Yoga in a Vault….. Only in Edinburgh

Candles, stone vaulted ceiling, rustic wooden floors, trancelike beat, subtle scent of incense… Cabaret Voltaire provided the atmospheric setting; Amanda of Yoga Mix led a dynamic, flowing vinyasa style Yoga class; we donated our fees to the charity Raleigh International.

I’ve spent many hours in the basement vault of Cabaret Voltaire (36 Blair Street) – mainly wedged in with 200 sweaty people, bouncing along to some great local bands.  I have my own spot – left side, directly in front of the stage.  Actually, a few times I have even ended up on the stage.  But tonight the intimate space that normally holds nearly 200 people (standing) was the setting for the new Thursday night Yoga Club/Deep House Yoga.

I normally do yoga at home with the same DVDs I’ve been using for at least 7 years, but in between other fitness classes, I try and squeeze in some ‘live’ yoga.  There are loads of different styles and probably enough yoga instructors, centres and classes in Edinburgh to try something new every day of the year!  It can definitely be confusing, but I try and pick a class that fits my needs at that moment.  Do I need something more active? More relaxing?  Do I want to target a certain zone (like my core)?  Over the last few weeks, I’ve been in a bit of a yoga slump – just doing the same thing at home – so I was looking for a class that would have a unique vibe; another dimension.   Along comes an event posted not by a yoga instructor, but by my fave music venue – Cabaret Voltaire!  Their ad for ‘Yoga Club’ had me intrigued!  ……

“A rare opportunity to experience a soul shaking Yoga class with electrifying music that not only gets your heart pumping but also support grassroots enterprise in Tanzania. Let our relaxing tunes and chilled out vibes guide your mind, body and soul into the weekend.”

Get on your most outrageous yoga gear and jump on the mat to follow the energetic teachings of Amanda from Yoga Mix, every Thursday evening at 7:30.

I knew I loved the space (who doesn’t love an underground, stone vault?) and I had met Amanda of Yoga Mix at a Lululemon event and was eager to try one of her classes.  My husband was on holiday so he came along too.  He also does yoga at home (to stretch out after cycling) and was looking forward to having a yoga teacher make sure he was doing the postures correctly.  He’s only been practicing for a year so wasn’t sure he would be able to do the whole class – but I encouraged him along saying that if he was out of his depth, he could stop and take photos for the blog.  Sorted!

We got to Cab Vol a bit early but that gave us time to get a few photos of the venue, fill out a health questionnaire and talk to Amanda about our previous yoga experience.  The chat helped put John at ease and Amanda reassured him that she would give options so that the poses could be adjusted to his abilities.   I also had the pleasure of bumping into another blogger friend who is blogging about her quest to become ‘Fit by Thirty’; you can read about her journey on her blog ‘Crumbs and Petals’.


Amanda provided mats as well as blocks and straps – further aids in tailoring each pose to fit each person’s unique body.


She also let the whole class know that in addition to verbal instruction, she likes to ‘adjust’ people during the class.  For me this is FAB!  But if you haven’t been to many yoga classes you might be surprised when the instructor comes over and manually ‘adjusts’ your position.  Lifting your hips for you while you’re in downward dog, levelling out your arms while you’re in Warrior II, using their body weight to help you reach further in your seated foward bend.  This is what you can’t get from a DVD!

Introductions over, class started with Amanda adjusting the volume so that we could ‘feel’ the beat but still hear her without shouting over the music.  I was open minded regarding the music but expected a heavy, clubby beat.  I was very pleasantly surprised with the music choice which turned out to be House/Trance Music (I say that like I’m an expert….I’m not – unless it’s 80s or Indie) with a slowed down club vibe.  Throughout the playlist, the melodies changed but the beat stayed the same.  Perfect for connecting the music with your breath and perfect for flowing, dynamic vinyasa class Amanda put together.  Vinyasa is a style of yoga that links the postures together with the breath in a continuous movement.   So in addition to strengthening and lengthening, we also got a cardio workout that helps build stamina.   Although I wasn’t always aware of each ‘song’, I was connected to the vibrations from the bass, sending energy along across the wooden floor (mixing with all the positive energy I’ve experienced in this same space over the years); each beat seemed to be massaging my muscles, helping me hold the pose and stay focused on the present moment.   For the next hour, it was just me, the pose, the beat, the energy of the vaults and Amanda’s voice.  After class, David (the creative manager for Cab Vol) told us the music was by DJ Lola Palmer – have a listen here.  I’d love to share more pictures from the class by my ‘photographer’ enjoyed the class so much he never stopped to take any (I guess he was in the zone too!!).


Being held in the basement of a club/bar meant that we had time and space to sit around and chat after class; and it turns out this was really what the class was about.  Sure there are plenty of yoga classes in Edinburgh so why one more?  This was a collaboration between Amanda, David, and Lydia   (representative for the nominated charity –  Raleigh International which helps give grassroots enterprises in Tanzania a start).   David was keen to get more community events at Cabaret Voltaire and create a space that people want to use and feel at home in, all day long.  Amanda was hoping to recreate a social vibe that she experienced when teaching in Australia, where after class you didn’t just roll up your mat and head home; instead everyone headed to the beach for a chat and to chill out.  So that’s what ‘yoga club’ is aiming to do – create a social connection, through the beat of the music, the opportunity to head up to the bar to chill and chat and, thanks to Lydia,  the common goal of supporting a worthy cause.  And don’t worry if you don’t want to have a cocktail after yoga – David and his team had prepared delicious banana, strawberry shakes – the perfect after class treat (Thanks David for the pic of me and the hubby!).


cabvol pic

This class will become a weekly feature at Cab Vol with dates and times announced on the ‘Deep House Yoga’ event page.   The cost is £10 (proceeds go to Raleigh International) and spaces are limited to 12 people per week so it is essential to pre book by sending a message via the Cabaret Voltaire Facebook page .  Our class was fully booked with a waiting list but sadly, several last-minute no shows meant that there were empty mats and not enough time for people on the waiting list to be notified; please be courteous and let the organisers know ASAP if you can’t make it so that someone else can take your spot.  Empty mats also mean less contributions to the charity!

Although it’s well known as a live music venue and nightclub, David is creating more events for the community – such as life drawing and vintage clothing event; keep up to date by following  Cabaret Voltaire on Facebook or Twitter.   If you want to try other classes with Amanda (and her partner, John) head to the Yoga Mix website for the most up to date timetable; my hubby already has his eye on the Yoga for Cyclists class held at Ronde Bicycle Outfitters.


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