Yoga Rebel – Review by Rebecca Pearson
Guest post from Rebecca Pearson – ModelTypeFace
So I was invited to try a Yoga Rebel class on a beautiful spring day in Hampstead.
Sarah Mac and I turned up in to The Sheriff Centre (1 minute’s walk from West Hampstead station) feeling cocky – both of us have a good few years’ worth of experience between us, so we felt that we’d be enjoying a leisurely Sunday afternoon of Cat’s Spine, Happy Baby and lots of dozing on the mat.
We were wrong.
Yoga Rebel is a yoga class with a difference: it has two teachers, Jacqui Hooper and Bertie Russell. Each would be a great yoga teacher solo: Jacqui is a former modern and classical dancer, and Bertie, an osteopath, has won Bikram’s Asana competition 3 years consecutively.
Jacqui led the class, and Bertie moved around us students, altering our postures. I loved this. Firstly, it avoided feeling ‘told off’ – you never want to be that person who seems to be constantly corrected in front of the class. It can make me feel quite self-conscious. Instead, Bertie glided around the class and quietly adjusted our poses, then stood back and watched as we flowed through each sequence to make sure we had taken on board what he’d pointed out.
There were certain poses, such as Trikonasana, that I realised I had been doing wrong forever! With just a couple of tweaks (raising my hand from the floor to my shin, moving my hips and rolling my shoulder), I felt my hips dramatically opened and my core really working where it hadn’t ever worked before.
Usually, classes are too full and teachers too busy to truly correct poses this deeply and carefully, so one might not achieve the full benefit of the pose (or, even worse, injuries may occur). As an osteopath, Bertie specialises in treating yoga practitioners and teachers: this hands-on expert knowledge is something that would definitely make me come back to Yoga Rebel again.
As for Jacqui, she is very inspiring in her strength and dancer’s grace. Sarah and I had opted for the intermediate class, and it was really tough. I quite enjoyed the challenge, but be warned – you will sweat, shake and grimace for every one of the 90 minutes in this class, while Jacquie serenely and effortlessly twists her body into impossible looking poses! There were a couple of times Sarah and I caught one another’s eye and giggled at how unlikely we were to manage certain moves – however I think that we were both surprised at what we managed to achieve in the class.
Just when I felt like I really couldn’t take any more, the class wound down and we lay on our mats in savasana. Eyes closed, I was pleasantly surprised to receive a thorough head and neck massage that eased any tension brought on by those numerous side planks! Best of all, a Sunday session ends in cupcakes, which felt thoroughly well deserved.
My only complaint was the heat of the room – the radiators appeared to be on full blast, and it did feel quite intense. However I suspect that it was because I went on the first day of the year to have some warm sunshine, so perhaps the heating hadn’t been adjusted accordingly. The studio looks out onto a pretty little courtyard, and I imagine on a warmer day the doors might be open to let in fresh air. That would be lovely.
I was quite sore the next day, which I always want from a class – I want to feel like I’ve worked! I’ve also noticed the difference in my practice: I better understand the poses that Bertie helped me with, and I’m now able to neatly jump my feet in between my hands from Downward Dog when doing Sun Salutation (I used to just do this ungainly step that I hoped no one would notice!).
There is no doubt in my mind that just a few weeks of regular Yoga Rebel classes would result in a stronger core and advanced ability – with the added benefit of knowing that you’re getting the full benefit from each pose.
It’s a great idea for absolute beginners as you’ll be giving yourself a comprehensive foundation for good yoga practice. I’d also recommend for experienced yoga pupils like me. You’ll find new strength in the poses you know, and you’ll be stretched (literally and metaphorically) in ways that you haven’t before.
For a class with two teachers, I think prices are pretty decent:
60 mins : £14
75 mins : £16
90 mins : £18
Practice 1 class a week (4 class pack, 28 day expiry) : £50
Practice 2 classes a week (8 class pack, 28 day expiry) : £75
Unlimited (28 days) : £90