minimum amount of time. Think Speed Yoga!
I was told I would be more than capable of participating in the lengthened stretch and sweat session even though I wasn’t ‘a yoga pro’. Which I am absolutely not!! So, filled with excitement coupled with a healthy dash of fear, I squeezed into my best ‘Yogi’ outfit and headed for the city with my equally anxious friend Naomi. What on earth had we got ourselves into?
Upon arrival we were welcomed by a receptionist who said we would learn a lot if nothing else! Not exactly what we wanted to hear! The room was as expected… hot! It is ‘hot yoga’ when all is said and done! Mats laid and water bottles filled we prepared ourselves to pose… and learn!
The time passed far quicker than I expected and, although I looked a little wobbly and not quite able to mirror everything that the wondrous Emily managed, we survived. Despite our lack of basic knowledge, she proved a fabulous instructor offering help and guidance, straps and blocks throughout. How she stayed so patient we shall never know, but a great teacher always takes her worst students with her all the way to competence. I am so lucky she was so understanding.
Fierce Grace is and always has been a yoga revolution. They brought Bikram Yoga to London in the 90’s and they continue to push back the boundaries in order to make this ancient art available and doable for all. They changed my perception of what I thought of as an hour of ‘explained breathing’ by answering every dumb question I asked about yoga with a new and inspiring take on the culture. They stretched me – literally! – but they helped me take in what they were doing with my body every step and bend of the way. And now that we have taken on the toughest of baptisms to hot yoga, there’s no reason not to come back for more.
Thank you Fierce Grace for releasing our inner beast, and perhaps even stimulating a lasting love for Yoga.
Where can you find FG?
Fierce Grace have 6 studios located all across the city. Follow the link to find your closest.
What classes would we recommend?
The Beast (of course) and also their newest addition to the timetable, Wild.