Hot Yoga at Marshall Street Leisure Centre

It’s February, one of the hardest months in the Spring marathon training calendar, the time when the distances get longer and your muscles get tighter. Ouch. The perfect time then, to try a Hot Yoga class! It’s been a while and I knew I would be feeling a little inflexible, but this class was just the ticket.

I hadn’t been to the Marshall Street Leisure Centre before, what a hidden gem! Just off Carnaby Street in the centre of London, you can take any number of classes, use the fantastically equiped gym and swim in the most gorgeous 1930s swimming pool, complete with the original marble floor!

1930s swimming

1930s swimming

There was no swimming for me this time (look out for another post soon), but an induction at the gym and some lovely, deep, Hot Yoga. My gym induction was fun, a chance to look at machines and equipment I hadn’t seen before and to reacquaint myself with areas of the gym I haven’t used for a while. There are two gym spaces, one 100 station gym and another, with treadmills, circuit training and stationary bikes (the spin and HiiT classes take place here). Once I had worked out my goals with the trainer and been shown how to access all the resources on the website, it was time to head upstairs to the Hot Yoga studio.

Relaxing

Relaxing

I met the teacher going in and she told me all about this amazing space. It’s brand new, with special flooring and heating, which allows your body to stretch further and for you to take your yoga to another level. The heat hit me as I went in and I became anxious about being too sweaty. I needn’t have worried though, because the class moves gently and you ease into the yoga poses at a pace that lets your body adjust to this environment (you should take a towel and water though, because you will need them). It’s been quite a long time since I did a yoga class, so I felt a little self-conscious as the other bendier class members twisted themselves easily between the poses. Once again, I shouldn’t have been so silly, as the teacher turned down the lights, allowing us to focus on our own bodies and to enjoy the class at our own level.

Child pose

Child pose

I was really intrigued to see how different Hot Yoga is from other classes and it really was evident, in how comfortable I felt getting into positions that I wouldn’t have thought possible (I did have to step aside at one point though, to deal with cramp, an ongoing problem I have to work through!). I felt quite safe pushing myself deeper into the stretches, knowing that my muscles were fully warmed up; I could imagine this being incredibly effective over time. I travelled especially to the class but, if you work or live nearby, this would be a real gem of a place to find yourself on your lunch break!

Have a look at the Everyone Active website here, to find out about membership and the many classes available to explore.

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Everyone Active – The Castle Centre

I’ve been enjoying making use of the recently reopened Castle Centre in Elephant and Castle, run by Everyone Active. It’s not my closest leisure centre, but is the nearest Everyone Active venue. My bike ride there takes me alongside leafy Peckham Rye and I ride through Burgess Park to the recently redesigned Elephant and Castle roundabout. This whole area seems to be undergoing a huge level of redevelopment, with flats popping up all over the place and an enticing-looking ‘Elephant Park’ being constructed. These changes are gradually bringing in chains such as Pret a Manger – just by The Castle – and the area feels very different!

Castle entrance

Castle entrance

The Castle is easy to spot as you cross the busy road, with its bright neon sign and contemporary style. The foyer is big and welcoming, with desks straight ahead, to join, book classes or pay your entry fee. A quick wander through the automatic gates and you enter an open area, with seating and a small soft-play area for younger children. From here, you can see the swimming pool and, upstairs, the gym and studios. Navigating the centre is easy, with big, clear signage and I found the changing areas clean and well-stocked with lockers (which take a returnable £1 coin).

Changing area

Changing area

So far, I have used the swimming pool, which I have always been lucky enough to find quiet, so didn’t have any problems negotiating a space for myself. I was very pleased to see a pool-side sauna and steam room, which are quite small, but new and clean and they get nice and hot, perfect after a swim or training session (I *love* a sauna!). There are plenty of showers, with two next to the pool, with adjustable settings, so you can get it really cold post-sauna, one of these showers has a seat and is accessible. There are also showers outside the changing rooms and private cubicles in the ladies changing area (I assume this is the same in the men’s) – the good thing about these is the shower adjustment, you can get it to the right temperature and switch it off when you’re ready, none of that having to press the button every few seconds!

As well as the pool, I have also used the gym. This is really well equipped, with two areas, both with the same cardio machines, so no need to queue. There are treadmills, stationary bikes, Nordic ski machines, rowers and step machines. There is also a great range of resistance training machines, with fixed weights and a really good free-weights area. In the free-weights area there are also kettle bells and weighted bags, a TRX and various other things I’ve never seen before! I decided I should book an induction, to make sure I made good use of everything and didn’t miss out! This was a group induction, so we were shown around the whole gym, looking at all of the equipment to see how it works (it’s all very simple and there is always a fitness instructor on hand to help if you need it). After the induction, I got stuck in, warming up on the rower and heading over to the free-weights. I didn’t find it intimidating and saw that there were actually more women than men in this space.

I am yet to try any classes, because they don’t really fit in with my schedule; it would be good to have more classes in the daytime, I’m sure they would be popular.

Studio

Studio

If you want to try The Castle, the opening hours are Monday–Friday: 06:30 – 22:00, Saturday: 07:00–18:00 and Sunday: 07:00–22:00. Check the prices here and the timetables here.