My friend Chloe is one of those people who is constantly on the move, travelling and teaching yoga around the world. So when she put on her Facebook that she was going to be briefly in London to teach a workshop I thought I’d better take my opportunity to see her, and when I realised that it was to be at uber swanky Kensington gym Equinox, I was even more excited.

I met Chloe a couple of years ago when she was hosting a yoga retreat with Loveyogabum, the company she co-founded, in Tuscany and really liked her fearless but kind teaching style. I hadn’t done a workshop for a while and it’s such a good opportunity to get to dedicate a couple of hours to breaking down some poses and try some new things. Although Chloe said that when in India she teaches for an average of three hours, this workshop was a more manageable two hours long.image

Equinox, where the workshop was held, is a fabulously glossy gym in Kensington located in the same building as the famous Kensington Roof Gardens (in fact last time I’d been in the entrance foyer I was on a friend’s hen do rather than in my yoga leggings!). While it’s a very chic gym, it was also really friendly with the woman on reception showing me personally to the changing rooms and making sure I had everything I needed. As well as rows of shiny high-tech machines, a mixed class studio and chill out lounge, Equinox has its own dedicated yoga studio. If you’re going to do yoga at somewhere that isn’t solely a yoga centre, it’s definitely preferable to go somewhere that has a separate room for barefoot exercise rather than sharing a space with sweaty trainer  wearers! Equinox’s studio is a gorgeous space with big windows looking out across West London roofs, floor to ceiling mirrors and barres along the wall, should your inner ballerina want to come out.2014-09-20 16.41.58

Chloe’s teaching is rooted in the Iyengar style so we all took bricks and straps for the class and we were lead through a series of flows and heart openers as we began working into deeper and deeper backbends. The joy of a workshop is having the time to explore new ways of practicing asanas and we worked in small groups of two or three to use straps and each others bodies to bend into salabhasana and bow poses, eventually working up to practicing dropping back from standing into wheel pose.

I’d never done a drop back before. It’s always been something that I’d seen practiced in classes with a teacher’s assistance but never thought I could actually attempt myself. But Chloe had us in pairs, helping each other out, and almost the entire class gave it a go! I partnered up with the lovely Vicky, Equinox’s PR and marketing manager and fellow drop back newby. One of us stood with our feet apart, hands in prayer, while the other stood facing them supporting their waist. The first person stretched their arms over the head and backwards towards the mat, while the other helped lower them into wheel. After taking a couple of breaths in the pose, the assist-er helped lever them back up to standing. It was tough and daunting (particularly when trying to prise the other person back up from wheel without dropping them on their head!) but hitting my first drop back was super exhilarating.10689922_614379832013017_8823267628980116738_n

The two hour workshop flew by and was rounded off with some yummy complementary Rebel Kitchen drinks in Equinox’s chill out lounge area which I would quite happily move into if I were a member. Catching up with Chloe and getting to explore one of London’s best fitness venues was an awesome way to spend a Saturday afternoon. I haven’t quite nailed another drop back as yet but hopefully it’s just a matter of time!