Image: The Urban Yoga studio (supplied).
I want to love yoga. I really do.
The idea of toning and strengthening my muscles without having to pick up a single barbell is just so appealing. I also like to envision myself as one of those people do their yoga by the sea at sunrise, even though I can’t remember the last time I was even conscious at that time of day.
However, I am horrendously inflexible (#TallPeopleProbs) and struggle with even the simplest poses. My body just refuses to bend beyond a certain point. I also look anything but graceful doing yoga — my “downward” dog would be more aptly described as a “dead” dog.
I’ve tried it many times, but it’s just not My Thing… however, if I had to do a yoga class I’d prefer it to be in total darkness, with music and other stimuli to take my mind off it. Which is exactly what a brand new Sydney studio has to offer.
Urban Yoga is described as the world’s first “sensory immersive” yoga experience. Basically, it takes your classic yoga class and adds a modern soundtrack (think Chet Faker, The xx, Fleetwood Mac, even some Michael Jackson) and nature-inspired visuals that are projected onto the giant screen at the front of the room.
Take a peek behind the scenes at Urban Yoga here. (Post continues after video.)
Urban Yoga was founded by Jacinta McDonell, who had been practicing for eight years but couldn’t find a studio that offered her a consistent practice. So she decided to create her own, and took the opportunity to mix in another great love of hers: music.
“I found there was a lot of music coming into yoga but it was in the background, and I wanted to be able to practice to music,” she explains.
The image projections accompanying the soundtrack are intended to allow people to escape their daily lives during class.
"[The concept] progressed into finding this space and really creating something for people to feel beautiful when they walk in, and not feel like a yoga studio," Jacinta says.
"My aim is to bring people onto the mat. Lots of people want to try yoga and this is a really nice place for them to start. It's a dark room, so you don't feel intimated."
She's right about the darkness of the room being a drawcard. I'm sure my efforts still looked awkward and clumsy, but I felt comforted by the fact that my classmates could only see my silhouette. It's almost like No Lights No Lycra for yoga. (Post continues after gallery.)
Rhythm-wise, the music helped because it gave me a beat to count to — useful when you're trying your darndest not to topple over mid-Tree pose — and I also got a kick out of the visuals. At one point during the class we were 'flying' through snowy mountaintops, which is an OK way to spend a Tuesday night I guess.
The one thing I struggled with was the pace of the class, but I guess that's what happens when you don't read the website properly and book into a class designed for those with pre-existing experience. Oops. The Urban studio offers a range of classes tailored to different ability levels, so next time I might just go back to basics.
What's your favourite kind of yoga?