Yoga in Baker Street
Tucked away in a large terraced building on Gloucester Place, near Baker Street is the Theosophical Society. When London’s corporate culture begins to overwhelm you, this old establishment filled with spiritual books and intellectual people, tucked away right in the heart of London will be a great comfort.
Coming to practice here confirmed for me that there really are all sorts of very VERY different practices going on. Practising at the Theosophical Society building has almost nothing in common with practising in a gym, a large yoga centre, especially a Bikram yoga centre. The emphasis here is on the philosophy behind yoga.
The society is founded on the principal of a universal wisdom that underlies all religions of the world. The belief is that people should strive towards their own truth, rather than one imposed by authority. They teach tolerance of other religions and the individual search for truth through study and contemplation. The Theosophical Society is gaining more interest and attention in a society of mixed religions, often suffering the consequences of conflict between them. It’s a great place to know about if you want to dig a little deeper in to the background of yoga and other spiritual pursuits.
Yoga for the mind and body
I entered the building which looks more like a library that a health club on the inside. The room that we practised in was panelled with book shelves and had a carpeted floor. For those of us without mats, we practised on the carpet itself.
Marion from Yoga Circle teaches a beginner’s yoga class and there is also meditation on offer from the Dhyana Centre. I went to one of Marion’s classes and found a very friendly, mixed class. There were people of all ages and more men than in most yoga classes. I was curious about the flip chart that we studied for the first 30 minutes, as I have not been to such a theoretical class before, but Marion engages with every member of the group, which gives a wonderful energy and harmony to the room. It is a true beginner’s course because she covers all areas thoroughly, learning different areas each week: strength, meditation, diet, relaxation and breathing. There is a good recap and continuation to the classes so that progress is made throughout the 8 weeks. Anyone starting this class will go on to practice mindfully and effectively.
Dhyana Meditation classes are 7-9pm on Tuesdays and 11 – 4pm on Sundays.
Sivananda Yoga with Marion is 7-9pm on Thursdays for beginners and 7-9pm on Mondays. The next beginner’s course starts on 22nd April 2010, book before 14th March for £10 discount.
- Yoga Styles: Sivananda, Meditation
- Private Classes: No
- Studios: 1 small studio (capacity 12) which is carpeted and panelled with book cases
- Classes/wk: 2
- From/To: 7-9 pm
- Class length: 2 hrs / 5 hrs
- Prices: £98 for 8 week course (meditation is free)
- Class Passes: N/A
Changing Room: No changing room, just a bathroom to change in.
Equipment: None, bring your own
Reception: This is not a yoga centre but there is a reception and sometimes someone there who can direct you to yoga. It is a very friendly place.
Typical visitor: Not your typical yoga-type, a mix of people who are interested in all-round yoga, not just the fitness element.
Other services: This is a centre for people who are interested in a wide range of spiritual practices and teaching so they have many different courses and classes. Keep an eye on their website for events.
Address: The Theosophical Society, 1st Floor, 50 Gloucester Place, London W1U 8EA
Telephone: 020 7563 9815 (Eric McGough)