Often when I’m holidays (the perks of being a school teacher), I go through little phases of inspiration and hope. Last week that little phase was yoga. Living in Sydney we are spoilt by options for yoga studios, although I think that makes it a little harder to narrow down which one’s you want to try. In some areas you can get a week free of yoga classes to test out the studio before you commit. To my dismay however, Sydney yoga seems to be in such high-demand that free classes just aren’t a thing. I really didn’t want to sign up to anything so I literally Googled away for what felt like forever, in the search for a free yoga class. That’s when I stumbled upon Urban Yoga – a chic yoga studio on Cleveland Street, Surry Hills. As soon as I clicked on their website I was drawn to the aesthetic of the place – modern, inviting, and definitely urban. I signed up for the 4.30pm Urban Base class that afternoon.
When I walked in the studio I was met by a staff member who showed me around the GORGEOUS studio – every detail had been thought of and I was immediately transported away from the hustle and bustle of Cleveland Street (and trying to find a park), to this amazing sanctuary of calmness. They offer you Green Tea to drink before and after class, and some super comfy lounges to laze on. Being as I was there 30 minutes before class (habits of a person who fears being late), I definitely made the most of it. I made a conscious effort to put my phone in my locker straight away so as to not be influenced by technology. It’s amazing how so often when we are by ourselves or we are waiting, that the tendency to go to social media or web browsing pops up. I wanted to avoid that and spend the next hour or so completely to myself. I sat in the room on my mat, nervous but also intrigued. I felt particularly nervous because I was there on my own. I know that sounds silly, but sometimes having a friend with you makes you feel a little more comfortable. Unfortunately my friend Sarah is away in the US at the moment, so I decided to go alone!
The yoga room is pretty dark. If I wasn’t a self-conscious newbie I probably would have chosen a mat close to the front where the instructors sits so that I could actually see! The screen behind the instructor takes up the whole back wall and during the class images of nature are projected to immerse you.
I will admit, I tend to go to yoga when I want to feel good and do something light. Urban Yoga is not that. It was INTENSE. Never mind the projected images of nature, I didn’t even have time to look at them, I was dripping in sweat. At one point in the class I felt like I couldn’t keep going, but it’s amazing what the fear of embarrassment will do to you. I’m so glad that I persisted because I have never felt better after a yoga session than I did after that class. My body felt like it had worked out, but also felt relaxed and light. The next day my abs felt tight and I was on a bit of a high. The great thing about Urban Yoga is that you get to relax your mind as yoga teaches you to do, but you also feel like you’ve accomplished a workout afterwards. The whole 60 minutes I was 100% focused on the task at hand. I was able to shut out all my worries and forget the outside world and really just give myself 60 minutes to do something good. For me, that has always been the appeal of yoga – to offer a moment of calmness in an otherwise hectic world.
The instructors at Urban Yoga were so lovely and moved around the room guiding you in to various poses and aiding you with your breathing and technique. During the final mediation they also come around with some essential oils and give you a little head massage.
Whether or not its yoga or something else, I really want to make an effort to give myself 60 minutes of ‘me’ time a week. I encourage you all to do the same.