Best London Yoga Teachers and Studios

I get this question all the time: what are the best yoga studios in London, who are your favorite teachers?

And up until now I’ve been pretty reluctant to put pen to paper (how retro that feels these days) on the topic on the basis that I haven’t tried them all, so how can I possibly comment?! While that is definitely still true, and let’s be honest, is only going to become more true as my time availability diminishes (hello newborn baby) and the popularity of yoga continues to accelerate (hello more new studies and new teachers every month).

But I can comment on MY favorites I figure. Even if it only means I can point people to this post whenever the question comes up. So, here it goes.

The Teachers

I would love to know whether this applies to other big cities, but in London, the best teachers tend to teach across several different studios. So my main piece of advice to people searching for yoga magic here is to follow the teacher, not the studio. And these are some of the teachers I will follow no matter where they are teaching…

Rocket Yoga

Pre-pregnancy, I was all about Rocket. For those that haven’t come across it before, it’s a super dynamic and fast-paced modification of the traditional Ashtanga primary and intermediate series. Loads of arm-balances and inversions, and lots of hard (and fun!) work.

  • Marcus Veda: tough but fair, and always with a sprinkling of hilariously sarky comments to get you smiling in the hardest of postures. Excellent demos, cues and clever assists
  • Austin Ince: doesn’t match the preconceptions of a Rocket teacher, or at least didn’t mine. This aging-gracefully Scottish teacher may not have the crazy advanced practice of some of his peers, but he can TEACH (and do a bunch of stuff I can still only dream of, let’s be honest). His handstand assists are truly second to none (he had me pressing from crow to handstand  with lots of support of course – in my second class), and his voice is just so so calming.
  • David Pearce, Richard Meer & Hannah Whittingham: Marcus’s ace crew of substitute teachers are now all people I seek out to practice with myself. David’s energy is infectious, Richard really sees his students, and Hannah’s practice and all round loveliness are just inspiring

Iyengar Yoga

Where it all began for me (read about that here and here). If you are new to yoga, in any way ill or injured, or just not a 21-year-old ex dancer/gymnast, this is the type of yoga for you. Through the use of props and a MUCH longer teaching qualification (minimum 2 years), the teachers focus on detail, precision and alignment to make each pose bespoke to what you need. They can do this because of the slower pace of the class, but don’t for a second think this makes Iyengar easy. You will work, let me tell you!

  • Lorraine McConnon: my very first teacher. Lorraine saw me through 2 broken collarbones with the patience of a (rather stern at times) saint. She will tell you how it is when it comes to your body and your practice. Which may not be easy to hear, but gosh is it valuable
  • Tom Logan: this sunny American makes everyone welcome in his classes: all sizes, shapes, ages, sexes. You cannot leave without a smile on your face, while his attention to detail and to whatever your body requires from the practice are second to none.

Vinyasa

Where my heart lies: the type of yoga I now personally practice and teach. But truth be told, it’s been difficult for me to find a vinyasa teacher in London who has the kind of creative and dynamic flows I am looking for, and who’s timetable/locations work when I am trying to fit them in around a 50-80 hour a week career (my anywhere-in-the-world teacher will always be Dylan Werner, with whom I did my 200hr teacher training). But still, these are my top picks…

  • David Pearce: I’ll always take one of David’s Rocket classes, but gosh will I go out of my way to take one of his vinyasa classes. Creative, challenging, full of laughter and great music.
  • Charlie Morgan: great power flows from a thoughtful, caring and strong teacher. I only wish I lived in her part of town! She also hosts amazing retreats.
  • Cat Meffan: this lovely lady doesn’t teach a huge amount in London, but when she does, you should grab her. Her practice is divine and she is amazing at communicating this to her students

And next on my list…

And these are some teachers who’s classes I haven’t got to as much as I would like, but who are at the top of my list as soon as I can leave the baby more…

  • David Kam – vinyasa: I’ve been stalking this guy all through my pregnancy (just on Instagram!). His flows looks so creative and unique, I can’t wait to try them out
  • Steffy White – vinyasa: stunning practice and lovely energy
  • Alaric Newcombe – Iyengar: both Tom and Lorraine have encouraged me to go and take Alaric’s class. I’m a little nervous to, not least of all because I practice so little Iyengar these days, but one day I will go. Promise.

 

The Studios

I have a love/hate relationship with many of the big yoga studios in London. They are so often overly packed with students, and even with 50+ people in a room, it’s all too rare to see a teacher with an assistant. They also have a habit of having rubbish mats, which is a disaster for the sweaty palmed amongst us. But still, these are the studios I will comment on…

Central London

Indaba: the single best studio for workshops. Seriously, no one else comes close to the roster of international teachers, and the diversity of topics and courses. You will be mat-to-mat in a workshop with the super famous teachers, but their normal classes are much more reasonably sized. And given their huge studio spaces, you’ll often end up with more space than any class you’ve been to, all with some of the best teachers London has to offer.

MoreYoga: Will always have a special place in my heart as I used to teach my regular Saturday class at their Brixton studio. These guys have small studios all over London, so you likely you will never be far away from one. They also have GREAT mats, so you can dash to a last minute class wherever you are. They tend to attract newer teachers, and given they convert old shops into studios, their aren’t all the bells and whistles of smoothies and seating areas, but if one of their studios is walking distance to you, you will have lucked out.

Triyoga: the place I have the most love/hate relationship with. On the love side: they attract top-notch teachers and have such a full and diverse timetable. On the hate: always too full, often too hot, and truly awful mats (asking reception for chalk – yep, seriously I’ve been told to do that – or having to pay for a mat towel shouldn’t be necessary in my book). But still, they have studios across town, nice shops and cafes in all of them so are great for meeting friends, and a really full schedule of classes.

South London

My neck of the woods! Aside from MoreYoga Brixton, these are my regular haunts…

Yogahaven, Clapham: this studio mainly specialises in Hot Yoga (yuk!), but they have small studio just off reception that does great classes. Only 15 spots so you can get some serious 1-on-1 time with the teacher, and feel like you and your fellow students are really practicing together.

Yogarise & Level Six in Peckham: two too-cool-for-school studios that I couldn’t recommend more highly. They both have SUCH lovely vibes: the spaces, the teachers, the other students. I can’t quite put my finger on why, but they just do. Also, if you are a man or want to drag one to a class with you, these are the places to go: I’ve never seen more men in class than when I go here.

The Experiences

If you are visiting London, or what a fun new yoga experience to brighten up a weekend, these are my top tips:

I hope this all helps. I’d love to know your favourite teachers and studios, so please share in the comments.

  • Sian says:

    I think you would love Katie Pearson’s classes. She teaches vinyasa with lovely creative flows and she builds in lots of options so you can make it more or less challenging for yourself. She is also an awesome all round human with such a wonderful spirit. I go to her Wednesday night 8:05pm class at zen yoga on Camberwell grove (which is great as a lovely small studio) but you can see her other classes on downwardblog.com

  • >