From bougie gyms and spin studios to outdoor workouts, London isn’t short on places to get sweaty. But sometimes, you want to slow the pace a bit. Some gentle yoga, perhaps, or a meditation workshop. And sometimes, you want to go to a class where you can basically fall asleep (just us?). We go in search of the best wellness and yoga workshops where you can squeeze in 40 winks.
RECOMMENDED: London’s best fitness classes
This extremely mellow class is held at 1.30pm on Sundays. A smart move: it’s the perfect session for those times when you’re too jagged from Saturday night to move but you don’t want to waste the day rotting under your duvet. You step into a warm egg-shaped pod with changing lights and sounds and then do six yoga poses, each of which is no harder than lying with an eye mask on spooning a bolster. The vibe is healing. In fact, you might enter your egg as a hungover wreck but you’ll have hatched into a fully functioning human person by the time you leave.
Can you actually fall asleep in it? It’s frowned upon but I definitely nodded off and drooled all over the bolster. Kate Lloyd
45-46 Charlotte Rd, EC2A 3PD. Tube: Old St. Sundays at 1.30pm. £17 drop-in. Cheaper packages available. On Classpass.
This class involves someone banging a giant gong while you lie tucked up in a blanket on a mat beside it. That might sound simple enough, but it’s like a massage for your brain. The different frequencies, notes and subtly changing volumes of the gong transport you into a deep meditative state that helps with anxiety and stress. As a plus, the experience is properly trippy. At one point I thought I was in that scene in ‘The Shining’ where they run along endless hotel corridors.
Can you actually fall asleep in it? Absolutely! In fact, sleeping is encouraged in this class. You’ll probably wake up and doze off again multiple times. Angela Hui
45-47 Clerkenwell Rd. Tube: Farringdon. Sun 5pm. £17 drop-in, cheaper packages available. On ClassPass.
You know you’re in for a gentle session when you arrive to see your fellow yogis layering up in sweatshirts and chunky socks. This class, best taken on a Friday night at the end of a miserable week, is like some enforced R&R. You can’t push yourself even if you try. It’s like yin yoga – during the class you take a handful of poses and really relax into them – but there’s no ten-minute pigeon pose that’ll have you daydreaming about gas and air. We’re talking a gentle supine twist or a mini backbend, and you’re propped up on bolsters or blankets the entire time.
Can you actually fall asleep in it? You’ll struggle not to once your instructor has covered you in blankets so you don’t get chilly, turned the lights down low and spent an hour musing on energy in hushed tones. Ellie Walker-Arnott
15 Myddelton Rd. Hornsey rail. Wed 7.45pm, Fri 7.15pm.
£15 drop-in, cheaper packages available. On ClassPass.
This fitness studio is right in the middle of the City, but thanks to a giant screen across one wall, during the class you will be transported to an alpine forest, an emerald lake or a meadow of wild flowers nodding in the breeze, while a clutch of real candles flicker around the room. The pace is glacial, the aim to mentally decompress and ease your body out of its standard hunched-over-laptop-while-clenching-jaw (just me?) position. Hands-on instructors help you let go and embrace the stretches.
Can you actually fall asleep in it? I sweated more in the changing rooms putting on my workout gear than I did in the actual class. It was pretty much the only thing that prevented me from having a little nap: if I’d known I’d be moving so little and lying down so much I’d have worn warmer clothes. EWA
24 Creechurch Lane. Tube: Aldgate. Mon 7.30pm; Thu 7.15pm.
£17 drop-in, cheaper packages available. On ClassPass.
The key thing you need to know about this guided meditation session is that it takes place as you dangle from the ceiling in a snug fabric hammock. It combines the best of traditional yoga nidra (a meditation technique, but really you’re just lying down, focusing on breathing) and soothing sound therapy. The floating feeling, the gentle background sounds and the soft lighting of the multicoloured studio are meant to make you feel like you’re safely back in the womb.
Can you actually fall asleep in it? I nodded off briefly but immediately woke up when my instructor started gently rocking me around. AH
Available at Gymbox Ealing, Farringdon, Victoria and Westfield Stratford. Various days and times. Membership from £63 per month, £20 day pass.
To an outsider, this class might look like the first-class cabin of a plane: everyone reclining in corpse pose, swaddled in blankets and wearing eye masks. But at the front, instead of an air hostess giving safety information, there’s an instructor chanting positive affirmations. The focus of the class is breathing in different positions. As the hour comes to an end you’ll be so relaxed you’ll feel like you’re part of your yoga mat.
Can you actually fall asleep in it? One hundred percent. The room’s full of snorers. (Unfortunately they might keep you awake.) Jessica Phillips
Available at Triyoga Camden, Chelsea, Ealing, Shoreditch and Soho. Various days and times. £17 drop-in, cheaper packages available. On ClassPass.
Want something more fast-paced?
Describing something as ‘tough’ is pretty subjective. One student’s ‘tough’ exam could be another’s walk in the park, and one man’s ‘tough’ guy might be someone else’s teddy bear. Despite this, some London fitness fans have become obsessed with bragging that – out of all the hundreds of gyms and torturous classes in the city – they do the toughest one of all. But how can you tell which workout is the real, brutal deal?