Fierce Grace Yoga is a new hot yoga system, developed by Michele Pernetta who was the first yoga teacher to bring Bikram yoga to the UK in 1994. Michele was a student of Bikram Choudhury’s in Los Angeles after going to him as a martial artist who needed knee surgery. She healed her knees, and moved to London where she taught for 6 years from rented studios using the heaters she kept in the back of her car. She opened the first Bikram studio in London in 1999, became one of Bikram’s senior teachers, and opened another 3 studios.
In 2013 Michele launched Fierce Grace – a system of 5 interconnected yoga classes – Core, Classic, Fierce Grace, Fierce (aka The Beast) and The Fix. The classes are designed to be accessible and effective for everyone. This gives practitioners different options to suit their experience, schedule and mood whilst still working together as a whole. The rooms for the classes are heated to 35°C (100°F) which is a little cooler than for Bikram yoga where rooms are maintained at 40°C.
The Fierce Grace Yoga Classes:
Core is a 75 minute class described as: “The deepest stretch out there. For the burned out, unfit, injured or those who want to take the time to stretch the parts other classes do not reach. This is a class created with a chilled out vibe that focuses on deep realignment, tailored instruction and correct form. Still a challenging workout, but with more time to master the building blocks of a great yoga practice” This is the class that newcomers to the FG system are advised to attend before moving on to the other classes because it establishes correct body alignment and breathing.
Classic 39 is a 90 minute class with 39 poses. This is the class that most resembles the Bikram 26-pose class but with clear differences as well, not least the greater number of poses. “The Classic brings deep alignment, stamina-building, strength and flexibility.”
Fierce Grace lasts 80-90 minutes “A fun and expanded general level class working 100% of the body, this class combines the central poses of classical hatha yoga, Bikram, Power and Ashtanga Yoga and is designed to bring peak fitness, strength, flexibility and alignment. Working arms, core and bum, combined with deep hip, shoulder and leg stretches, this class will help you gain cardiovascular fitness, stamina and flexibility while realigning your skeletal system.” This class is held to a background of relaxing music and has an optional 10 minutes at the end for relaxation or meditation.
Fierce (The Beast) as the name suggests is perhaps the most demanding class and is described ‘an advanced class which is tough but friendly’ and lasts a full 105 minutes, 15 minutes longer than Classic 39: “For the next generation of yogis, this class is guaranteed to take your yoga practice to new heights with arm balancing poses, deep hip opening, inversions, lotus, shoulder opening, deep backbends and deeper meditation.”
The Fix runs for 50 minutes and is: “For the motivated person on a tight schedule, this is an effective no-frills yoga class combining cardiovascular sweat-inducing poses, strength, flexibility, body sculpting, and stress-release through breath and relaxation. Do it in your lunch hour, or on your way home from work and your energy levels will soar. Thirty minutes standing, twenty minutes floor work to leave you revitalised and raring to go.”
For more details of the classes click here.
Why the name ‘Fierce Grace’?
The system is seen as a combination of these two qualities:
FIERCE – Adjective
i) A Heartfelt powerful intensity
ii) Forceful, resolute action
GRACE – Noun
i) Simple Elegance or refinement of movement
ii) Inspiration from a higher power
As an occasional (and wishing it could be more regular) attendee of Fierce Grace classes, one of its attractions is the welcoming environment for people of all ages and ‘types’. There are no lectures on what you ‘must eat’ or how you ‘must live’ your life outside of the class, no deep, mystical knowledge you must learn in order to feel part of it. So it becomes a place where you can just arrive and ‘be with yourself’ for the duration and surprise yourself that you can actually make it through such a sequence of demanding physical challenges in a hot room, even with injuries or mobility difficulties.
“My hope is that this system will support you at every age and stage of your life. My vision is that in 30 years from now the practitioner practicing Fierce Grace will be a new breed of older person. Gone are the Zimmer frames, walking sticks and aches and pains. This new breed of Yoga Elder will up a mountain in their hiking shoes at 80, teaching their grandchildren handstands or scuba diving on a beach in Goa. Yoga Granddad will be leading fitness revolutions. Yoga is not just for the young and fit. It is to make every age young and fit.” – Michele Pernetta
http://www.fiercegrace.com and related pages
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What are your thoughts about, or experiences of Fierce Grace? Have you attended a class before or do you have a view about the new direction for hot yoga that Fierce Grace offers?
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