What is it?
A mixture: a fluid combination of static Hatha Yoga and sequential flow in a heated room.
Who’s the teacher(s)?
Award-winning yoga teacher and studio owner Zahir Akram and his wife Laura Akram.
Where can I find it?
Akram Yoga, a full time dedicated hot yoga studio in the heart of Surrey.
A range of options that include monthly memberships. Drop-in cost is £14.
Why do I need to check out this class?
Modern-day yoga is all about gimmicks. So many teachers feel they need to have a gimmick as their unique selling point. What people don’t appear to realise is that the only gimmick they need is to just be themselves. Zahir and Laura don’t try to be anything other than everyday people who students can relate to, and who just happen to do yoga. The reason they are so popular is they are unashamedly themselves which in turn encourages students to just be themselves and accept themselves as they are.
What happens during a class?
A typical 60-75-minute class consists of a sun salutation to warm up. Followed by static standing poses or a standing sequence. This is followed by inversions. A seated section and then backbends to close. That is the general idea although the format does change. The most common component of the class is arm balances or inversions. The idea is to get the student to see the best in themselves. They may not master the movement, but they will try. And it’s the trying and the effort that unlocks our true potential.
How will I feel afterwards?
Generally speaking, people feel on top of the world. Mainly because there is never any pressure on anyone to do anything that doesn’t feel right for their bodies on that given day. This is not a bootcamp and there’s no intention to get people pushing themselves to total failure. Here, they encourage people to listen to the instincts of their bodies and to remember it is called a ‘yoga practice’, not ‘yoga perfect’.
What’s the story behind the class?
Classes are a mixture of traditions. The alignment of Iyengar, the tempo and the sequencing of Ashtanga. But the main thing is the variance of the human body. The main influence in these classes is the modernday understanding of human anatomy and, more importantly, the variance of the human body. You can’t fit square pegs into round holes as the saying goes! So, everyone is encouraged to follow the teacher, but more importantly, to remember that they are unique (anatomically speaking) and that they should always just do the best they can with the body they have.
What about the teachers and the studio itself?
Akram Hot Yoga Studio first opened in Woking, Surrey in 2013. In 2018 it moved to Addlestone also in Surrey.
The mission was to have students leave talking about the yoga and not the heat. So although the studio is heated, it is not as hot as a typical Bikram studio, for example, nor is the humidity as intense. Zahir and Laura Akram met in November 2016 and married in October 2018. The yin and yang of their personalities appear to blend perfectly.