More Yoga

Yes please!

I am still running, albeit in a keeping things ticking over kind of way, leading my GoodGym runs and with the odd parkrun here and there, to test myself. My knee is still painful and swollen, so I visited my GP recently and asked to be referred to a consultant (appointment in a month’s time). I have realised that I need to think long-term and look at activities that will support my running, by increasing strength and flexibility. You can see how I’ve been working on the strength aspect here and, to increase my almost non-existent flexibility, I’ve been doing some yoga and pilates classes.

Recently I was cycling through my local area and spotted an interesting-looking building with a big stylised water lily image and ‘More Yoga’ in big letters on the front. It didn’t look very open, so I kept on pedalling and looked it up online when I got home. It seems there are studios all over London and the reason it looked closed is because the studios don’t have a reception and just open during class times, thus keeping the cost down. They also have just a few changing cubicles and one loo, with pared back decor (which I quite like!) and simple styling.

Special offer

I have been wanting to do pilates for a while, having studied it back in my dance days, but was struggling to find a class that was close enough to home but also fitted in with my schedule (there are some great classes locally, but not at times that work for me right now). I pondered the website for a while, before signing up to a ’20 days for £15′ offer and promptly heading to my first class.

Looking back over my class history, I can see that I’ve taken seven classes so far and I have enjoyed all of them. Each has been different (there are all sorts of yoga styles to choose from and a few pilates classes too) and all of the teachers have been great, really friendly, supportive and clearly experienced and professional (I like that they bring their own personalities into the class, giving each a very different feel). I would say my favourite classes so far have been ‘More Flow to Restore’ (which I did with snow falling outside last week!) and More Power Pilates, where I *really* worked out how to engage my core! Yesterday I was in a restorative session, using blocks, bolsters and blankets to support stretches that were held for around ten minutes each…blissful! The only criticism I might have is that the studio could be a little warmer, my hands and feet were cold and I think it’s important to feel warm when you’re moving into deep stretches (there are big blankets that you can wrap around you, which is helpful, but not always appropriate).

Signing up

My 20 days will be up this weekend, so I need to decide whether I want to continue and sign up for a longer period. There are all sorts of membership offers (I’m a little overwhelmed to be honest!) and you can also buy a class pass, which can be used over a set period of time (I notice you can even get annual membership now, but I’m not sure I’m ready to commit!). If you want to find out more, click here and I would definitely recommend doing the twenty-day option, I have found it a great way to get a taster of the different teaching styles and see if I can fit it in to my schedule.




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.



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.

Bend it like Fitartist

I yoged again 🙂 We had a different teacher this morning and, at first, I thought ‘Oh no, she’s putting on weirdy floaty chanty whaley music’ but actually she was very good and, once I’d stopped being distracted by the fact that the beautiful white walls are already scuffed after just one week, I had a good old stretch and even drifted off in a relaxed state a couple of times. Her class wasn’t as ‘sporty’ as last week, more ‘relaxy’, but I really liked it.

To get there I decided I would run. I got some gorgeous new shoes in the post this morning and couldn’t wait a moment longer to try them out. Now, I know you’re supposed to ease gently into minimal running shoes, but I was just too eager, and I decided one mile to yoga, a bit of bending and stretching then one mile back is quite gentle enough.

Cute shoes

Cute shoes

As I set off I was stepping gingerly along, afraid that I might heel-strike and do myself a mischief but, once I’d got over the initial weirdness of it all, I remembered that I strike with my mid-foot anyway, and didn’t really need to adjust much. The fronts of my lower legs started aching quite quickly, so maybe I was tensing up a bit, but I guess that comes with time. I felt much lighter and springy, which seems odd when you consider that these shoes have very little in the way of cushioning – the spring was all my own! I will keep you updated with my ‘barefoot’ progress as I try them out further this week. In the meantime, here’s a picture of Hector’s Lego Daft Punk for Travelling Hopefully, who has been enjoying the pumping beats at the gym:

Daft Punk as seen by a six-year-old

Daft Punk as seen by a six-year-old

You may wonder what an very-nearly-six-year-old is doing listening to Daft Punk, well they look like robots and they sound like robots, so what’s not to like?!

Real life robot

Real life robot

You may also wonder where I’ve been hiding for the past few days. Well, I have run – I did the 10k section of Peter’s class on Saturday. This was a one-and-a-half hour session with very many press-ups, a gruelling up and down hill section and a forty minute run – when he said ‘And now you will run for fourteen minutes’ I thought ‘Oh that’s ok’, but then I realise he had in fact said ‘forty’. It was hard-going but really good stuff. I have also been to the gym and I have stood around cheering on fellow runners at Hilly Fields Parkrun, something I always consider to be running by proxy…


I know, I know, I’ve been neglecting the blogging bit of Juneathon, so I am going to quickly move on and try and distract you…

I’m a bit giddy, having just enjoyed this delightful little film on the Guardian Running Blog.

Click here

It makes me want to run up and down a hill right now, he makes it all sound so easy and so inviting (especially that bit about a free beer at the end of a race). It does look a little like an advert for Inov8 though… The closest I get to fell running around here is Hilly Fields. We do have lots of good, challenging hills in South East London, but there is something magical about that hill they run up in the film.

So, back to my Juneathon. On Friday I went and did a trial session at the shiny new leisure centre, and there I was, with just one other person in the lovely big gym, with all that brand new equipment. It could be very tempting to have a go at everything and overdo it, so I reigned myself in a bit and stuck to what I normally use, with a few added extras just because. Saturday morning I went along to the running group of a friend/gym instructor/personal trainer. It was a beginner to 5k session and it was really good to see how you can ‘go back to basics’ and still get a really great workout, I was pushing myself as much as I would in a more ‘advanced’ session, and certainly felt the burn.

I have become slightly obsessed with the new gym and did a really intense session there yesterday but, as it’s now ‘officially open’, it was much busier. It’s right next to the train station, so I’m guessing it will be popular with commuters and there was a steady stream of people looking around while I was there. Every time I embark on a Juneathon or Janathon challenge, I say I will start doing yoga as part of my programme of activity, well today I actually did! Yup, I slowed down for an hour and got my head to touch my knees. It’s been a long time. I can see that I have a lot of work to do, but the teacher was lovely and I can see myself heading there every Tuesday for some one-to-one with a mat.

And breathe.

Juneathon days, two of ’em

Oh well, I was doing so well on the blogging on the same day as running thingie, but lost track yesterday so now feel all behind and befuddled. Anyway I did run yesterday, just a little local parks effort after feeling dreadful on Wednesday (no idea what was wrong, just felt awful). I did, however, tackle the yogi press-ups whatnots that Nadine told me about at the weekend. Hmmm, how to describe them…Get yourself into a downward dog position (triangular, bum in the air) but with your weight resting on your forearms instead of your hands, and have your hands clasped together. From here you exhale and do a press-up – of sorts – and inhale as you ease back into the starting position. Oh my! I felt it in my triceps, abs and thighs. Nadine said she uses this on her students as a build up to/preparation for headstands. I shan’t be going that far.

Today I eventually got out of the house. Hector really loves playing in the garden, well, I suppose we have made it truly special for him with all the space to ride his ‘bike’, push his trolley and run up and down and then there’s the wonderful sandpit. It does mean he takes some persuading to get out of the house. We did get out though, but not until about 4pm and it involved a trip to Ambala to get some savoury deliciousness to accompany the curry I made for dinner. Oh, if you haven’t tasted Ambala’s samosas, you haven’t lived! They are melt in the mouth gorgeous. This did mean negotiating the plodding pedestrians on Turnpike Lane, but we managed just under three miles.

When the curry has gone down a bit I will attempt some more of those Yogi Press-ups. Not sure if I’ll get to blog tomorrow, maybe late on, as we are meeting up with some family types.

Juneathon Day 18

Press-ups: 20

Sit-ups: 60

Yogi Press-ups: 5


Time: 30 minutes 35 seconds

Distance: 3.27 miles

Average Pace: 9.21

Best Pace: 8.18

Calories: 364

Juneathon Day 19

Press-ups: tbc

Sit-ups: tbc

Yogi Press-ups: tbc


Time: 29 minutes 30 seconds

Distance: 2.77 miles

Average Pace: 10.40

Best Pace: 8.08

Calories: 336

Cut short

I should have just procrastinated less and got out earlier but, as it was I ummed and ahhed, looked out of the window, wondered if it was going to rain and when we eventually got outside I ran a bit and it started to rain. For those that think I am some kind of fair weather wuss, I must point out that I run with a running buggy but we don’t have a rain cover so, although I don’t care if I get wet or not, it’s a bit unfair to subject the little co-runner to a downpouring. To make up for the lack of run and for yesterday’s lack of a sit-ups/press-ups combo, I have really gone for it down on the floor. I feel slightly light-headed.

Juneathon Day 5

Sit-ups: 3 sets of 50, 150 in total

Press-ups: 3 sets of 10, 30 in total


Time: 19 minutes 20 seconds

Distance: 1.75 miles

Average Pace: 11.03

Best Pace: 8.35

Calories: 179

My contribution to Highway Kind’s yoga challenge was to get myself into the Cobra position after all those sit-ups, felt nice it did too.

I found it hard to get to sleep last night after the crisis that was the Square Mile Run. The odd distance had really thrown me, and made me think I need to enter a real 5k race to test myself, try and work towards a faster pace. I also remembered an overheard conversation: ‘I’m sursprised how quicky he left us – blah – blah – blah – well, he was wearing casual shorts’. Poor man. They would have been horrified by the man I kept trying to lose in the last mile (or was it two miles, or three?) who was most definitely wearing ‘casual shorts’ and white fashion pumps! He was doing my head in because he had this really heavy, laboured footfall obviously drowned out to him as he had headphones on, but draining for any fellow runners. Oh, and a man running in jeans…It seems I wasn’t the only one to be thrown by the dodgy distance measuring. Cathy has written up her race report here, and it came in at over four miles. That would explain my time, which was more like a 4-miler than anything less. Hmmmmmm.