Let’s go to NoYo: why north London is becoming a hotspot for yoga fans.
FIONA ROBERTS – Published: 16 December 2014
Yogic calm is not the first phrase you would associate with Camden — at least not if you have ever tried to fight your way off the Tube on a Saturday. But it has just become the heart of the NoYo scene, now that the much-loved yoga centre Triyoga has moved from its spiritual — and bricks- and-mortar — home in Primrose Hill into a Victorian piano factory five minutes from Camden Lock.
It’s not a move Jonathan Sattin, who founded Triyoga in 2000, would have chosen. It follows a three-year battle against developers that even a Beatle (Sir Paul McCartney’s wife, Nancy Shevell, is a fan), and 1,700 supporters including Sadie Frost and Jools Oliver couldn’t win.
But north London yogis need not lose their cool. Sattin has used the move to expand, with an extra yoga studio, 40 new classes and an organic café. And it’s an eight-minute walk from the old centre — a short hop for even the yummiest of mummies and their Bugaboos.
Saying goodbye to Primrose Hill has been “very emotional”, but it has given Triyoga a new direction. “The last three years we didn’t know what was going to happen,” said Sattin. “Once you know where you’re going, it’s a lot easier than sitting in limbo. It has enabled us to spread our wings.”
And it’s not just Triyoga that’s taking flight and spreading out. Fortunately, since a new study from Harvard University shows that yoga is as good for your heart as cycling, Londoners living north of the river are spoilt for choice when it comes to mastering their asanas. A few minutes away in Camden is Becka Whelan’s Ziva Yoga, which moved to the Upper Room around the corner from Camden Town station in September. Affordable public hatha and vinyasa classes help her offer free yoga to local charities.
Up the Northern line in Tufnell Park is Down to Earth, which opened two months ago. Founder Vanda Vucicevic is a Central Saint Martins graduate so expect a beautifully designed studio. It sits above a treatment room and shop selling homeware, cosmetics and — next year — Vucicevic’s own ceramics. It runs 45 Yoga and pilates classes a week, including energetic vinyasa and slow-paced yin.
“We all know exercise and treatments are great for your well-being,” she says. “But it’s much easier to be nice to yourself when it’s on your doorstep.”
In Angel, Sally Lovett’s Stretching the City is adding extra vinyasa flow classes and a second beginners’ course from the New Year. Bikram Highbury & Islington is also expanding — it’s starting new workshops in January and looking to add jivamukti and hatha to its schedule in March.
Meanwhile, in its first full week in the new location, there are some fresh happenings at Triyoga Camden. Bikram devotees can for the first time try Triyoga Hot, previously available only at its Chelsea centre, and from January anyone hankering to be a ballerina can try barre — a combination of Pilates, yoga and ballet — in a bespoke studio.
The studio’s Nectar Café is run by Katia Narain, who has been at the forefront of the raw-food movement for the past 10 years. There, tired-out — or skiving — yogis can try a new range of plant-based nectars designed to boost health.
Practitioners south of the river may be feeling un-zenlike by now. But there’s good news — this month Noyo stalwart Fierce Grace opened a studio in Brixton, following the launch of its Kentish Town and East Finchley branches earlier this year. The centre offers its hot power yoga in Seventies-inspired surroundings. Truly a reason to peace out.
At the other end of the Victoria line, Abigail McLachlan and Naomi Costantino are spreading yoga to Walthamstow. Their new studio, East of Eden, will open in January offering everything from rocket yoga to post-natal classes and a new studio coming in September. Music is a key theme — McLachlan, a consultant for Napster, is working with DJs including Dom Chung and Tayo to create mixes to match the flow of some classes. Watch out NoYo: Walthamstow-ga is coming.