So much yoga these days takes place in bright white rooms full of people who are there to be seen – often gazing at themselves in one of the many surrounding floor-to-ceiling mirrors.
On top of that, it can easily become less about inner relaxation and focus and more about watching everyone else in the room as you struggle to get into a position that barely resembles a handstand.
Charlotte Cox, the founder of Fly LDN, is working to bring City yoga back to its roots through the use of modern technology.
What is Fly LDN?
This is an immersive yoga experience. Yes, immersive may be an overused term these days, but it really seems to work here.
The large, dark studio space is lit up by a massive HD screen, showing both images and videos of serene landscapes.
It slowly transitions from snow covered mountain tops to crashing waves, and then to rolling hills as you take one of their 45-minute flow classes.
It was born as a response to the HIIT class trend – the high intensity impact classes that put people into a more stressful state with the aid of blaring lights, loud music and gym instructors who call for everyone to ‘increase resistance’.
These workouts are all about creating a sensory overload.
Charlotte believes that, with theses classes, “you feel like you’re working out your stress but what you’re actually doing is increasing your cortisol levels”.
“You’re layering on these levels of chronic stress and inflammation,” she added. Fly LDN’s low impact classes do the complete opposite, helping City folk find some calm among all the stresses of the outside world while still sweating it out.
How does it work?
Fly LDN offers flow yoga classes to people of all levels of experience and backgrounds.
First timers won’t feel so out of place in the dimly lit studio, as others in the room will struggle to notice your lack of grace and flexibility.
Novices will also excel at a far greater rate thanks to the added yoga assistant in every class – a rare find in studios around the City.
This means you’ll get eased into the right positions and get more of a one-to-one experience. That’s a massive win.
Other classes offered at Fly LDN include ‘Slow Flow’ which is more meditative, aimed at busy business people who really need to tune everything out.
Members can also try Pilates, Barre and their special ‘Low Impact’ classes – a set of highly personalised strength and conditioning workouts located in their second studio.
What are the benefits?
The immersive qualities of the yoga class (the screen, music and dark room) all help to produce a greater feeling of intimacy, allowing you to focus on your own practice, rather than looking at other people and trying to copy what they do.
It’s not about everybody else, it’s just about you.
Charlotte is also a firm believer in the ways in which the visuals of nature can help reduce stress. The human brain responds to these images, creating a greater sense of wellbeing and optimism.
Similar visuals are used to help cancer patients relax while they receive chemotherapy treatment, and have also been used to help prisoners in solitary confinement.
This all feeds into Fly’s ethos of creating a low impact, low stress environment where people in the City can escape their hectic lives and
recover in a safe space. Plus, it also just looks really cool.
A single class will set you back £20; a five-class pass comes in at £95; and a 10-class pass is £180.
Alternatively, regular yoga-goers can get the monthly membership for £190, which includes 20 classes a month, wait list priority, and advanced booking.
Where can we try it?
Fly LDN, 24 Creechurch Lane EC3A 5EH