Last year, fitness enthusiasts were intrigued and perplexed as the concept of ‘Voga’ swept the talking-about-it web. Refresher: Voga is an energetic mix of Yoga and Voguing, you know, that dance from the Madonna music video. This entire movement is the brainchild of Juliet Murrell, who established the House of Voga, from which she preaches the fun benefits of her lycra-clad craft.
Before voga stardom, Murrell was a successful set designer in the fashion and film industry. She qualified as a yoga instructor in 2011 after taking up the sport following a bout of post-viral chronic fatigue that wrecked her energy levels. It wasn’t long before she began creating a more expressive, energetic yoga niche, drawing inspiration from Madonna’s posing anthem after witness a voguing battle at Madame JoJo’s, the gay cabaret bar, in Soho. “I thought it was the coolest thing ever, a crazy, underground, glamorous night without the focus being on drinking. Voga is an homage to voguing. We’re not voguing, we are doing yoga, but it’s inspired by the two of them,” she says.
We caught up with Murrell, who lives in Dalston, east London, before she comes to Dublin this weekend for Sure Voga, an outdoor voga class in Dublin’s Merrion Square that will put Sure deodrant’s Motionsense™ technology to the test. Participants (see how you can apply for a place at the end of the article) will be given ‘sweat insurance’ for the class with samples of Shower Fresh from the newest range of compressed deodorants providing unique Motionsense™ technology.
Okay first of all for those who don’t know, what’s voga?
VOGA is a a fusion of yoga and vogueing, fitness and fashion. It combines the breathing and synchronised movement of yoga with the expressive moves of the dance class, bridging the gap between yoga and dance. Think Vogue. Think Yoga. This is VOGA! Yoga with sass!
What kind of person is going to find it interesting?
It’s for people who like the idea of yoga but who would also like something more upbeat. It’s for creative, expressive beings, children of the 1980s, mums of the 1980s, dancers, yogis and anyone wanting to bring back fun into their fitness routine. It’s pretty much for everyone – all ages, all skills, all fitness levels – and offers you the chance to workout in your most stylish outfit while bringing nightlife cool into the realm of sweat and lycra. It’s your leisure time. Spend it well! .
Is it an exercise that really gets you toned?
Definitely. It promises to vanquish bingo wings forever with regular sessions. It also targets bums, tums and glutes, offering flow sequences on beat with lunges and squats combined with arm co-ordination. I’ve often been told that the class goes so quickly that they’ve almost haven’t been aware they’ve been exercising. But expect to feel the burn on your inner thighs and biceps the next day.
The session develops co-ordination, builds on the meditative power of repetition, focuses the mind, channels your inner vogue and energy flow of movement, strengthens legs and abdominals and tones arms and bums. The strong vinyasa flow shifts to a core strengthening centralised practise finishing with a warm down and more dreamy disco.
VOGA is the most holistic calorie burning cardio workout out there, inspiring participants to feel the power of the pose and sense of empowerment in alignment and shape.
A photo posted by Juliet Murrell (@houseofvoga) on
What’s the best thing about voga?
I love teaching this class and seeing everyone synchronised, on beat and moving their body. It requires enough concentration to be focused and in the zone but allows that important element of fun that keeps you smiling through the difficult parts. It’s awesome to see how different cultures and people around the world embrace it – ultimately everyone loves, and needs, to move their body everyday. It’s not a bad habit to adopt. Especially wearing something that feels fabulous.
We also now have a growing team of Voguettes Master Teachers who are all pretty international, London, Paris, New York, Amsterdam and Ibiza are some of our locations.
What’s your ideal playlist for a voga session?
House, Club, Disco and anything inspired by or made in the 1980s with a strong beat for us to strike a pose. I love a diva like Whitney Houston and power ballads like I Feel Love by Donna Summer.
What celebrities are getting in on this?
Millie MacIntosh, Miss France – Laury Thilleman, George Lamb and Made in Chelsea’s Cheska and Fran.
Thanks @burntsoulclothing for my awesome #pride outfit this weekend @sohohouse and @coqdargent. Oh and @daisydorismay for styling me!! @cutlerandgross for the little extra…#sunglasses #catsuit #gaypride #HOUSEOFVOGA #strikeapose #dance #moveyourbody #feelfabulous #burntsoulclothing #coqdargent #sohohouse @sophievball
If you weren’t doing this, what else would you be doing, careerwise?
Well, I was working as a set designer in film and fashion. I loved the creativity and excitement in both those industries and worked towards combining it all in HOUSE OF VOGA as a lifestyle brand. As regards my dream career – I’d be a drummer in a band, like in Mall Rats, a proper 90210 girl on the drums.
Sure Voga will take place Saturday, July 25th, with free tickets available to consumers through Sure’s Eventbrite page.