Words by: Ben Olsen
Photos by: Chroma Yoga
Pairing yoga practice with principles of light therapy, Chroma Yoga is a multi-sensory take on wellness that’s starting to make waves.
Far more than just a means to a sculptured figure, yoga can unlock a spiritual side that transcends other practices. A means to escape the daily grind, balance the mind and restore your sense of self, dedication to the 5,000-year-old discipline is a perfect complement to modern living.
And those at the forefront of the wellbeing sphere are adopting innovative approaches to enhance yoga practice even further. At her studio in Shoreditch, east London, Nina Ryner has created a vibrant new concept that’s captured imaginations across the world. The former dancer, stylist and art director launched Chroma Yoga last year, using light and colour therapy to develop a form of yoga that reflected her own identity. “I had an obsession with fitness but I couldn’t relate to most gyms or studios,” she says. “I either found them really cheesy or new-age and outdated.” So she set up her own space to share her vision with the world.
Based on the idea of brain “entrainment”, where the mind can be pushed into certain states of consciousness, each of Ryner’s yoga classes is held in a studio saturated with a specific colour frequency. These frequencies are said to have different physiological effects on the body, from melatonin-suppressing blue light to sleep-inducing yellow and orange tones. “People don’t tend to consider how colour can affect our emotions and all the classes have their own benefits,” says Ryner. “If you want to push yourself and get into an energetic state of mind you might do a ‘red’ class, if you’re flagging and want to be perked up you might choose a ‘blue’ class – there’s a lot of variety.”
The concept has proved popular among those seeking a little time out. “First-timers love it because you’re basically walking into a room full of colour. It’s a soundproof space cut off from the outside world that allows people to shut off without distraction for 60 minutes,” she says. “Being immersed in colour is an emotional boost and those who do it regularly go on to realise the impact it can have.”
It’s also won over some high-profile fans, with Stella McCartney asking Ryner to host Chroma Yoga sessions at the launch of her SS18 collection at New York Fashion Week. Reaching a new global audience has helped spread the word and Ryner has noticed the idea catching on elsewhere. “Chroma Yoga is causing people to re-evaluate how they present their classes and studios,” she says. “We’re expanding fast and we feel there are ways we can grow it into something a lot bigger.”
Images: Chroma Yoga