Fold Yoga will help you to go with the flow
PUBLISHED: 14:04 02 May 2017 | UPDATED: 16:15 08 May 2017
Fold in Newington Green was started last year by two Hackney instructors and comes with a clear message: to promote wellness, inclusivity and rein back on some of modern yoga's more aerobics-based aesthetics
Does yoga need to rediscover its balance? Unless you’ve been living under a rock in some distant Indian mountaintop (like an original “yogi”), you’ll have noticed the practice snowballing in popularity across London in recent years, giving rise to competitive squadrons of twentysomethings and showy, spandex-filled Instagram videos.
Such fixations with appearances, as I’m told on a visit to Fold in Newington Green, can feel counter-productive to the actual purpose of the practice. Started last year by two Hackney instructors, this beautifully intimate studio comes with a clear message: to promote wellness, inclusivity and rein back on some of modern yoga’s more aerobics-based aesthetics.
“We were looking to create a space that didn’t feel too trendy,” explains Phelan Glen, Fold’s co-founder. And indeed, as I make my way through the adjoining premises of Feest at the Greenhouse café, where friends sip coffee and young freelancers occupy its co-working spaces, there is a sense of community that feels undeniably welcoming.
What I’d failed to consider was the class itself. I’d signed up for vinyasa flow, a cardiovascular-based practice focused upon “continual flowing movement”. As Glen, 26, leads our beginners’ group through an opening 20 minutes designed to warm the muscles and generate body heat, my visions of a glorified stretching session are quickly dispelled by relentless transitions from plank pose to downward-facing dog.
I’ve never done yoga before, and it certainly shows in the high-rise of foam blocks I construct for support. Encouragingly, however, as Glen walks around the group, she offers equal instruction to both amateurs and regulars, so I never feel outed as a klutz. Eventually, my efforts to heed her emphasis on breathing even appear to build up something of a rhythm – a feat topped off by a triumphant roll into a shoulder-stand, before a more relaxing head massage.
Glen has been practising yoga for 10 years and teaching for three, but insists that everyone has to pick an instructor right for him or her. “Finding a yoga teacher can be as intimate as getting to know a friend or a partner,” she explains, adding that this is why Fold has a competitive introductory offer to allow “yogis” to meet the range of its seven fully-trained teachers.
By the end of the hour-long session, I’m covered in sweat, but there’s no doubt the combination of a core workout, candlelight and gentle soul music has washed away the blemishes of the working week. Having sneaked a glance at my friend’s wobbly shoulder-stand, I can’t help but feel a bit smug. But perhaps it’s more mindful to go with the flow.
Fold Yoga, 49 Green Lanes, London, N16 9BU
Introductory deal: Two weeks unlimited yoga for £20