WHAT do England stars Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Kyle Walker, Phil Foden, Mason Mount and myself, a journalist have in common?

No, we’re not all playing for our national team.

However, we have all tried the Hotpod Yoga which is being deemed a recovery weapon of England’s recovery.

At their St George’s Park base, the side have a 37-degree pod where yoga takes place for post-match recovery upon the recommendation of England Rugby.

A recent ‘inside training’ video posted to England’s YouTube channel showcased a number of the England players taking part in a yoga session, controlling their body and stretching a variety of muscles.

So, I thought I’d put the trump card to the test at the Northwich franchise on High Street. I may not have played for the Three Lions recently, but my legs were a bit stiff from some training so I went in with an open mind.

Northwich Guardian: England's players taking part a session in Hot Pod Yoga - Picture: England YouTube England's players taking part a session in Hot Pod Yoga - Picture: England YouTube

For someone that knows little about yoga in hot pods and has only ever done a bit of morning stretching and a few football movements, I was unsure what to expect, but I wasn’t disappointed.

Minna Scaife, of Hartford, runs the franchise and also helps teach the sessions at the only dedicated yoga studio in Northwich.

I told Minna I couldn’t believe how big it is – we’re talking Doctor Who’s Tardis level of surprise. The other eight who took part, looked like they knew what they were doing a lot more than me, but Minna made the session really easy to get to grips with among a variety of abilities.

Oh, as well as the size, I don’t know why I was surprised upon entering a hot pod, that it was in fact really hot, but you get to grips with it after a few minutes.

A legs session entailed, doing a number of similar activities to the England side in their snippet. It was really peaceful. Dark lighting and tranquil music made it so. But, surprise surprise, I was soon sweating and my legs were feeling it.

We completed a variation of movements for all abilities, while I was so thankful to have a bottle of water beside me as you can imagine. After raising our heart rates, we brought them back down and did a relaxing cooldown.

Northwich Guardian: Northwich's Hot Pod Yoga franchise owner - Minna ScaifeNorthwich's Hot Pod Yoga franchise owner - Minna Scaife

Minna, 45, and owner of the franchise for two years, told me that people either come out feeling energised or relaxed. I felt relaxed. My legs felt amazing and after a chat at the end, back to work we went.

As Minna set up her franchise, there are now around 70 in the country. She did her first session at a pod in Newcastle, fell in love with it and within three weeks, began her own in Northwich.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, she started to take off helping Everton Ladies and local football teams such as Barnton FC and Witton Albion getting involved.

“The response was incredible,” she said.

“The nearest hot yoga studios are far, far away and to have something this unique in Northwich is great. I wanted to bring it in locally and thought people could really benefit from it.

“To see people from all walks of life, all shapes and sizes, it’s just been so great. I think people feel like they can just be themselves in the pod, you don’t have to be anything that you're not and you can do anything that feels good for you within your limits.

“It’s a very open and friendly environment”, added Minna, and she’s certainly right, everyone I met was lovely.

Northwich Guardian: The England squad have made use of the pods during the Euros - Picture: England YouTubeThe England squad have made use of the pods during the Euros - Picture: England YouTube

How has coronavirus impacted them?

They used to be able to have 20 people in the pod but now just nine, and classes have gone from 26 a week to 11. Classes run seven days a week, with one, two or three classes per day.

“It would be nice to get back to where we were two years ago with baby steps. It’s been hard for every business. We are slowly building up momentum and I think hopefully with restrictions being lifted, we can start building up more and more,” Minna, who has four children, continued.

“It’s totally different to normal yoga. It would be so lovely to work with more people and teams to support the community.

“Yoga is one of those things that I think people are slowly starting to realise what benefits it can give you but we also do it for the enjoyment. We love it.

“You can choose to do yoga for exercise, losing weight, for toning, building muscle, or as your sports recovery days or to reduce stress, there are so many different things.”

Minna is right too, I felt as relaxed as I could be and feeling fresh.

Who knows? At this rate, I might be joining the England boys on Sunday as the 27th man. We will have to see whether the secret weapon helps the boys go all the way against Italy.