North London's Cultural Guide

Be Different 2015: fire up your mojo

With the latest press reports howling that the fabled ‘detox’ isn’t really a scientific thing, here are some sexier alternatives

Yoga on Queen's Crescent: Fierce Grace Hothouse
Yoga on Queen’s Crescent: Fierce Grace Hothouse

Bend, not spend

Michele Pernetta is no fan of cod-spiritual yoga claptrap. Her Fierce Grace system does away with incense and Sanskrit in favour of a thoroughly modern, five-class interconnected system of bends, twists and crunches, performed in a hot room. Enlightenment follows regardless, particularly around the tummy. Her Queen’s Crescent studio was the first to bring Bikram yoga to the UK, but she broke ranks with the controversial man and his strict franchise a year ago. Read our review of the yoga and interview with Michele here. These days, the NW5 outlet is known as The Hothouse, the UK’s first half price yoga studio, where drop-in classes are only £8. Sunday Times Style mag went as far as to rate Fierce Grace the absolute numero uno way to get fit in a recent feature. So to beat that porky bulge without breaking the piggy bank, head for the ‘Crez.
More info 173 Queen’s Crescent NW5, 020 7692 6900

Escape the chill in a cabin

No matter what your age, winter is when our proverbial old bones are prone to creak, while muscles feel tense, stiff, often even sprained. Touch Tuina is the new Malden Road clinic (and the first in London) to focus on the ancient Chinese massage system of Tui Na, treating all manner of physical gripes, or simply maintaining a healthy bod. A session involves rhythmic stimulation of the musko-skeletal system and internal organs – and you don’t even take your clothes off. The results are surprisingly robust as they kick in over the following days. The centre also offers a far infrared heat cabin, to give your system a boost using invisible rays. They ease those tight backs and cricked necks while getting the blood flowing. Try it out with a 15 minute taster session and 20% off your first massage too.
More info 46 Malden Rd NW5, 020 3623 2952

Stretch yourself: yoga at Down to Earth
Stretch yourself: yoga at Down to Earth

Cleanse body and mind… on Fortess Rd

New Year atonement can be found with the help of yogi Mina Hosokawa. This Sunday (18th) she runs a cleansing workshop at new epicentre for mind, body and soul, Down To Earth, is billed specifically as a ‘post seasonal indulgence remedy’. If anything is going to blow away the winter cobwebs it’s an intensive afternoon of backbends and breathing exercises. Next Sunday (25th) Clive Fogelman runs a workshop in meditation and deeply relaxing restorative yoga, aimed squarely at those of us who spend too much time hyper-stimulated by our smartphones. And there’s a daily schedule of purposely small yoga classes here too, plus an interiors section selling lovely things by Tufnell Park-based designers curated by studio owner and photographer Vanda Vucicevic.
More info 129 Fortess Road NW5, 020 7018 7657

Yoga without the effort

If the thought of balancing and contorting in a packed hot room sounds like way too much bloody hard work, a cheeky alternative is to have the yoga done to you. The ancient tradition of Thai massage involves being pulled into various poses, then being pressed and stretched to release tension and heighten energy and mindfulness. Which essentially gives you the benefits of a yoga-style workout but where the masseuse takes most of the strain. Double result. Osteopathy, Pilates and massage specialists The College Practice are running a keenly discounted £38 introductory offer in January, and practitioner Sambi works late on Wednesdays for the post-work, energy-drained crowd.
More info 60 Highgate Road NW5, 020 7267 6445


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