The Ultimate Guide To The Best Yoga Classes In London
At the beginning of the new year, many people look for inspiration to improve their health and to work off some of the goodies that were consumed over the holidays.
Feeling rather sluggish after the festive season, a friend recommended that I try yoga, which is where my search for yoga classes in London began.
Despite its popularity, I must admit I was sceptical. Yoga is for super flexible people, isn’t it?
I had scary visions of being asked to put my foot in my ear and then breathe naturally. Even with my reservations, I decided to bite the bullet and try my first class with a friend.
I was pleasantly surprised and the health benefits are wondrous. Improved posture, increased tone, renewed strength, flexibility and the ability to cope with stress.
Nevertheless, it’s still rather intimidating rocking up to a class when everyone else seems to know their asanas already. (That’s fundamental yoga poses, to you and me).
Yoga speak aside, I enjoyed the class, and most of all the friendly little community I’d been invited into.
So, let’s look at the basics first, what actually is yoga?
Yoga is an ancient form of exercise that focuses the body and mind on building strength, flexibility and breathing to boost your physical and mental well-being.
Thought to have originated in India over 5,000 years ago it is now immensely popular in the western culture, and with studios popping up across London and the UK, there will be a yoga class in London just around the corner to suit you.
Types of Yoga
There are several different types of yoga on offer, some are aimed at beginners and others offer a more intense experience for more seasoned yogis.
Vinyasa is the most popular form of yoga which is taught in studios and gyms. Vinyasa means linking breath and movement.
Postures are usually carried out in a flowing sequence, Vinyasa Flow yoga is typically for those who regularly attend yoga and the poses are done in a fluid, almost dance-like sequence, with no talking or describing poses in between.
Translated literally to ‘eight limbs’, most people identify Ashtanga as traditional Indian yoga.
Similar to Vinyasa the postures aim to synchronize breath with movement as you move through the series and are usually practiced the same way each time.
Named after B.K.S Iyengar, a famous yogi from India, Iyengar yoga is also based on the ‘eight limbs’ principle.
It was made popular in the West around the same time as Ashtanga. There is an emphasis on alignment in the postures using breath control through pranayama and the use of props – bolsters, blankets or blocks.
It is typically slower to assist students to get deeper into the postures.
Designed by Bikram Choudhury in the 1970s, Bikram yoga, also called hot yoga, is usually a 90-minute class that consists of the same 26 yoga postures and two breathing exercises.
The room will be heated to 105 degrees Fahrenheit with 40% humidity. Not for the faint-hearted.
Jivamukti Yoga – originated in New York City by Sharon Gannon and David Life in 1984, ‘Ivamukti’ translates to ‘liberated being’.
A usual class incorporates Sanskrit chanting, pranayama and movement with a theme to each session. This is a nice blend of spiritual and physical exercise.
Like its name, expect a more active approach to traditional Hatha yoga poses.
Similar to Ashtanga yoga, the postures are performed more quickly and with added core exercises and upper body work. Sequences are not the same every time.
Created by Swami Vishnudevananda in 1957, this yoga system is based on five yogic principals; correct breathing, relaxation, exercise, diet and positive thinking.
These work together to combine a healthy yogic lifestyle. The asana practice is usually 12 basic postures or variations of the asanas (postures).
Yin is a meditative practice that allows your body to become comfortable in a pose without using any strength. Also called Taoist yoga, it focuses on lengthening the connective tissues within the body.
Now that we have covered the basics, let’s have a look at where you can put your yoga into practice across London.
Best Yoga Studios in London
First opened in 2009, Frame now offers 1100 classes per week in six locations across London including Kings Cross, Shoreditch, Victoria, Hammersmith, Fitzrovia, Farringdon and a newly opened venue in Angel.
Frame’s modern and light-filled studios offer yoga, fitness, Pilates, barre and dance classes for all levels.
There are specific classes for pre-natal and post-natal Mums too. An introductory offer is available to newbies – any two classes for £20.
This boutique fitness studio that has studios in Covent Garden and Bank has everything you need to maximise your training routine.
Offering three class disciplines under one roof – Yoga, HIIT and Cycle – there is no membership, no joining fees just mind-clearing, invigorating classes whenever you want.
Book your class online and be sure to stop by at the Food and Smoothie bar when you have finished your session for refreshments.
In the heart of the city on Creechurch Lane in Aldgate, this yoga space is perfect for city workers craving an after-work hit.
Voted Best Studio in 2019 by the Men’s Health Gym Awards, the centre caters for all abilities.
Newcomers can always have a chat with the teacher before the class and alternative postures will be suggested for those less advanced.
You can choose from a range of class options ranging from the Chill class or the funkier twist on Vinyasa flow, the Candlelit Hip hop Yoga.
Founded in 2014, choose from a studio in Tuffnell Park or Islington. Their aim is to create a safe and welcoming environment to practice in.
There are introductory offers at both studios and they recommend booking for beginner’s classes to reserve your space, however, all regular classes work on a drop-in basis.
Bringing your own mats is actively encouraged although they do supply mats if you forget to bring your own.
Showers and changing facilities are available at both studios.
Situated in Hornsey, One Yoga’s website promises it is a place to nurture minds, bodies and spirits.
Founded in 2015, they offer daily classes, mornings and evenings to suit with a wide range of yoga disciplines on offer such as basics, dynamic flow, yin yoga and post-natal yoga. All levels are welcome.
Owner Jonathan Sattin had intentions of creating the highest quality centres for true well-being when the company was founded in 2000.
With five different studios to choose from across the capital; Camden, Soho, Chelsea, Ealing and Shoreditch each one promises to be a sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle of London life.
A broad range of yoga is available at triyoga studios from the more active Ashtanga, vinyasa flow and Jivamukti to relaxing restorative classes or even family-focused classes where you can bring the little ones along.
This charming studio is an East London institution.
Opened in Dalston in 2012, and they teach Vinyasa flow yoga classes to all levels including pregnant mums or mums with children.
All the equipment you need is provided, plus the floor is underheated meaning it is a cosy space even when the weather outside is not so kind.
A real community spirit can be felt here where their aim is to provide a refuge for all fellow yogis to congregate and share their love for it.
Before 9 am and after 6 pm, regular classes are held at this centre in Holloway where they believe that yoga is for everyone.
In between these times, work is dedicated to the Sonia Sumar method, providing yoga for children with special needs.
From beginner to Intermediate, including drop-in classes the timetable is available on their website.
With 50% of your payment going directly to the MahaDevi fund which makes it possible for a child with special needs, from a low-income background to attend a yoga therapy session, yoga here is a great way to help mini yogis too.
The centre in Maida Vale is a good option if you are looking for yoga in South London.
They welcome all abilities and their Iyengar yoga method has a step-by-step approach for introducing new students to postures so that you can develop control and learn the correct movements.
Free taster classes are available and all equipment and mats are provided.
Offering 150 classes per week across two venues in Lonsdale Road or Beethoven Street.
Their promise is that whatever discipline you are looking for, be it strength, flexibility, a sense of calm or good health, it can all be found on a yoga mat.
They provide a broad range of different yoga classes across their two studios, from Vinyasa Flow to Yin Yoga, there is something for all tastes and levels including expectant Mums.
Their introductory offer is available on their website, 30 days of yoga for £40.
If you’re looking for yoga in East London, the London Buddhist Centre is open to all with no expectation of Buddhist involvement.
Classes and courses on yoga, meditation and Buddhism are all available. With drop-in sessions and regular retreats in rural Suffolk, there is plenty of options to suit all yoga levels.
Opened in 1978 it is a long-established site with classes available morning thru evenings, plus special classes for under 25’s.
Chroma offers a revolutionary new approach to practicing yoga by combining light and colour therapy techniques.
Based on Charlotte Road, Shoreditch, Chroma’s aim is to create an immersive, multi-sensory yoga experience using brain-stimulating soundscapes and bespoke natural scents.
Choose your class according to the colours of the spectrum.
Launched in 2013 by yoga teacher Nick and strategy consultant Max, they began with a simple mission; to reinvent yoga for the modern world by creating an experience like no other.
Hotpod yoga has grown into one of the world’s largest yoga businesses. Classes are extremely unique as they’re held inside their inflatable purple Hotpods.
Each class is heated to 37 degrees whilst you’re taken through a relaxing yet energising vinyasa flow in a comforting, dimly lit environment.
There aren’t any mirrors, so there are no distractions allowing you to completely zone out and feel at one with the world.
They have an introductory offer of £18 for 10 days of unlimited yoga currently available.
Located in Peckham, Streatham and Covent Garden their ethos is that yoga is for all shapes and sizes, and it’s never too late to take up.
Everyone is welcome. Classes are divided into levels – Level One for beginners and there are Level Two and Open classes available.
All mats and props are provided, and there are showers available at Streatham and Covent Garden venues (not in Peckham).
If you are looking for Yoga in south London, The Shala is a well-known yoga and Pilates centre in West Norwood.
The Shala sanctuary has a large team of experienced teachers who are eager to share their knowledge and passion for yoga practices.
Founded in 1997 by Gingi Lee, it was one of London’s first dedicated yoga centres.
A range of yoga classes is available for beginners, teenagers, families and pre- and post-natal mothers.
Zen Yoga in Denmark Hill is an ideal place to reconnect with yourself and your life. They offer classes, courses and workshops based on developing awareness of the body and mind.
Teacher and founder, Julian Daizan Skinner Roshi studied in zen monasteries in the UK and Japan spanning two decades and became a full zen master in the Rinzi tradition.
In 2007, he returned to the UK to share what he had learnt by setting up Zen Yoga in 2011.
Founded in 2012 by husband and wife team, Carl and Sophie, this independent yoga establishment has two studios in East London and the team has worked hard to create a welcoming yoga community.
Their flagship studio, located off Broadway market on Ada Street, was opened in 2013 and features its own showers and changing rooms. Their studio in Colombia Road also has changing facilities.
Beginners classes are on offer on Mondays at Colombia Road and Thursday in Ada Street, plus there’s a basics yoga class on Tuesdays at Colombia Road which might be a good start in acquainting yourself to what they have on offer.
Booking advised as classes are popular.
Located in Clapton E5, Supply Yoga offers friendly neighbourhood yoga classes at sustainable prices.
The money that you spend on your yoga classes is used to help fund free yoga for community support service users across London.
Their studio is a simple space, flooded with sunlight and promoting uplifting community yoga sessions.
The studio timetable has easily identifiable class names e.g. Strong & Slow, or Rest & Restore so that you can choose a class that suits you.
Drop-in classes are available, or for more serious yogis there is a rolling membership.
Beginner’s practice classes are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays and newbies can take advantage of their welcome offer of £20 for 10 consecutive days of unlimited access to their classes.
Hopefully we have covered a yoga class in your area, if we haven’t included yours then please drop us a line and let us know. Good luck in beginning your yoga journey!