Yoga is great for mind and body, especially when you’ve been cooped up in the office all day, but imagine if you could double the benefits by swapping the sweaty gym for a class on a stand up paddle board or at the top of the UK’s tallest building… Oh wait, you can!
1 Stand Up Paddle Yoga
Yoga on a stable surface is just too easy. Give that core a real workout by taking to a paddleboard… yup, Stand Up Paddle (SUP) Yoga is a thing. Try it at Wake Up Docklands in East London with Certified SUP Yoga instructor Nichola Cummiskey runs ‘floating’ yoga sessions on nice stable non-tidal water. Originating in Hawaii, SUP Yoga combines all the benefits of Stand Up Paddle-boarding and yoga, increasing stability, flexibility and, in particular, core strength, since the core muscles are crucial in keeping the body steady. Practicing yoga on water adds a fun and challenging dimension and helps even the most seasoned practitioners improve on postures, building strength and balance. Sessions run on Wednesdays at 6.30pm, Saturdays at 11.30am and Sundays at 11am (£20 for one hour, £25 for 1.5 hours).
2 Yoga in the Sky
‘The visitor’s experience of the tower is a dramatic journey encompassing a series of phenomenological and physical experiences which range from the mysterious to the contemplative, verticality, horizontality, darkness and light,’ said Sir Anish Kapoor of his ArcelorMittal Orbit, the UK’s tallest sculpture. At 80m, the Orbit’s highest viewing platform is the perfect setting for Hatha Yoga, which focuses on balancing the body’s opposing energies – the positive and the negative, the sun and the moon – through postures, breathing, mindfulness and relaxation techniques. Instructor Rebecca Spooner, who leads an advanced session from 7am-8.15am and a beginner’s session from 8.15am-9.30am every Saturday morning, said: ‘The visual aspect of it makes people feel uplifted which might make their practice better.’ Focus on balance, strength and peace of mind while the morning sun bounces shadows off the Olympic Stadium, The O2, Canary Wharf, The Shard and the City and just try to feel anything other than complete calm… Individual classes are £17.50 or a course of six classes is £80. Yoga mats and a goody bag are provided.
3 Yoga in the Clouds with Yogasphere
While yogis of past have tried to levitate to higher spheres, Yoga in the Clouds with Yogasphere invites you to take one of the world’s fastest lifts to London’s highest viewing platform at the top of Western Europe’s tallest building. How’s that for reaching new heights? Yogasphere’s Mandy Jhamat (named ‘one of the UK’s top yoga teachers’ by Marie Claire) and Harley Street wellbeing coach Leo Lourdes lead students through calming mind and body yoga exercises every Saturday from 8.30am-9.30am. You can even pop up to the highest accessible point of The Shard, an open-air viewing platform on Level 72, after class (class may even take place here on hotter days!). All mats and a goodie bag are provided). Remember to post your yoga selfie with the hashtag #peakpose. £40 per class or five classes for £175.
4 Secret Yoga Club
Secret Yoga Club organises pop up yoga and social events in different venues around London with live music and delicious food. So not only can you appreciate the aesthetics of the old Dalston Boys Club, the Royal Academy, a beautifully historic church or from atop a Peckham multi-storey car park, you might even be treated to guest chefs, DJs or even an opera singer. You might even make a friend. I can’t tell you any more though, because it’s a secret…
secretyogaclub.co.uk / @SecretYogaClub
5 Yoga with a View
The Southbank Centre offers up its own version of yoga-with-a-view for a very reasonable price tag of £12 per session (£10 if you book al four classes). Their resident expert, Florence Lefebvre, will be leading sessions on 1, 8, 15 and 29 April at the Weston Roof Pavilion on the sixth floor of the Royal Festival Hall, with views of the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye. The venue is also licensed for weddings, should you and your fellow yogi be looking to tie the knot… Classes run from 7.45am-9am. Meet at Royal Festival Hall Office and Artists’ Entrance.
6 Fat Buddha Yoga
Fat Buddha Yoga’s modern Vinyasa Yoga classes take place in different venues around East London, such as The Book Club, the Proud Archivist and even on the Google Campus. Instructor Jessica Skye is also a DJ, so music is a huge part of the experience. Sessions will leave you feeling stronger and more supple with a heap load of zen. The Sunday Rehab class at 1pm at South Place Hotel in the City works up some gentle heat before a detoxing flow of sequences. Take a towel and swim gear to hit the spa afterwards. All classes are £10 (four class pass, £38).