Try this: Flow yoga
Flow Yoga is everything we love on Muddy – it’s a hidden gem of a studio, run in the back garden of husband and wife founders, Lucy and Ben, so you’d never stumble across it unless you’d heard about it from word-of-mouth. Tucked away on Woodbury Park Rd, a suburban street in Tunbridge Wells, I wondered if I might have got the directions wrong, until I followed the trickle of people in stretchy jogging bottoms and saw a discreet sign telling me I was in the right place.
Go through the green gate and what you find is a beautifully designed light and airy studio, that’s small but perfectly formed and oh-so friendly. What’s more, the idea behind Flow is so brilliant, I’m amazed no one has thought of it sooner. You see Lucy is a yoga instructor (and a brilliant one at that) and Ben is an osteopath – here they have combined their skills with amazing success and the cult following the centre has grown in the two years since it’s launch is testament to this.
Lucy Parker is a hugger. When I turned up for my first session she ignored my outstretched hand and gave me a lovely hug as if we were lifelong old friends. Now I like a hug (seriously, feel free to try me any time) but even if you don’t feel the same, trust me coming from her, it seemed the most natural thing in the world.
I wondered whether my treatment had already begun.. hug therapy?! But no, Lucy is just that kind of person who puts you totally at ease (here she is, pictured below). She’s passionate about yoga and its benefits, having practised it herself for 25 years and teaching it for over 5 years. Ben has been a local osteopath for over 15 years – also working at Groombridge Osteopathy.
Also if you visit Ben in his capacity as an osteopath (one in five Brits report back pain) and he believes that yoga would be beneficial, he and Lucy will work together to create a Structural Stability session, which is a tailor-made tutorial to run you through precise exercises that will help you. Once you get more advanced Lucy can take over introducing you to one of the group yoga sessions or 1-2-1 if that ‘s more appropriate.
The centre has just two therapy rooms, a studio for yoga and the osteopath studio, where you can also book therapies including Reiki, acupuncture and massage. I talked through my back issues with Ben (days spent over a keyboard sandwiched between hours spent hunched at the wheel on the school run) and he suggested some good exercises.
Then I tried Lucy’s yoga class, which was brilliant. I’ve done yoga on and off over the years and have always enjoyed it but never really stuck at it long enough to perfect my Pigeon Pose (yes, there really is one). As a born worrier, (I worrying about worrying), and have, what Buddhists refer to as a ‘Monkey Mind’ (a mind filled with drunken monkeys flinging themselves from tree branches, jumping around, and chattering nonstop – sound familiar?)
Maybe this is why I found the time so therapeutic, especially the breathing benefits… So I was particularly interested to hear that they are just launching a new series of workshops called The Moving Deeper Sessions. These are a group of sessions running over the next year that looks at particular parts of our anatomy and how we can deepen our understanding of how we work and move as individuals.
Most of us have a particular aspect of our physical, mental or emotional self that concerns us. It might be your knees, back or hips, or it might be your monkey mind or tight chest. These sessions will help to address some of these issues from a keen anatomical as well as yoga perspective. Flow has also recently started organising Yoga Jam weekend retreats and Flow Away week retreat in Mallorca in October.
So, if you like yoga, or think you might like it, I would definitely recommend this place. It’s not only great for yoga veterans but it would be a very safe first bet if you’re a newbie and a little unsure. And of course, it includes a free hug, which is therapy in itself.