Hot yoga, ashtanga yoga, gravity yoga… it’s all happening in the world of the bendy.
But how about yoga among the actual clouds? Y’know, up there in the sky? Not possible, you say. Well… it is when you head 68 floors up to the top of Europe’s tallest building for your class.
I was invited to a yoga class atop The Shard – 800ft above the hustle and bustle of the capital.
I was extremely up for it – I’m such an advocate for the benefits of yoga (oh, here’s a little video of my incredible experience at a yoga retreat) for all humankind. In a world where we’re constantly connected, on the go, in the loop, switched on, heading here there and everywhere as fast as possible, constantly being made to think four days ahead, yoga puts a big fat hand in your face (albeit calmly and serenely) and makes you stop. Breathe. Think. Connect. Balance. Focus. Prioritise. These are things we absolutely need to do the most, but such are the demands of life in 2014 that it happens far too little. Allowing myself time to sit with my thoughts amid the vast expanse of the open sky and I had a feeling I was about to experience something a little bit special. Even if the sky is a slightly greyer shade of blue than one would hope, as it was when I made my way up to the top.
The View from The Shard has teamed up with renowned yogis Leo and Mandy of Yogasphere for an eight week stint of classes that have more than just a little extra something special – panoramic views of everything from the London Eye to Big Ben to St Pauls and Tower Bridge. It’s a lot to take in when you’re mid downward dog. At £40 a go it’s not cheap, but it costs £25 to head up there sans lycra so if you’re even remotely into your yoga, this is so very worth it.
Stepping out of the lift and seeing the rest of the world below me was exciting enough. Damn, that is high. I chose a mat close to the floor to ceiling windows to get the most of the breath-taking views and sat cross legged on the floor as Leo started taking us through the postures. As wonderfully distracting as it was see the entirety of the capital city below, as I tried to maintain a one-legged tree pose, it was conversely that insane physical elevation from the rest of London that helped me focus my practice.
From the 68th floor that big bad world below looked small. All those niggling doubts and worries that plague you everyday? They also became small. Distant and irrelevant for those 60 precious minutes. Becoming physically detached from the city and all the good and bad that’s associated with the daily grind allowed me to become quickly centred and grounded because I was literally on top of the madness and the chaos. Floating, as calm as the clouds that were hazily and casually passing around us. I was literally soaring as high as the sky, and the feeling didn’t leave me as I sailed back down to earth and carried on with my day, joining the rest of the world at rush hour. They hadn’t noticed I had ever left, but to me, I’d been a world away.
Yogasphere and The View from the Shard are running classes every Saturday morning until 26th July 2014.
Bottom photos courtesy of Oliver Dixon/Imagewise.