stYlobAte

Style is a state of mind.

dAm yOga: a worK liFe balanCe

Delight Yoga

Loft-style yoga studio

I first went to Amsterdam when I was 22. Back then it was a post-uni hipster trip with a few friends to check out the city’s (in)famous delights. Nine years on I’m back. Working three days a week in the city and managing my work-life balance with Delight Yoga – a gorgeous eco-friendly yoga studio offering the most authentic classes around.

Set on three floors in converted Amsterdam townhouse on 53 Weteringschans near Leidseplein, this gentle sanctuary is discrete, sumptuous, and minimal with 2 studios, open changing rooms, a gorgeous view on the canal and friendly teachers.

Delight Yoga 3

View from the studio windows

I fly in on Mondays, waking up at 4am to catch my flight, so I like to unwind at the end of the day for an hour before heading to a vigorous Ashtanga class at 8.15pm. It’s an instant energiser that stretches the tiredness of an early start right out of my muscles, knocking me back into a regular sleep/wake cycle at the start of my working week.

Delight Yoga 2

Open changing room

Delight Yoga 4

Props including mats, blankets, cushions, poofs, and blocks

photo 2

All classes are taught in English with a lovely dutch lilt, coloured by well-pronounced Sanskrit chanting. There’s even a special meditation class in a gorgeous neo-georgian room (see image below) where you are taught how certain sounds not only quiet the busy mind, but also, together with physical practice, help to connect the left and right sides of your brain. Something we miss in our daily 9 to 5 routine.

Delight Yoga 3

Yoga meditation studio on the second floor

On Tuesdays they offer Vinyasa classes at 6.15pm followed by an hour and a half of Yin yoga at 8.15pm for a non-dynamic session designed specially for gymnastics fans seeking deeper strength, posture, breathing and flexibility.

Yin yoga is a slow-paced style with poses or asanas held for five minutes (or longer) at a time. It was first taught in the US in the late 1970s by martial arts expert and Taoist yoga teacher Paulie Zinkis, and it’s now practiced the world over. Rather than creating muscle tone, it strengthens the smaller, tighter tissues around your bones and joints, while teaching the mind patience in discomfort and an opportunity to quietly observe your impulses and your thoughts. Not to stop them, change them or focus them, but simply to witness them.

Applying moderate stress to your connective tissues – the tendons, fascia, and ligaments – in this way helps to increase circulation in the joints and improves flexibility, making space for the flow of qi (the subtle energy that in Chinese medicine is said to run through the meridian pathways of the body). Improved qi flow is said to increase organ health, immunity and emotional well-being, while a more meditative approach cultivates a special awareness of your inner, more present self.

For those new to yoga, I recommend attending Yin as a gentler (but not unchallenging) and mindful introduction to the practice and philosophy of yoga. Different to Hatha, because you attempt full poses rather than easier variations, Yin really pops open pockets of tension and encourages elasticity leaving you with the benefits of a deep tissue massage.

And, if you can, take some time out and head to Amsterdam for a weekend workshop at Delight Yoga as a cheaper alternative to going on a retreat. Classes cost EUR 15 (or EUR 90 for ten). Retreats vary between EUR 150 and EUR 750 depending on duration and destination (they offer location retreats across Europe). There’s also a series of 50 hour teacher training courses available throughout the year.

At the end of the class, everyone hangs out on benches in the reception area with their glasses of lemon-scented water to relax and socialise. For someone like me who is new to the city, it’s also a nice way to meet people and make friends.

Delight Yoga 5

It’s coyboy time and everyone gathers in reception to socialise and rehydrate

 

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