The Yoga Loft in Burbage is a beautifully inviting and tranquil space to practice a variety of yoga styles. We speak to co-founder Vicki Cropp to find out more about the award-winning studio.
Yoga, which translates to ‘union’ in Sanskrit, is an ancient practice which focuses on flexibility, strength and breathing to improve both physical and mental wellbeing. Originating in India over 5,000 years ago, the mind and body practice has become an increasingly popular activity in cultures all over the world.
From Ashtanga and Bikram to Hatha and Iyengar, there’s now a wide range of yoga styles to suit everyone. The two founders of the Yoga Loft, Vicki Cropp and Kat Jennings both started their journey into teaching the practice in similar ways: “I have been teaching for over three years and Kat for nine years. We both initially made the journey to India to train traditionally and intensively for a whole month. This proved to be life-changing for us both, and we realised that it was a way we wanted to live our life- studying and sharing the practice of Yoga.
“Since then, we have made multiple trips back to India meeting inspirational teachers along the way. Yoga is a continuous journey of self-study for us to be able to share what our teachers share with us with our students.”
After a few years teaching in noisy fitness centres and cold village halls, the role started to become a little soulless for the instructors. They both wanted to teach yoga in a more ambient and authentic way, and so, began their search for a specialised yoga space that would offer their students the tranquillity they deserved:
“The concept behind The Yoga Loft is about the whole experience of what yoga offers people, so it’s not just the class itself to help people “switch off”. As soon as you walk up the stairs, you can smell the essential oils, and there’s herbal tea waiting for you in the gazebo area.
“We’ve also built an amazing community. It’s a very friendly and welcoming place as we can appreciate starting something new can feel intimidating or elitist, and we do everything we can to make sure it isn’t. There is something available for everyone, whether a seasoned practitioner or never done a day’s yoga in your life.”
The studio offers a wide range of classes that’s recently expanded into Restorative Yoga, weekly classes in Meditation, Tai Chi, Pregnancy/Post Pregnancy Yoga, Teen Yoga, Kids Yoga and Baby Massage, as well as a range of workshops and retreats.
Vicki explains that Kat is passionate about teaching the therapeutic style of Traditional Ashtanga Vinyasa, where her passion lies in Vinyasa Flow, a style which allows her the freedom to explore and combine a variety of postures: “Our aim is to make yoga accessible to anyone who wants it and who needs it, no matter of age, size or gender. For that reason, you will find different styles of yoga on our schedule to suit all abilities.”
As well as the physical and mental benefits of yoga, students can reap the advantages of the practice away from the mat: “Practicing yoga whether in a dynamic or still practice allows you the space in the mind and body to bring a lot more awareness into your life, which enables you a much more present and conscious way of living. It sharpens your focus into what really matters in the distracted world we currently live in. We can’t change the pace and busyness of the modern world, but we can find moments of peace and clarity within it. Yoga enables you to do that by spending time focusing on the body and the breath, and making that connection to yourself.”
The instructor shares that some of the students are now making space in their homes for their yoga mats and taking them away on holiday. They also help to encourage and enable students to bring out their ‘inner teacher’, teaching them ways on how to practice whilst on their own away from the studio: “The stories we hear from students and the differences it has made to their wellbeing and lives are truly heart-warming we care more about that than how good someone can stand on one leg; the postures aren’t important it’s the journey into them that is the true lesson.”
It’s certainly been a successful few years since The Yoga Loft opened its doors back in 2016, with the rise in students, class expansion and awards to their name. Vicki proudly reveals what’s in store:
“The studio has such a reputation now that we are attracting international teachers, so lookout for more of those. We have ‘The Yoga Loft on Tour’, where we will take our teaching out to businesses, and we hope for the possibility of some residential retreats for 2019/2020.”
By Jessica Challoner-Sterland