Having previously tried out Team TRX with Melissa Scott, Sarah and I were ready for our next challenge given to us by Melissa – the ultimate Yoga Challenge! We were invited to the idyllic setting at Melissa Scott Total Body Training in Chenies to try out every style of Yoga class on offer and to bring you our Chiltern Chatter ‘Users Guide to Yoga’. We had no idea how many different classes were on offer including Core Yoga, Hot Yoga, Rocket Yoga, Yoga Flow and TRX Yoga, but we were all set to give them a go. As a complete yoga beginner and yoga novice we had little idea what lay ahead of us. Here’s how we go on:
The first class we tried was CORE Yoga on a beautiful Wednesday morning run by experienced teacher, Shasha Cross.
CORE Yoga focuses in increasing core strength and integrity, allowing greater freedom of movement when moving through the flowing yoga poses. The nice thing about yoga is that is non competitive and as we all have different strengths and weaknesses Shasha encouraged us to work within our limits whilst motivating us to do our best to achieve great results.
With some uplifting background music the class started with some deep breathing and warm-up stretches before moving into yoga poses. Having never been to yoga before I had no idea what any of the phrases or poses meant, thankfully the studio has mirrors on the walls which I constantly used to check what I was supposed to be doing. I must admit, I felt a bit overwhelmed and conscious and a bit unsure if I was doing it right. By looking around the room and following Shasha’s guidance I began to pick up the steps and relax a little. Shasha guided us through out the class and went around the room to adjust and correct everyone’s alignment which was a big help to me as a complete beginner. As it is a multilevel class Shasha provided different options of the poses to ensure that everyone got the most out of the class.
Chiltern Chatter verdict
We were made to feel very welcome and Shasha’s friendly and warm approach helped me feel relaxed in this new environment. The class was small, so there was plenty of space to move from one pose to the next whilst checking positioning in the mirrors and ensuring personalized attention from the teacher.
If you are new to yoga I think this is a great class to start with.
I was a bit unsure of the chanting at the end of the class but as a newbie I think I just need to relax an embrace this new journey. I surprise myself by how much I enjoyed all the aspects of the class – postures, breathing exercises and relaxation,
The entire class left with a smile on their faces, while I went home feeling stretched, revitalized and eager to return!
Oh yes and the next morning my core was definitely telling me that it had been worked on ☺ Although the class may seem relaxed, your core will feel the benefits!
On Thursday evening, Nicola and I tried out Hot Yoga with Ude Okye at Melissa Scott – Total Body Training. I’ve tried Hot Yoga a few times before but for Nicola this was a first!
Given the name of the class ☺, it’s safe to assume you are going to get HOT – the studio is heated to approx. 32 degrees (similar to feeling the sun on your body ☺). Make sure you bring a towel – you will sweat A LOT. Within 10 minutes I had a bead on. 20 minutes in, I had glistening arms & shins. And shortly afterwards sweat was dripping from the tip of my nose and into my eyes, and my clothes were utterly sodden. Stupidly I forgot a towel so had to use my vest top to mop my brow ☺ It’s all worth it though as according to Melissa’s website the added heat encourages the body through a deeper range of movement, improving flexibility, reducing stress, burning fat, building strength and healing injuries. Yipee to that ☺
This class was clearly popular as there were 13 in the room, which given the space was just about right. Ude, has a background in dance and body weight training and originally took up yoga in 2005 to enhance his dance performance, however, after a serious injury he turned to hot yoga to aid the healing process and soon became completely hooked.
I really enjoyed Ude’s teaching style, which was very laid back & clear with just the right amount of direction and encouragement. Ude demonstrated a few of the moves but was also walking around the studio checking people’s postures and re-adjusting their positing if required. This was very helpful for newbies like us – you can really feel the difference from even a slight change in position.
As I’m relatively new to yoga, I’m not familiar with all of the postures so I did find myself looking at other people to check I was doing it right. Luckily Melissa was in the class so I glanced at her a few times to check my positioning ☺
The class included a mixture of standing and balancing postures, and towards the end of the class we did some floor based work and the lights were dimmed.
Chiltern Chatter verdict
I totally understand why people love Hot Yoga – it feels so good to sweat out those toxins. I felt really relaxed after the class and slept really well that night. The next day I could definitely feel it in my core. I really loved Ude’s teaching style and will definitely be back for more! This is my preferred yoga class so far! I would highly recommend that you give it a try, please make a visit and support Melissa Scott. Next up is Rocket Yoga!
Next up for us was Rocket Yoga with Aimée Garcia-Marshall.
Rocket yoga takes it’s roots from Ashtanga yoga. It is a series of standing, balancing and inverted postures all linked by vinyasas, incorporating basic poses and some fun and challenging arm balances inversions and back bends. At one point Nicola and I were balancing on our arms and clapping our feet together ☺ Thankfully this was not captured on camera – it was not a graceful sight, but good fun nonetheless ☺!
This class should probably be renamed Rebel Yoga as it’s everything you wouldn’t expect from a Yoga class. If you’re looking for something calm and leisurely then this class probably isn’t for you. Think fast and sweaty ☺
Aimee was aware that we were yoga newbies and always provided an easier alternative pose for us, and the repetition of sequences meant we had plenty of time to get it right. Modifications and advancements were offered throughout, therefore catering to all levels.
Chiltern Chatter verdict
Rocket yoga moves fast and it’s easy to get left behind if you’re not confident with the moves. Although this class is suitable for all levels (as moves are modified), I do feel that the pace of the class may put newbies off. I would probably recommend doing Core yoga first and then graduate onto Rocket Yoga. Having said that, this was a fun class and definitely worth trying out.
Our next class was Yoga Flow with the lovely Sorrel Broadbridge. This was the class that I was most looking forward to, a class that would work on both the body and mind. Yoga Flow is designed to increase flexibility, strengthen and tone your body as well as developing a calm and focused mind, just what I need!
It’s a dynamic and exhilarating class which uses the breath to flow from one pose to the next in time with an inhale or an exhale. It took a few attempts for me to get the right breaths with the movements, but I’m sure this will come more easily with practice. There was quite a lot to think about, between the breathing and the movements but I guess as a complete beginner it’s fairly normal. The background music created a chilled out atmosphere and set the pace for the class to flow. Each class focuses on specific areas of the body, so each week the class targets a different area of the body.
Again the class was small and friendly, and Sorrel was very welcoming to us newbies! Sorrel was excellent at explaining each movement in plenty of detail and lead the class throughout so I felt reassured that I was doing it properly. She also offered modifications to the movements, therefore catering to all levels from beginners to advanced yogi’s.
Chiltern Chatter verdict
Yoga flow gives a complete workout for both the body and mind. Sorrel’s teaching method makes you feel at ease and also gives you the confidence that you are moving correctly through the sequences to maximise the output from the class. You will definitely leave this class feeling the mental and physical benefits of relaxing the mind while feeling energised from the movements. I would definitely recommend this class to both newbies and advanced yogi’s!
So our final yoga session was TRX Yoga with the lovely Sorrel.
At the end of last year Nicola and I tried out Melissa’s TRX class and boy was it hard! We absolutely loved it though – you can read all about it here. Having experienced TRX, we were keen to see how we fared with TRX Yoga ☺
Having been along to Sorrel’s Yoga Flow we knew we were in good hands ☺ Sorrel exudes happiness onto everyone around her and has a way of making people feel amazing about themselves.
The suspension training system of TRX both supports and challenges many yoga poses, helping you deepen the stretch while working your entire body. Sorrel’s yoga style is very directive, she talks you through all the moves, so even if you can’t see her, you know what to do, as she explains the movements so well. Having said that, I would have preferred to of had Sorrell next to me as being a newbie I like to make sure I am doing the moves correctly. I needed help a few times with readjusting the straps (I am sure if you go on a regular basis this would become second nature). I think that if you like a practice that flows from pose to pose, the constant repositioning of the straps could become a real impediment to finding your groove.
The class provided a good combination of very effective stretches with some strength and balance. Every move was broken down to understand form, purpose and breath.
Chiltern Chatter verdict
This is a great workout to build strength and flexibility. For me though this wasn’t as much yoga as it is good stretching.
I love Yoga and TRX as separate classes and think that I would therefore chose to do a yoga class or a TRX class.
Yoga is an individual experience and such a personal choice, so I would probably recommend trying it for yourself and letting us know what you think! It’s also worth noting that you wear trainers in the class and only take them off about 5 minutes before the end of the class.
Sarah: Without a shadow of a doubt, the two classes that I would love to do again, would be the Yoga Flow and Hot Yoga. I think that Melissa has created a wonderful studio with a fantastic atmosphere – this is is a happy place where people are friendly and welcoming. I tried yoga before at another studio and at that studio you have to be silent upon entering the room. For me (I am a chatter box ☺) it totally changed the feeling of the class. At Melissa Scott Total Body Training I really felt that I was practising yoga as part of a community. I have genuinely really loved my time practising Yoga here and hope to be back soon.
Good to know
• A term of Yoga costs £140 (14 weeks working out at £10/ class) or drop in classes costs £12 a session. Full term booking is made available before the start of a new term.
• You need to arrive 10 minutes before the class starts.
• Bring a towel for Hot Yoga – you are going to sweat a lot!
• Bring a water bottle to rehydrate ☺
• Wear trainers for TRZ Yoga – they are worn throughout the class and only removed for the last 5 minutes of the class.
• In the interest of hygiene, you need to bring your own mat or ‘sticky dot’ yoga towel to fit the studio mats – they are available to purchase if you arrive unprepared ☺
• Every class is suitable for beginners. It’s probably worth letting the teacher know your level before you start – they can then give progressive postures for those more experienced in their yoga practise.
• The full timetable can be viewed here: www.melissascott.net/timetable
Melissa Scott – Total Body Training, is a private studio is set in the ground of the beautiful Chenies Manor, offering small group Pilates, yoga, strength and personal training classes.
Disclosure: We were given comped class passes to try out all of Melissa Scott’s Yoga Class. All opinions are our own.