This article was originally published in the Elephant Journal.
Although yoga is catching on fast here in the UK, we really do not have as much choice as our friends across The Pond regarding where we practice yoga. When I did my yoga teacher training in San Francisco, I was able to try lots of different schools of yoga—all within a stone’s throw of each other. In London, however, you have to look a bit harder and be prepared to travel if you want to get on your yoga mat.
London offers a “no-frills” approach to yoga, which I personally really love. Studios tend to be fairly basic and many are warehouse type set ups. We do not have any “celebrity teachers” referred to in hushed voices, who slip into class with an air of mystery. We do, however, have some fantastic teachers and are lucky enough to host some amazing visiting yoga teachers from around the world, who come and share their wisdom.
This list contains some of my personal favourite studios and some that are highly recommended by yoga students and teachers alike.
Tri Yoga has three Yoga studios in London: Primrose Hill; Covent Garden and Soho. Theses studios offer a wide range of classes to suit all yoga practices. There are 160 listed classes across the three studios, from Iynegar to Children’s yoga, and classes from guest international teachers.
Teachers to look out for: Claire Missingham (dynamic flow), Bridget Woods Kramer (Anusara / dynamic flow), Phillipa Asher (Ashtanga)
The Life Centre
The Life Centre in Notting Hill Gate is one of London’s oldest yoga studios, established in 1993. This is a personal favourite of mine. It has a beautiful main studio with lots of natural light. There is a very calm feel to studio and a wide range of classes to choose from, suiting all styles.
Teachers to look out for: Jeff Phenix (General yoga), Leela Miller (Ashtanga/ dynamic), Danai Paleogianni (yoga level 1-2).
Jivamukti Yoga London
Another personal favourite of mine. It is a beautiful yoga studio, which serves as a spirtual oasis in the the heart of Ladbroke Grove (Notting Hill). Jivamukti Yoga offers all aspects of yoga: chanting, kirtan readings from the yoga sutras and – of course – yoga classes and workshops from guest teachers. As a matter of interest, Sri Dhamra Mittra will be holding a workshop in August.
This is a dynamic school of yoga and all the teachers have trained under the guidance of US-based David Life and Sharon Gannon.
Teachers to look out for: Emma Henry, Cat, Durga Devi
The Yoga Place
The Yoga Place is situated in East London and has a wide range of classes available, from yin yoga and meditation to Mysore style Ashtanga yoga.
Teachers to look out for: Carys Perkin
Ashtanga yoga London (AYL)
If you’re looking for a traditional Ashtanga yoga practice, this is the place to go. Mysore yoga classes are offered here. As with all traditional Ashtanga yoga schools there is no yoga on moon days.
Teachers to look out for: Hamish Hendry
Alchemy is a fairly new yoga studio located near Camden Market. It’s a beautiful set up and has a small café where you can refuel after your yoga class. It offers different styles of yoga including Kundalini, Hatha and dynamic classes. The timetable is ever-growing.
Teachers to look out for: Stewart Gilchrist (dynamic yoga)
Bikram Yoga Fulham
Bikram is probably the fastest growing yoga studio in London, with studios popping up all over the place. This is the only Bikram studio I have visited in the UK and, therefore, the only one I can comment on. If you love hot yoga, this is the place for you.
Teachers to look out for: Sanja Verma
The Special Yoga Centre
I could not compile a list of great yoga studios without mentioning this yoga centre. There are a wide range of classes including community payment classes. It is an all-encompassing studio with all ages and abilities welcome, with a strong focus on yoga therapy for children with special needs.