It was March 2016 when I stepped for the first time into Yoga Bliss & Pilates Studio in Heidelberg. It was right after I started my adventure as blogger and yoga retreat reviewer and I’ve heard a lot of positive feedback about this studio owned by Laura and Laurie.
After getting in touch with Laurie, an American-born yoga and Pilates instructor that spent the last two decades in Germany, I decided to visit the studio on a Thursday morning and start my experience with a relaxing (that is what I thought it was going to be) Vinyasa yoga class. For whatever reason, I imagined that class to be slow and gentle, perfect for a yogi like me who couldn’t practice any physical activity for the previous three months due to a severe ear infection.
And so I left home with my precious yoga mat and the idea I was going to rock that class.
Do you know the quote from Terrell Owens:
“If you align expectations with reality, you will never be disappointed”?
Well, it kind of fit what happened that day when I realised one more time the strong impact expectations have on the way we perceive every aspect of our lives.
That Thursday I left the class feeling exhausted, dizzy, covered in sweat and very demotivated because my body was not even slightly as strong as it was a few months earlier. But I didn’t give up and decided to join the studio at least a couple of times per week to gain back the lost strength. It took me just a few weeks to achieve that goal and a few months afterwards I felt stronger than ever and totally addicted to Laurie’s classes.
The studio, located right in the centre of the popular Altstadt, is spotless, cosy, with a modern touch. Feel free to use one of the mats provided or bring your personal yoga mat and leave it in the changing room (exactly – you don’t have to carry it with you all the time).
Even if the studio is well renowned and centrally located, Laurie will find a place for you to stretch your mat. I’ve personally been to classes with just 4 people (on a Saturday afternoon when I suddenly decided that a yoga class was the only chance I had to save the day and change my mood) and to classes with over 10 people where we practiced in two adjoining rooms.
So take a cup of tea before (or after) you practice, have a chat with Laurie or with the friendly people coming from all over the world that you’ll meet there and get ready for a beautiful and intense practice.
If you expect me to tell you in detail what to await from one of Laurie’s classes, you’ll be disappointed. I’m not going to spoil the experience for you, but I can tell you no two classes are the same, and even if she has been teaching yoga for ages, she still prepares every single class she leads.
Laurie is a talented teacher that will provide you with an introduction to the purpose of that specific practice, plenty of variations according to your yoga background and from time to time some much-needed adjustments.
If you are anything like me, whenever you’ll end up thinking “I’m nailing this asana. It’s exactly how it should be done” – she will come over and touch you lightly but enough to make that groundless confidence disappear once for all. And when she will kindly ask you to perform the tenth Chaturanga of the day you’ll probably hate her for a few seconds. But wait a few minutes, until she’ll invite you to lay down and relax in Savasana and you’ll begin to explore the benefits of her class.
Finally while rolling up your mat, you will perceive your body lighter and full of energy, while your heart, body and soul will tell you in a chorus “Thank you for this!“.
I have just one regret; I didn’t try any of the Pilates classes offered by the studio. Not that I didn’t want to (I used to practice Pilates before I discovered yoga) but every time I had some time for myself an invisible but incredibly powerful “yogic force” brought me to Laurie for one of her Vinyasa classes. I’ve heard amazing things about Laura’s and Laurie’s Pilates classes, so I’ll have to visit Heidelberg one more time and fill the gap.
Even though the asana sequence was always challenging and hugely enjoyable, what I miss the most of Yoga Bliss is the overall familiar atmosphere I could perceive every time I walked in. I genuinely appreciated the chats with Laurie at the end of each class, the international environment (the teachers speak both German and English), the beautiful music that accompanied the practice. But if I have to choose one moment, just one single flash that represents the time spent in Heidelberg, I think of the big smile rising on my face at the end of each class while my hands were slowly finding praying position and my lips opened just enough to pronounce a feeble but meaningful Namaste.
WHERE TO FIND YOGA BLISS & PILATES STUDIO:
Address: Plöck 60, Heidelberg, Germany