London City workers can now unwind at yoga classes in a heated inflatable tent

It’s over two months since I’ve done any yoga. Working from home, I’d stick on a DVD and take ten-minute yoga breaks when my posture started to resemble that of a paperclip. However, since my prehistoric PC died, I’ve been using a laptop that doesn’t have a slot for DVDs. Now, my spine perpetually feels about as supple as a ceramic pipe.

So when I was invited to the press preview of Hotpod Yoga‘s bite size sessions, I snapped it up like Philip Green impulse-buying an island. The Hotpod itself looks a bit like a bouncy castle but actually, it’s a pop-up purple tent, dimly lit and heated to 37 degrees. The mats are more like blankets and the overall feeling is one of being cosy.

The pod is set up on the ground floor of One New Change, across the road from St. Paul’s station. I take a place by a guy from City magazine. He eyes the humidifiers with suspicion, but my sinuses love it. We both agree it’s far too early to be anywhere — our alarm clocks wouldn’t even go off at this time. I’m so bleary eyed, I’ve forgotten my water, my purse, and anything to change into after showers at the Grange Hotel around the corner.

But these classes aren’t aimed at degenerate journalists – their target market is stressed out city types and the 20 minutes sessions, running 12- 25 September, will start from 7 a.m.

Our class is led by Nick Higgins, one of the company’s founders. We’ve met before, at Twickenham Stoop, when Higgins brought his Hotpod to the Harlequins rugby boys. Yes, even rugby players can benefit from yoga — and I don’t want to start any rumours, but I hear they do it in their pants. I ask Higgins what the benefits of yoga are for city sorts. He says: “If you’re doing a high-pressure job, it soothes your mind so you’re calm, clear and empathetic to all views.”

Will it make you fit, though? I am wearing flame-print leggings that on someone else, may call to mind Greek mythology, perhaps Icarus flying too close to the sun. But they’re on me, and my chubby thighs look like semi-incinerated sausages on a bbq.

So, Higgins, will these sessions make a difference physically? “Yeah, they will refresh and regenerate your cells and your lungs. If you’ve been sitting at your desk all day, your muscles will be tight — this will open you up.”

He’s not getting it, is he? I want to know if my thighs will look thinner in these leggings. I’d asked the PR to send something else, like the black ones — how about the black ones? Apparently, though, “they go quite see-through during Downward Dog.” For the uninitiated, Downward Dog is the yoga pose where you bend over, sticking your bum in the air. No one needs to see my naked bum. I stick with Burning Shame.

Excess flesh aside, my spine is pleased when we hold our knees into our chests and rock from side to side. We’re like a litter of embryos in a big purple womb. How would Higgins persuade someone to try yoga for the first time, instead of going to the gym?

“It’s a different sensation. I’m from a gym background, I love the intensity, but I don’t get anything near how I feel when I do hot yoga. Everything feels stronger and more open – everything feels lush!”

Twenty minutes later, City Boy says he’s never sweated so much in his life. He puts this down to being Celtic. I wouldn’t say I was that sweaty, but I definitely didn’t want to touch my own feet when we were asked to do a “toe lock.”

I take one last crack at pinning Higgins down: “If I do these classes for two weeks, will I look better in a bikini?”

“Yes,” he promises, “definitely!”

And an additional thank you to Sweaty Betty for believing I could carry off flame print leggings.

Samantha Rea is a freelance journalist living in London. She can be found tweeting here.

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