What’s Fierce Grace Yoga and The Hot House really like?


"Bikram yoga – the kind practiced in a very hot room – started life in the UK on NW5’s unassuming market street, Queen’s Crescent. Studio founder, Michele Pernetta, was the first to import this system of 26 postures across from LA 20 years ago, where she’d been certified by the controversial Mr. Bikram himself. His aggressively protected franchise model and regimented class format were not every yogi’s cup of chai, but Bikram has nevertheless grown with a phenomenal popularity over here ever since.

However, cracks have been spreading through this global yoga empire, and late last year, it was Michele’s turn to jump ship. (See the full interview below for how she found the split with the notoriously unforgiving fitness guru.) I’ve been dropping into this original Bikram studio on and off for a few years. I’ve found the system limited, boring even, compared to Ashtanga, but I like the heat and the undeniable workout-style benefits of the sessions. Take liberal advantage of the 30-day trial period offer and you’ll quite quickly see the difference it makes to your torso.

So when it was announced that Michele was launching her own, brand new system of five interchangeable hot yoga classes, appropriately named Fierce Grace, I was determined to sample the lot. The first thing that becomes apparent in any of the sessions is the break from the gruelling repetition and annoying script of traditional Bikram. The postures flow in a far more playful manner, and teachers are free to deviate from the sequence if, for instance, a beginner needs a modification, or an old hand needs a new challenge..."

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