London’s Borough of Hackney is becoming quite the area for healthy food, shopping, and exercise. It is also proving to be the place for positive change, growth, and all around wellbeing. Here is a brief snippet of what this East London area has to offer.
The Refinery, 14 Collent Street, Homerton
Firstly, major kudos to owner Zoe, who has just quit her corporate job in Merchandising to pursue her passion in health, wellbeing, and yoga. Her goal is to help people become more conscious of sustainable, non-toxic products and creating a lifestyle to match, especially for kids and teenagers.
The look and feel of The Refinery is a great example of Zen within a modern health and fitness context. In addition, its brilliant sound system is accompanied by eclectic, feel-good tunes. Zoe’s aim in creating this local yoga hub was to include everyone from older dads, to girls in their 20s, to mums and mums-to-be.
The studio hosts smaller classes to cater all levels from beginning to advance. “Large group classes are great, but The Refinery wants to allow the teachers to keep an eye on their array of students”, Zoe reassures. Not ready for a full yoga class? Zoe has you covered with an array of massage therapies, Gong Baths, and meditation classes.
Zoe also wanted to create a place that was not just for fitness but place to fulfill one’s lifestyle. Therefore, she envisions The Refinery providing talks and discussions about the importance of said lifestyle in the future.
Don’t forget to check out: Well Street, just a hop, skip, and a jump from The Refinery. It will also host its own food, health and wellness market from December 2016, every Saturday.
York Hall, 5 Old Ford Road, Bethnal Green
Although York Hall Spa was launched as a new concept nearly 10 years ago, it has been a boxing venue since 1953. Not only does York Hall offer a great spa, it also offers Boxfit, Yoga, Pilates, a Gymnasium, and 2 swimming pools. York hall spa has 2 steam rooms, a plunge pool, ice showers, a sauna and a lounge area.
“We still have a guest that comes every week who is 100 years old! He says it keeps him young.”
Why are spas beneficial? Tanya Bruno states that, “[the] few that stand out the most are detoxifying, well being, stress relief and improving circulation.” Tanya advises that guests spend 10-15 minutes in each room to keep the body a hydrated and at a cooled temperature.
Opening hours: 7am – 9.30pm during the week and 8am – 8pm on the weekend
Don’t forget to check out: ‘Yoga with Adriene’ at York Hall, October 18th, 2016 at 7PM with Texan Yogi sensation, Adriene Mishler. This one’s going to be fantastic.
Ballet Fusion for Adults, 31 Falkirk Street, Hoxton
Founder Briar Adams is a Ballet Dancer, Ballet Teacher and Massage Therapist. She also founded an independent dance company called Hack Ballet. ‘Ballet fusion’ is a technique that combines ballet and contemporary techniques to strengthen the body and get the body moving.
Briar wanted to create a dance hub for both dancers and non-dancers alike. She also wants people to know how to work out safely and effectively, be more relaxed in movement, let go of the fear of being judged, and let go of ‘what they need to look like’.
“Dancing helps us let go of unnecessary tension, become creative and enables us to expand our range of movement.”
Briar’s Ballet Fusion classes are great for those who want to enhance their movement quality and commit to devoting and investing in the body. Briar says that “when people find a connection to the body and mind, we can gain more awareness in both the physical and psychological mind set”, which can have an effect on one’s life and work.
Opening hours: Mondays at 7:30PM (Intermediate) and Thursdays at 8:30PM (Beginning/General)
Don’t forget to check out: Briar’s Ballet Fusion Boot Camp, 7:30AM, during the week. These classes focus on posture, stretch conditioning and creative combinations to help you feel energised, yet relaxed and inspired.
The Grocery, 54 Kingsland Road, Shoreditch
Founded by two guys, Joff and Simon, The Grocery is a shop that “stock[s] seasonal food from local producers, favourite everyday brands, at prices for all”, which is appropriately displayed on the shop’s front window. The café offers healthy snack options, an array of loose leaf teas and ground coffee; while the bar offers a wide selection of organic wines.
Joff grew up on a farm in Norfolk and then later studied Engineering at Brunel University – it wasn’t until later in his career that he got into organic foods and health products. Therefore, he craved a change of direction. Simon, on the other hand, grew up dealing and working with food and wanted to take his career to the next level.
“Processed foods are harmful. It’s like the saying ‘you are what you eat’. Investing in quality products can improve your lifestyle.”
The Grocery was the first supermarket in Shoreditch, before commercial brands arrived. It was also the only place in the neighbourhood to carry non-mainstream brands, predominately organic, natural products (free of toxins), and alternative foods for those with allergies and intolerances.
Opening hours: 8AM-10PM
Don’t forget to check out: The Grocery’s Holistic Therapies, located downstairs and run by Massage Therapist, Zoe.
Run, Walk, Cycle, Relax, & More
Equivalent to a 4.37 km run, this park also houses the popular and locally-sourced Pavilion cafe.
A place where people can walk, cycle, run or boat throughout the whole of East London.