Jacqui Hooper and Bertie Russell first met each other through their shared passion for yoga at a North London studio. Jacqui, an ex-professional dancer originally from Melbourne and Bertie, an Osteopath born and bred in Camden, teamed up to create Rebel Studio in September 2014.
For a few years before this, we taught classes at yoga studios such as Bikram, Fierce Grace, Ethos, YogaCentric, Indaba and led anatomy, physiology, technique and sequencing modules on yoga teacher training programs. Always talking about the way in which we could improve a student’s practice and experience, we decided to completely rethink the traditional yoga studio model.
Bertie’s yoga experience ranges from performing internationally with Edward Clark’s renowned Tripsichore for many years, to placing 5th worldwide in the Bishnu Charan Ghosh Cup, yoga competition. He trained as an Osteopath to be able to biomechanically assess the physical practice of yoga and has gone on to specialise in the treatment of yoga practitioners and their injury prevention.
Jacqui performed with various dance companies around the world and was principal dancer at Le Lido, Paris. Her graceful movement continues to inspire her yoga students. She continues to broaden her skillset by teaching visually impaired individuals often with multiple comorbidities, for the charity Blind Aid.
The ever growing industry means that yoga teacher trainings often run by undertrained teachers flood the market with more underprepared teachers that lack any in-depth knowledge. Most studios normally have lots of teachers teaching different styles and although it gives their students variety, yoga styles contradict one another, which is confusing and makes it difficult for students to progress. As well as this, we’re sure everyone has experienced overfilled classes making it almost impossible for even the best teacher to correct obvious mistakes.
Our ambition has always been to provide the best yoga possible, creating highly individualised technique-based classes that draw on our combined experience and knowledge. We are extremely technical and specific when it comes to movement. That being said, we are never rigid nor dogmatic. We strive to inspire our students to experience the power of breath and mind, and the grace and flow of movement that is a part of every Rebel class.
We will never franchise, or open a series of studios. Rebel will hold up to 22 people maximum, making it possible for us to really take care of our students, their bodies, and their progress. In the majority of classes, one of us will lead and demonstrate, the other quietly assisting, of course if you just want to turn up to class and be left alone, that’s absolutely fine too.
In order to maintain the integrity and clarity of what we are trying to achieve, we’ll be doing everything at the studio! The additional teacher or two that we’ll eventually bring on board will be very carefully selected (and trained) and must share our great passion, knowledge and approach.
Sounds good, how will we achieve this?
From humble beginnings in a church hall in West Hampstead, we have grown in confidence and strength to secure a commercial premise in Kings Cross, London. Rebel Studio will offer an array of different class levels in their corresponding perfect environment, complemented by expert individual attention within group classes.
- Warm - to nurture the body and assist, and never hinder a challenging slow flow
- Hotter - for improved flexibility.
- Room temperature - to work strength and core.
- Beginners - so you’re never out of your depth, avoiding the risk of injury
- Intermediate - refine your technique, challenge and progress
- Advanced - to inspire
- Small group specialist rehabilitation classes for people with chronic injuries and conditions.
- A luxurious bespoke yoga therapy class combining yoga, osteopathy and massage.
- A weekly community class.
- An intelligently designed class specifically suited to the bodies of older individuals.
- A class for the visually impaired, continuing Jacqui’s established work with the charity Blind Aid.
Osteopathy - Rebel studio prides itself on being able to give genuine and realistic advice, treatment and education from a registered osteopath with many years experience in yoga, who specialises in treating yoga related injuries. Bertie’s unique approach and understanding of yoga bodies has made him recognised in the north London yoga scene as the go to person for injured yogis.
Psychotherapy - In keeping with our evidence based approach to how we use our bodies, physical or mental manifestations or issues that require mind therapy will be under the care of an expert psychotherapist.
Privates - Whilst our group classes can at times give the individual attention you would get in a private yoga session, we will offer privates for those that want to fully take advantage of our wealth of knowledge.
We aspire to make Rebel Studio a centre of excellence in yoga technique by providing further educational training for teachers. Courses in biomechanics and anatomy will enable teachers to critically assess yoga asana and sequencing, and the study of conditions and injuries, to better understand their students needs.
We have a start-up loan and have already put all of our personal savings into the business. We don’t have any investors as we don’t want the quality to be compromised in any way, and we want to keep it that way.
We do however, want our studio to look and feel as amazing as the services we will be providing, so we're looking for a little extra cash to turn this...
into something more like this...
“I have attended lots of yoga classes over the past twenty years and in my opinion Jacqui and Bertie are the best teachers you'll find in London right now. They have no gimmicks and do not present themselves as gurus or mystics. They know exactly what they are doing and they work as a team, correcting posture/poses and encouraging you to work at your own level. They both have a calm, friendly demeanor and a comprehensive understanding of the human body. Their classes feel safe and the music is great! Ten out of ten from me.” Tracy Whitwell
“Absolutely amazing: lovely people, good - *great* - music, challenging level of difficulty (you will see demonstrable improvement attending their classes) and, most importantly....a whole lotta fun! Makes so much difference having Jacqui and Bertie there - one teaching, one adjusting. Gives you the confidence to improve knowing they'll advise as to your best posture.” Charles Light
"Jacqui brings the discipline of Bikram, the poise of ballet and the no-nonsense clarity of good Australian stock. Bertie brings the science of osteopathy and asana alignment, a provocative enthusiasm for the difficult and a respectful disrespect for the yoga scene. They meet with a contemporary dance sensibility and a projection of kindness and care towards their students.
A Rebel Studio class is like no other in London. The temperature is just right - warm but not so hot that your crow collapses into an octopus. The tuition is perfect - one teacher giving verbal instruction while the other gives hands on modifications and tips. The sequence evolves from week to week, class to class, but with some core fundaments that never change - the focus on the energetic power of breathing - not just inhale/exhale but use your breath to lift your body! - the focus on control - movements are encouraged to be slow, like, genuinely slow and genuinely under the control of the practitioner. Genuine attempts to gain control are affirmed. Genuine attempts to rise into handstand are affirmed, however slight the result might seem. A Rebel class has more falls than most, and more smiles than all.
The music is cool, dreamy, woozy, jazzy. More guitars than sitars.
The end is peaceful. Ones head and neck massaged. A sense of having risen to another challenge, of having made progress, however small, to a better alignment and a better sense of the possibilities of my own body, and of having been treated kindly and expertly.
There is no yoga as good as this in London, not even close ” Steven Gould