So what is hip hop yoga? Do you groove your way through a sun salutation? Imagine doing your vinyasa to some fresh hip hop beats. Sound like your kind of thing? Then Hip Hop Yoga is for you! I like to spice up my practice every now and again and when I had a trip to Melbourne coming up I took it as the perfect opportunity to try something new and do some hip hop yoga. So what was it actually like in reality? I headed to Yoga 213 to find out.
A google search of ‘hip hop yoga’ will lead you to the only studio around, Yoga 213 (Melbourne and Sydney). They have a slick looking easy to navigate website with everything you need to know, class styles, prices, timetables – it’s all there. I booked for my class before my trip and paid online via Mind Body (a booking software common to many yoga studios) super easy as I already had the app for my regular studio, bonus!
There were a few choices of classes, Chill, Yin or Hip Hop, obviously I went straight in and clicked on hip hop and this was the description:
“Make your move. Find your groove…. Loud beats help you move…..Tune in while you tune out. Bend. Stretch. Harness your practice. Let go.”
Sounds fab. Sign me up.
I did the introductory offer – unlimited classes for 10 days at $25, a pretty standard offer that most studios have, however there are lots of memberships and passes available. I was only in Melbourne for the weekend so I did 2 classes during my stay. If you are strapped for cash they run a donation class on Friday nights with proceeds going to Beyond Blue.
The studio is located in South Yarra just off Chapel St opposite the Jam Factory. It was very easy to find and has a really cool look and feel, I loved the fit out! It has a cute pineapple theme throughout and really touches on its LA origins with a beachy west coast vibe to it. I dragged my friend along with me who is pretty new to yoga so it would be an experience for both of us!
The studio is modern and clean. There is a shelving area for you to leave your bags and shoes – the studio is locked during class to keep your things secure and there are change room /toilet facilities available. *Tip – really nice hand lotion in the bathroom
Once you step into the studio itself, mats are provided so you just pick your spot and get ready for class. At the back of the studio there are blocks, bolsters and blankets that you can help yourself to. I got to class 10 minutes early and easily found a spot in the back row (first class after all). There were about 5 others in the class who were new to the studio as well.
Class 1 – Thursday 6:30 pm Hip Hop
We were greeted by the dynamic Hamford as we entered the studio and checking in was straight forward. After a bit of exploring we settled into our mats ready for class. There was about 20-25 students in the studio. I felt a fun vibe with the anticipation of what was going to happen! The lights were down for the night class which added to the vibe.
The music started and it was LOUD, but in a good way, effectively drowning out your mental chatter. This also meant that the instructor had to YELL out the names of all of the postures over the music which I was definitely NOT used to. Yelling in yoga! Not zen at all, but I didn’t sign up for a zen class, this was hip hop! Sometimes I couldn’t hear what was going on so it was sort of a frenzy of looking around at what everyone else was doing while trying to keep up. There were also points that I couldn’t see the teacher and they spent a lot of time walking around, It is similar to Bikram yoga in that respect that the instructor is not always practicing the postures and you have to model off other students.
One thing I really noticed was that there was very little instruction and adjustments. There were some, but not much. I think this was due to the music volume, and the nature of the class (an intermediate level) sp they aren’t wasting time going to much into the technical aspects of everything as it is assumed you know what you are doing. I did get one bit of individual help coming into dancers pose. I know in larger classes instructors can’t individually adjust everyone but there could have been more verbal instruction. I think it depends how much you like to be self directed in your practice.
You will not find omming and a whole heap of sanskrit at this studio. You will find a great power vinyasa and have fun. I really enjoyed the light hearted side and the instructor was good at making it fun, we came into chair posture at one stage and did a little dance move which I found very entertaining and sort of what I was expecting going into it. There was a nice core set which I really liked and savasana was really enjoyable after all of my hard work (the music was nice and chilled for that part). I had definitely worked up a sweat, which is exactly what I was looking for. As for my friend who was new to yoga? She said she enjoyed the class and would go back.
Class 2 – Friday 7:45 am Hip Hop
This class was with Kara, she was happy to chat to students after class and was friendly. Being my second class I had an idea about the format which was similar to the first class so found it way easier to get into. The night class felt like a hip hop party, this was more of getting into a hip hop zone. As an early morning class the studio was lighter, brighter and filled with regular students so more options for advanced postures were thrown into the mix and we were able to do our own thing. Slightly more instruction in this class but this was probably due to the music being slightly more chilled as it was still pretty early in the morning. I don’t think I could have handled too much bass at that hour!
We didn’t do any fun little dance moves this time
I practice vinyasa flow style yoga regularly so these classes were perfect for me and exactly at my level. If you have never done yoga I would not suggest this as your first class and if you are into a chilled medatative style of yoga (like hatha) you might be in for a bit of a shock. Yoga 213 have a chill class which is recommended for beginners as it is slowed down and most likely contains a lot more instruction. Hamford also mentioned they run workshops to work on and improve technique so I think that is where the alignment and adjustments would come in more. The Hip Hop class is definitely for those with an intermediate skill level and know basic postures and alignment.
The main reason I tried a hip hop class was for the music and it did not dissappoint! I love hip hop and I found it really added a different element to my practice having it turned up nice and loud instead of more of a background noise. I could really get into the beat and let go in the postures. I would imagine that regulars would just get straight into the music and tune out a lot of the instruction. Here are some of the songs that played at my classes (that I remember)!
Drake – Started from the bottom
Kanye West – Touch The Sky
Kendrick Lamar – Swimming pools (Drank)
Jennifer Lopez – Get right
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – Can’t Hold Us
Flight Facilities – Clare de Lune (savasana)
Easy process to sign up, pay and just turn up
Fun, a great way to mix up your practice
Lose yourself in the tunes
No adjustments during my experience
Not much instruction – intermediate class, make sure you do the right class for your level.
Hard to tell what was going on sometimes
Overall I got a great workout and had a lot of fun with my practice. Is Yoga 213 for everyone? No. Could I imagine myself going there for a regular practice? Hell yeah!
Hip Hop Yoga is perfect for power yoga lovers looking to inject some fun and smooth tunes into their practice.
Flick of Approval – Approved
Have you tried hip hop yoga? What did you think? Share with me in the comments or on social media @flickofapproval