Last month we went to the official launch of an amazing space Benk + Bo, located just a short walk from Spitalfields. Tucked away just a few streets from the hustle of Liverpool street, this Skandi styled oasis is truly something unique to the area. Taking the best from several current trends and lifestyles, but in the least pretentious way possible, it’s effectively a yoga studio come work space come Scandinavian bakery. It may be tiny in comparison to workspaces like WeWork and yoga studios like Triyoga, but this is exactly where its charm lies.
Having tried the delicious treats from it’s on site café and bakery, and awesome chai lattes and kombucha drinks at the launch, we were keen to pop back to try the yoga studio when we were wearing clothes we could move in. Benk + Bo offers a varied schedule of classes, 3 a day at morning, lunch and evening, offering everything from vinyasa to athlete’s yoga.
You are greeted with cork matt flooring, stone ceilings with some gorgeous little hanging plants, and a wall of square mirror tiles, lined with wooden framing. Simple and organically calming with a focus on the practice, no fancy gadgets in sight. We’d come to try a class which sounded intriguing to me, and very necessary for a modern lifestyle. Anti-desk yoga. Being 2 of the first ones to the class we had time to catch up with our teacher, Helen, to find out a bit more about what exactly this entailed. A fairly low impact class, we weren’t going to sweat she assured us, but rather work on opening our backs, necks and shoulders, to combat tension brought on by spending a significant time bent over a computer. It sounded perfect for me and my shoulder and neck issue, and perfect for my girlfriend who I’d finally managed to drag to yoga, with the slow pace of the class making it a good one for beginners.
We began with a brief introduction, with Helen introducing herself, the class and the space. Her soothing voice and upbeat attitude instantly put us at ease. Starting with some light neck and side stretches, moving into cat cows, the routine was steady and thought out with an emphasis on identifying and smoothing out sticky spots which had built up over the week. Continuing at this pace, we moved through a steady sequence holding poses that elongated the parts of us that have been compressed over the last few working days.
As we progressed the poses became more advanced. Like the totally expert teacher she clearly was, Helen was able to cater to the needs of the class, offering options accessible to all. The class was a completely mixed bag of attendees, covering all ages, genders, physicality and yoga experience, but Helen kept it perfectly flowing, and everyone got the experience relevant to them. Finishing up on some lovely floor folders and much needed shoulder stands, we melted into shavasana feeling completely zened out and ready to face the weekend.
A truly beautiful venue, I would suggest anyone looking for a moment of calm in the madness of the city to check out Benk + Bo. Amazing food and drink in a stunning work space would be enough alone to get you to pay a visit, but the yoga studio and classes are really something special, something not to be missed if you are a keen yogi in London.
Address; BENK + BO, 4 – 6 GRAVEL LANE, E1 7AW
Written by Jordan Crowley