Proof! I wasn't in bed with a hangover!


An old Indian proverb apparently says that how you spend the first day of a new year sets the tone for the 364 days that follow. Determined that 2014 wasn’t going to be a year of lying hungover on the sofa (this might have something to do with the fact that I’ve got a big birthday this year) I rolled myself out of bed on 1 January and towards Triyoga.

Triyoga has a lovely tradition of offering free classes on new year’s day at their Chelsea and Primrose Hill branches and, with every other studio in London seemingly shut, I signed up for the midday vinyasa flow class with Julie Montagu. Luckily I hadn’t had too heavy a New Year’s Eve, but having to clear pizza boxes and prosecco bottles from my kitchen was still a good incentive to head to the studio.

Julie’s exactly the kind of teacher you want on 1 Jan – she’s got a fabulous yoga-honed figure (she’s also a nutritionist and it SHOWS!), plays some uplifting music and has the best kind of American enthusiasm. Being free, the class was unsurprisingly busy but some attendees had a slightly un-zen start to their day when Chelsea council decided not to allow parking on single yellow lines by the studio, despite it being a bank holiday. You know you’re in a Chelsea studio when the teacher starts by announcing parking issues, some of us had to cope with taking the 345 bus!

This was a class without any room for New Year’s Day hangovers or the effects of Christmas indulgences – it was fast and sweaty and asked a lot of you. After going through each flow with a few breaths in each asana, Julie then had us take each of them quickly with just one breath in every pose. I particularly liked (and appreciated!) her mantra of ‘find it, feel it, breathe into it’. And when you find yourself doing cat/cow in crescent lunge, low lunges to a high knee in front of your chest and pushing back into chaturanga from upward facing dog you’ll take any encouragement you can get!

I’ve never really been one for the ‘new year, new you’ idea, I’m much more inclined to see Autumn as a time for change, but I was really pleased (and ok, maybe a tiiiiiny bit smug) to have started 2014 with a challenging practice. Here’s to keeping it up all year…