Wednesday 23 April 2014

Glasgow Reviewed; Infinity Yoga

From the second I walked into the Infinity Yoga studio in Glasgow, I knew I was somewhere special. Greeted by warmth both in temperature and atmosphere, I was totally put at ease on my first visit by the owner Collette. I have done a few yoga and pilates classes in the past but never tried doing any of them 'hot' and certainly didn't know my baby dragon from my swan or my ashtanga from my bikram. A week on and thanks to three amazing, detailed sessions and I feel I have learnt not only a lot  about different styles of yoga but about myself and what my body is capable of.

With over 10 years of yoga experience under her belt, Colette is just a complete breath of fresh air. She has such an electric presence and energy about her that you can't help but smile when around her. On the flip side she is also one of the most soothing people I have ever met but don't let that powerhouse of enthusiasm fool you-she will absolutely work you hard in that room when the class calls for it. She absolutely radiates yoga and balance with a beautifully toned physique that I have literally never seen before from someone in the flesh and her ability to both relax you and energize you is magical. Nestled within an old railway arch on Osborne street in the Merchant city, I was welcomed right into the Infinity studio and was settled on a mat in the warm room before I knew it. Armed with a towel and bottle of water I really did not know quite what to expect...

The first class I tried was hot pilates, which was something I didn't even know could be done in hot conditions! I have preferred Pilates over Yoga in past experiences but the added hot element made this class one hell of a challenge to my not so flexible self. Colette was a master at guiding you through the positions with very minimal fuss, making adjustments to people where needed while keeping the class on track without disruption all while continuing to push people to achieve what they are capable of.  I was in positions I didn't think possible and working muscles I don't even think my body knew existed!The heat wasn't overwhelming to start with at all but as we worked through positions you really felt the heat- I cannot remember the last time I put my body through an intense workout like this and although it felt tough at the time. I felt AMAZING for it afterwards and I know going back I would only build on what i had learnt in one session. I have done pilates in a quite a few different places in the past but absolutely none were anywhere near as good as this, the level of care Colette takes with each member of the class is superb and makes a total difference to what you then achieve. The class was attended by a variety of people of all ages, shapes and sizes and  I completely recommend this class to anyone looking to push themselves and achieve new goals, it is a fantastic challenge that brings a whole range of benefits. 

The following night with a spring in my step, I was back at the studio for my next class. Yin Yoga was something I had never even heard of before and I was really intrigued to learn more after reading up on it on the Infinity site. Described as a 'quiet practice originating in the east via the disciplines of kung-fu' the class is said to improve concentration and improve flexibility. I was looking forward to this one a lot as I knew that without a doubt I need to learn to relax and unwind more and allow myself more quite stillness in my life. Typical of so many people nowadays I struggle to switch off, if I am not constantly checking my phone or on the computer, my brain is always whirring and there is no such thing as sitting down and taking it easy. Thanks to this frantic lifestyle my sleep is badly affected and I sleep very little so I had high hopes that a class of Yin Yoga might introduce me to a new approach to relaxation. A smaller class than the night before due to needing more space for positions, I walked into a very calm studio. Low lighting and soft candle light with soothing music lilting in the background, I lay on my mat whilst others filtered in, just enjoying the warmth and trying to bring my focus to the class and forget the outside world. The class was again ranging in abilites and ages ( there was even an adorable 6 year old next to me giving it her all!) and Collette gave us an fantastic introduction to Yin Yoga and the background to the practice which was really fascinating and helped the class really connect with what we were about to do. A slow style of  yoga  with poses that are held for longer periods of time  to apply moderate stress to the connective tissues, it is designed to help the flow  of energy through the meridian pathways  of the body which according to Chinese Medicine can help organ health, immunity and emotional well being. This class was a totally different pace from pilates and I adored it. The moves were achievable and you were once again expertly guided through them by Colette who gave fantastic insight to why each position was beneficial whilst also keeping the tone of the class soft, relaxed and very balanced in feeling. I didn't even really notice 90 minutes fly by and for once I didn't spend the whole time thinking of shopping lists and emails but instead had my focus on myself and class. This presence that she manages to bring out in you is testament to her years of training and why these classes are so popular. I have never met someone with such a breadth of knowledge and passion for yoga and what it offers so it was really fascinating to see her demonstrate these different styles. Yin Yoga is a seriously perfect class for anyone looking to relax while still working their body, I felt really at peace after it was over and for once- slept like a baby!

So my last and final class of the week was Hot Yoga ( in this case a blend of Astanga and Bikram) I was prepared for the heat thanks to the previous pilates class and was determined to do a little better in this one. A super busy class with men and women of all ages and abilities our teacher this time was Jamie who instead of demonstrating the positions, talked us through moves clearly and concisely while offering alternatives for the more advanced and also for us newbies. I thought it would be difficult to keep up but it was all so well described that it was fairly straight forward ( the execution not quite so much!) but I knew when to not push too hard and allow the more experienced in the class to hold their poses for what seems like super human lengths of time! The flexibility and construction of the bodies of some of the class just make you realise what these classes can do for you, toned and strong is definitely achievable here! We moved through many positions both standing and on the floor in the 90 minutes and it was a real workout that again had you sweating in the heat and working every muscle you have. I really enjoyed the class and felt really worked out by the end but also very calm and controlled also.

As Colette mentioned in Yin Yoga it is all about finding the right practice for you and trying each of these has been a real eye opener. Infinity Yoga really offer something for everyone and deliver each class with an incredible knowledge, professionalism, patience and positivity that I have never experienced in a studio before. The strong sense of community here is apparent from the moment you walk through the door, it is obvious that you get much more than a standard workout by being a part of it. I have adored my week of firsts with Colette and the team and can't urge you enough to give one of the classes a go, push yourself and learn something new- who knows where it will take you!

Prices start from £7 for off peak drop ins and they even offer student discounts. There is an amazing deal on right now with the first three classes only costing £15 for beginners which is the perfect way to give the different styles a go! You can contact the Studio on 0141 552 6378 and follow them on twitter and facebook.

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