Did you know that you can do yoga for free at Sweaty Betty branches all over the UK? How great is that?! I of course had to check it out.
It’s not just yoga though – Sweaty Betty also offer HIIT, Barre, Outdoor Bootcamp and other classes. In-store classes can be booked via this page. As you can imagine, free exercise classes – especially in London – are very, very popular, so it’s not the easiest thing in the world to get a spot. And with classes being held inside the stores there aren’t that many spots available.
Classes are released up to 10 days before the event so a class on Sunday will be made available to book the Thursday of the previous week. If the class you’re interested in is fully booked, you can add your name to a wait list. I found the wait listing super stressful. I know it sounds a bit pathetic to get stressed by a wait list but hear me out. Being on a wait list does not mean that you move up one place when someone cancels and eventually, if enough people cancel, you’ll automatically join the class. No, everyone on the wait list stays in the pool and once someone cancels, we all have to fight it out to get that spot. So whether you’ve been on the wait list for 10 days or 10 minutes, if a place opens up everyone has to act really fast. In fact, that’s the title of the email that Sweaty Betty will send you: “Act fast! Your class has a spot”. You have to keep your phone with you at all times so that you are able book the class when the emails comes through. I just gave up in the end and waited until the day that the class I wanted to attend, became bookable.
I eventually managed to book myself into the Sunday morning class at Sweaty Betty Richmond branch. Things didn’t start out that great, but it sure ended great.
By 09:40 the instructor from Bhuti hadn’t arrived yet. The lovely shop assistant gave us the option to wait for the instructor to show up which would mean a short class, or to go home. While she was still speaking, the lady in the white t-shirt in the photo below, Elizabeth English, put up her hand and offered to teach! She is a qualified yoga instructor who had teached at Sweaty Betty before – speak about right time and right place!
I was in the back row, in front of the door to the shop, and initially felt very happy there – until the sun came out and baked my back for the duration of the class. I was indeed sweaty inside Sweaty Betty. I also very soon realised that my bum was facing the sidewalk and therefor passers-by whenever I did downward dog. Classy. It’s a bit strange when you look over your shoulder or under your legs and make eye contact with a random stranger on the sidewalk or someone on the bus waiting at the red light. Saying that, I think they were more shocked to see me (and my bum) than I them.
As for the yoga, it was just tough enough to make my muscles wobble. Liz led us in Vinyasa flow integrated with Hatha yoga poses like chair and warrior which we had to hold for a while – hence the nice muscle wobbles.
The class felt extra special because we all had such appreciation for the Liz who stepped up to the mat at the last minute to lead us in energising Vinyasa yoga. Everyone also received a £20 Sweaty Betty giftcards as compensation for the delayed start and instructor mix-up. That was a really lovely gesture which I will definitely be taking advantage of. New leggings alert!
My verdict: if you enjoy yoga, if you like being surrounded by Sweaty Betty workout gear and if you like free stuff, get on the Sweaty Betty website and book yourself a place. I’m definitely doing it again!
Location: Sweaty Betty, 2 The Quadrant, Richmond, TW9 1BP
Time: 09:30 – 10:30 (the store opens at 11 am on a Sunday)
Date attended: Sunday 1 September 2019
Yoga mats provided: Yes
Good to know: Getting a space in a weekend London store class can be difficult. Figure out when the class you want to attend becomes available on instabook , and book your space quickly. The wait list system is a bit of a hassle.
Something I learned: Even yoga teachers attend free yoga classes.
If you like doing yoga in quirky places, outside, or in iconic London buildings, check out my list of Funky places to do yoga and pilates around London.