The Refinery in Hackney is a space for fitness, relaxation and health that welcomes and accepts everyone. It's wellness for busy people, that doesn't take itself too seriously.
The Refinery is about helping us all cope with the everyday stressors of modern day life. The incredible teachers and founders behind The Refinery are all about helping you feel good and getting back to you. From barre classes, yoga for beginners to reiki healing, they've got it all - and they don't care whether you're wearing your oldest sweatpants or the trendiest yoga leggings to do it all in.
What inspired you to launch the Refinery?
I have always been passionate about the benefits of yoga and a healthy lifestyle. It's all about balance these days and making sure we have the tools to cope with modern living! We wanted to build a community that would help people get in the best physical and mental shape, which is why we wanted to have the therapy rooms as well as the yoga and fitness studios.
Your branding and concept are very different from what we normally see in the wellness space. You emphasise not taking yourselves too seriously and embracing all bodies. Why was this important to you and how does this change the experience of the clients who use your space?
We felt it was very important to get across our ethos in our branding which is why we shied away from the typical black and white imagery showing beautiful bodies already in the best shape! We had been to lots of places where it was pretty intimidating entering the space... leaving you unsure whether you were wearing right gear, or if you were good enough to be in the class. We want people to feel comfortable and included at any stage of their wellness journey so they stay committed to it - whether they are just starting out and have never attended a class before, or are experienced and looking for the best instruction.
Life can get so serious, so we want people to have fun and make friends at the same time as finding a bit of headspace.
You mention that our health is being constantly affected by 21st century living. What do you think are the issues facing our health and how can meditation and exercise counteract these and support our wellbeing?
This is an age of constant stimulation and competition however, it is becoming more and more sedentary as people spend hours on their phones and technology. With so much information being thrown at us, we are constantly comparing ourselves (whether consciously or not) to others. How we look, our lifestyle, our diet, our jobs, our worth is often measured via social media and people's mental health is becoming affected. It is important to carve the time out for yourself to 'declutter' the mind and the body. Meditation and yoga are a great way to do this - via mental focus and breathing exercises we can learn to calm and soothe the mind and nervous system. Practicing mindfulness and gratitude helps to ease some of the negative chatter that can creep in to the mind.
What kind of exercises and classes do you offer?
We have over 100 classes on the timetable, featuring many different types of yoga - from Power to Restorative, Barre and toning classes, HiiT, cardio and weights to Gong Baths and Mantra sessions. There really is something for everyone.
You also have a huge and exciting array of therapies - what motivated you to have therapies as well as fitness classes?
We wanted to have a complementary offering to our fitness and yoga classes and therapies are a big part of that. We recognised that people need a little more of a helping hand to create the space in their lives and are sometimes struggling with what life throws at them. We have everything from sports massage, to deep tissue massage, reflexology, reiki, sound healing, head massage, facials, cranio sacral therapy and acupuncture.