Bikram yoga and me and coffee…..

Several of you have commented that  it’s nothing short of a miracle that this blog has been going for some months without so much as a mention of the ‘thing’ that has sustained me (mind and body) for the last 13 years or so. No not that. Yoga.

When I co-founded triyoga over a decade ago, very few people in London were into yoga. One of the other founders Jonathan Sattin thought we should try to give yoga a different spin over here a la the USA and together with Simon Low and marketing brain Ford Ennals that’s what we did.

Now triyoga is the largest yoga centre in Europe, Sattin has opened 3 other centres and Simon Low is teaching all over the world. Me, I do my own practice and lately have done something I swore I’d never do -i’ve come over all ‘Bikram’ (that’s not me below, but it is ‘the man’….and of course,  nobody stands on anybody in Primrose Hill…

Bikram Yoga - with Bikram Choudhury

Bikram Yoga - with Bikram Choudhury (Photo credit: tiarescott)

Why study an offshoot practice that has made one man very wealthy?  As a lapsed catholic I’m familiar with that concept. Lets just say I got bored with my own practice and when I go to triyoga in Primrose Hill I notice all the things that need re-doing and – frankly- after 13 years of Hatha yoga, I was curious.  The first thing to know about Bikram though is (without prejudice) it’s not really yoga. It’s a set of yoga inspired postures, which held for a long time in the considerable heat, have the effect of raising your heart rate and making you rather bendy. They say anyone can do yoga (I don’t agree with that) but truly anyone with a couple of modifications can do Bikram. Think of it as a 90 minute trip to Delhi wherein you touch down, get off the plane and onto the tarmac and do lots of stretches amongst a group of scantily dressed ‘others’ in various stages and shapes of fitness and then go home and take a shower. I like Bikram Primrose Hill not just because it’s on my doorstep but because its clean and it doesn’t smell that bad. I’ve smelt some Bikram studios in my time (New York and San Francisco predominantly) and well lets just say this is a great improvement. Plus the teaching is good. Really good. There’s a nice Welsh lady who makes you feel like you are in an overheated and prolonged episode of Gavin and Stacey and a small feisty teacher called Sintra who spouts nothing but good sense ‘yoga is not about learning to stand on your head it’s about learning to stand on your own two feet’. So there you have it.Try it

I’m including this pre-class pic which I wouldn’t normally do – but I’m pretty sure you can’t make out anyones face here…

The other thing I wanted to mention is my new favourite place Cafe Lanka. Its in Primrose Hill too. It’s  run by Japanese Chef Masayuki Hara who specializes in British/French food. Delicious cakes, amazing coffee apparently (I don’t drink it but all of my friends do). The Jasmine tea is divine…

Great service and you can poke your nose into the kitchen and talk to ‘chef’ – that is if he hasn’t come out to check whether or not you are having a good time. He cooks everything in this tiny kitchen.



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