Every month Frame runs various workshops in both their Shoreditch and Queens Park gyms… every workshop is 2 hours long and this October House of Voga came to Queens Park. I had been eyeing up Voga for sometime so I was really excited about this and especially that the workshop was going to be taken by Juliet Murrell herself, the founder of Voga.
What is Voga?
I’ve been asked this a lot. So according to the House of Voga website:
“Voga is for people who like the idea of yoga but also want a cardiac workout without losing focus. It combines the expressive moves of the ‘dance’ class with the breath synchronised movement of yoga.”
This is a really good summary, it was a little bit more cardio and a bit more dance-y than yoga…. But all based upon traditional yoga poses that you will be familiar with such as the warrior sequence. The poses all have names in Voga too, so while you may be familiar with dhanushmatasana (or not) here at Voga, it is The Peacock. See photo above! Voga is basically yoga’s sexy relative, that breaks some rules and is a little bit rebellious.
I genuinely didn’t know what to expect and when we arrived and once we were all sat on our yoga mats, Juliet started the class by introducing herself , telling us briefly how Voga had been born and how after putting together this unique form of exercise she took it to Brazil and Argentina and has now brought it back to the UK. I quickly recognised an interesting and inspiring woman and happy to say that Juliet has very kindly agreed to do an interview with Healthy Living London, therefore, I am not going to go into the background here – it will be far better reading about Juliet’s story and the Voga journey in the words of the woman herself!
We did a lot of yoga breathing to start with. I loved this, and I was surprised as I didn’t realise this was going to have such a strong yoga influence. I knew obviously there was a yoga base to the concept but I didn’t know to what level this base was used. After a good 5/10 minutes of breathing exercises Juliet started to take us through some basic routines. Starting slow and putting the moves together until we were able to do it a lot faster, listening and moving to the music. Oh and the music – think 80’s, fun – you will be singing along in your head – I defy you not to! We held poses such as Warrior II while we moved our arms in specific and exact positions in a routine….. which is the Vogue influence. We covered about 5 different sequences before we stopped for some water and a breather before Juliet then took us through a full Voga routine 50 minute class in the format she would normally teach. It was so much fun! To summarise, it was basically a light cardio workout for the whole body with the essence of yoga flowing throughout, so you could draw benefits from all these different aspects….not forgetting the empowering Vogue influence which made you feel very feminine at the same time. I rarely feel feminine when I work out – so this was a new and welcome feeling for me!
I particularly enjoyed the way Juliet had put the workshop together as because of the careful concentration on yogic breathing at the beginning it put everyone into the right mind set to do the rest of the workout in the manner it was intended. It was calm and everyone moved happily within their own zone. I think that’s the best way to describe it anyway! I should also emphasise that you don’t have to have done yoga before, although it may make you feel more familiar with Voga more quickly, but this is a workout for everyone…. just probably don’t head to an advanced class before you have done your first savasana!
As this was a workshop I was curious about how the usual classes go so Juliet filled me in on what you can expect from a House of Voga class. As of January new sequences will be incorporated every 3 months and there will also be beginner and advanced classes so you can find a level that you are comfortable at. Each teacher will have a slightly different style or a few new moves added in here and there but there is a general format across the board. Some of the classes even have a live DJ – this is something I fully intend to investigate as that sounds so much fun!
I really enjoyed Voga and would definitely do it again! I love the idea of a class with a live DJ so I am definitely going to get that scheduled in sometime! I think the concept is very clever, I kept finding myself throughout the class thinking “ahhh… thats clever doing that… with xxx pose… to create this….” As someone that is very much a beginner, learning about (and falling in love) with yoga I really enjoyed the traits that Voga has harnessed and the way it has been combined with a bit of cardio, music and dance. It me smile, I worked out and it made me feel great. That’s all a girl can ask for.
How much? Frame workshops usually cost £25 drop-in. House of Voga classes are available at various studios, check their website for up-to-date details
Find out more: House of Voga: www.vogalondon.co.uk VogaFrame workshops: Queens Park & Shoreditch
Photo Credits: All photos are of Juliet Murrell and provided by House of Voga. Many thanks.