Featured in The Fit Traveller.
A metropolis bursting with ambition, opportunity and plenty of places to let your hair down, it’s not secret London is one busy town. It’s no surprise, then, that the wellness scene is also thriving, with Londoners keen to retreat from the frenetic pace with some much needed yoga. We’ve tried and tested the best yoga studios London has to offer and chosen our top five, so you can easily find your way to the mat whether you’re a local or a visitor to Britain’s lively capital.
Total Chi, 243 Baker Street, London NW1 6XE
Small but perfectly formed, Total Chi is a tiny oasis of tranquillity in bustling central London. A relatively new joiner to the London fitness scene, it has 2 studios and offers yoga, reformer and mat pilates 7 days a week. Wander past the daily queue for the Sherlock Holmes Museum next door and step into a white haven of all things good.
Total Chi feels more like a spa than a yoga centre. It’s incredibly friendly, and its top-notch changing rooms are stocked with fluffy towels, Malin and Goetz products and even complimentary razor blades. Free bottled water is provided pre-class and don’t expect to even have to roll out your own mat. There’s a chill-out zone stocked with yoga magazines and thought-provoking books – and the juice bar offers clean drinks and snacks, as well as Monmouth coffee (in my opinion the finest coffee in London). The maximum class size is 8 – so classes are never crowded and it’s easy to ask for help or advice.
Both yoga studios look out over a tiny Zen garden and I never fail to emerge refreshed and re-balanced. Classes on offer range from warm vinyasa to power yoga, kondalini, yoga for stress, pre-natal yoga, yoga nidra and even yoga for kids. The teachers are carefully vetted and the teaching is of an exceptionally high standard. A real find.
Triyoga – various locations
From its beginnings in London’s fashionable Primrose Hill in 2000, Triyoga has grown to become the big daddy of the London yoga scene, boasting 5 yoga centres across the capital. With its distinctive purple branding and buzzing vibe, Triyoga really is a hub of all things mind, body and spirit – offering everything from osteopathy and massage to healthy lunches and even its own teacher training programme.
Virtually every style of yoga is taught here, and at all levels – everyone is catered for from beginners to teachers. Mats are provided – although this is a busy centre and some are a little warn. If you have your own it’s worth bringing it.
Triyoga also offers mat and equipment pilates, barre classes and, most recently, Gyrotonic classes – a movement class using a “pulley tower”, that feels like a hybrid of reformer pilates with a yoga twist.
The centres also offer meditation and mindfulness classes and a wide variety of workshops – ranging from a few hours to a few days – through which you can deepen different elements of your practice, or just learn something new.
The treatment rooms cater for every need you can think of for mind and body – whether you’re looking for physiotherapy, acupuncture, reflexology, homeopathy, cognitive behavioural therapy, diet advice – or even a massage or facial – Triyoga has excellent therapists and offers it all.
The Camden, Soho and Chelsea centres also have cafes offering healthy snacks or a post-yoga smoothie. And if you’ve forgotten your yoga pants don’t worry! Each centre also has its own shop, stocked with great quality yoga gear as well as skincare, books and even jewellery.
Something for everyone.
Indaba, 18 Hayes Place, Marylebone, London, NW1 6UA
I first discovered Indaba through its workshops – I love the variety on offer here. From gong baths, chanting and connected breathing, to yoga basics and Ashtanga introduction – all of yoga life is here. Which feels appropriate, given Indaba means “gathering”. I’ve had my eye on their various headstand courses for a while, as this particular skill still eludes me.
Indaba feels like a “proper” yoga centre. Friendly, clean and more of an authentic spiritual vibe than some of its more commercial feeling friends in London. Conveniently located behind Marylebone Station, you may wonder where you are when trying to find it – but once inside you’ll find a surprisingly spacious and welcoming space.
The centre also offers treatments and healing – from the traditional to the more “out there”, just reading the menu of options makes me smile. Head to Indaba for sports massage of hot stone therapy – or take the plunge with ancestral healing or transformational breathing.
Indaba encourages you as far as you want to go on your spiritual journey. Namaste.
Yotopia, 13 Mercer Street, London, WC2H 9QJ
Simple and modern surroundings offering yoga and hot yoga in pretty Covent Garden.
Covent Garden is a great area of yogis – a tourist mecca and shopping hotspot, the area as a great alternative culture if you know where to look. Crystal shops rub shoulders with high street chains, yoga studios are dotted around above the busy streets and nourishing organic food is never far away.
Yotopia is an excellent, straight-forward yoga studio. Lots of natural light and good clean equipment – functional changing rooms and great teaching. It offers a wide range of yoga styles and different levels – including an excellent beginners course. I took my first tentative steps on the mat at Yotopia when I was working nearby – and really benefitted from the welcoming and encouraging atmosphere the studio promotes. Without this I may not have continued what has been such a life-changing journey for me.
As well as daily classes, Yotopia offers a number of workshops, many of which focus on the spiritual side of yoga. Gong baths, mediation and chakra work are all on offer.
A simple, elegant studio where things are just done well.
Good Vibes, various locations
Good Vibes focuses its attention on “Glow” yoga and pilates. The crux of this approach is the gentle heat of the classes, achieved using cutting-edge infrared heating, which encourages the body to open. The first studio in Europe to offer this technology, Good Vibes also use SAD lighting to improve one’s mood – an excellent benefit in the depths of the UK’s winter months! Although class sizes are large, there’s something about the atmosphere here that makes it feel cosy and intimate. The dark wood floors and great lighting make you feel tucked away in womb-like safety.
As the name suggests, these studios are all about positivity. Students are encouraged to focus on what feels good in the body, rather than worrying about achieving the perfect pose – which, for me, is what makes great yoga teaching.
The facilities are functional but good. Mats are clean, good quality and pre-laid out (so no awkward “where shall I put myself” moments) – but remember to bring a pound coin for the changing-room lockers.
Classes are busy so book in advance. Teaching is concentrated mainly on Vinyasa flow but other yoga styles are also on offer – including “yang and yin” and candlelit “bliss” classes for the ultimate wind down. The studio also offers mat pilates and “ballet burn”.
Practical workshops are also available – from meditation, arm balancing, and breathing, there’s a number of options to deepen your practice in a way that’s less “woo woo” than some of its more spiritual sisters.
A friendly, warm, fun and positive studio.