Yoga This Way is the new yoga studio in the ever so flexible Digbeth area of Birmingham. Hanging loose already, the Digbeth lot are being stretched to their limits, and taught how to work through their tight areas.
If you're not a Digbeth resident (I'm not), no worries - yoga teacher Jo Newman loves a new face, and offers both a more hand-on approach and a standard, less-intimate full class.
Every new student has their first class for free, and yoga mats are provided. This is amazing because on my first yoga class, I hadn't anticipated that I'd need to bring my own mat and was somewhat perturbed by everyone who was already in downward dog on their personal mat.
It's clear, even from my first 45 minute class, that Jo cares about the customer. From the free mat to the free session, she doesn't want you to waste your time (or money) if you're not 'feeling' the class. If you are struggling with a certain pose, she will come over and gently ease you into the correct position. She did the same with me on my first class.
The class itself is brilliant. I only really do yoga at home in my room, looking rather scruffy, so I was tentative about a proper class. I needn't have worried, however because the class was a complete mixture (of mostly women). Granted, some were in 'proper' yoga attire, some in looser clothes. Two men were in shorts, whereas another man wore long jogging pants. I fit right in, in my loose t shirt, tight jogging pants, and bottle of water.
Upwards facing dog
Jo leads the class through a series of poses. We initially were sitting on the mat with our legs crossed and Jo told us how we were going to move, and then swiftly got into positions, of which we were to all follow. The room was relatively quiet save for Jo's calming voice (and the occasional groan).
Unagi breathing is recommend (through the nose, and out the nose) throughout the practice, as it helps you manage your breath and keeps you centred through the more challenging poses - or at least that's what Jo said. Funnily enough, however, she was right. With the more difficult poses, I concentrated on my breath, and it really helped.
Once the 45 minutes were up I breathed a sigh of relief, but I also wiped the sweat from my head with a sense of pride. It was an invigorating, fun, and strengthening class.