Last week I didn’t get round to trying any new fitness as I was out in Madrid supporting Team JST with their nutrition as they competed and won the Meridian Regional, punching a ticket to the CrossFit Games in Wisconsin in August. It was a truly inspirational weekend, and whilst I didn’t do any fitness myself, it was incredible to watch lots of fitness… those are some super-impressive people! [If you have no idea what the CrossFit Games is, watch the documentary Fittest On Earth on Netflix!]
So, straight back onto it this week!
A couple of months ago I stumbled across sunrise yoga at the Sky Garden – a bar at the top of the Walkie-Talkie building in the City. Hell yes! I booked in and was really excited about heading up there early doors on a Friday morning.
What They Say:
36 floors high – Sky Garden is the perfect setting for sunrise yoga and a delicious breakfast.
Set among Sky Garden’s luscious tropical greenery with a backdrop of incredible city views, take to the mat in the idyllic City Garden. With a dynamic, vinyasa flow style, this class is suitable for all levels and abilities. After the class, a delicious buffet breakfast will be served in the stunning Sky Pod Bar on level 35.
Kicking off bright and early the class runs for one hour followed by a virtuous and healthy breakfast, filled with yoga-inspired treats to be enjoyed in the exquisite gardens at your leisure.
We offer two ticket options – yoga and breakfast package or standalone class ticket.
OK, so sunrise yoga isn’t actually at sunrise – 4:43 this morning to be precise – that would be ridiculous. The class started at 6.30, which still meant a pretty early start from Twickers. I set the alarm for something beginning with 4, and was on the road by 5.
The day started well. The sky was lovely and watery; you could just tell it was going to be a blinder, and the early morning light flickered on the river as I crossed Twickenham bridge. As I entered Richmond station I saw a milk delivery being taken at one of the coffee shops. I tentatively asked if there was any chance of getting a coffee (they were nowhere near opening) and the friendly girl stopped what she was doing and got straight to work on an americano! What an unexpected delight! It was going to be a good day.
The tube was empty and the City streets were eerily quiet. As I neared the Walkie-Talkie I got a text from my friend Toral “forgot to bring a yoga mat”… DAMMIT! I’d forgotten too – I do this every time I go to a yoga class, you’d think I’d remember by now. So amateur.
We gathered with the other yogis (mostly girls in their early 20s – all carrying mats!) and were ushered through airport style security before being whisked up to the 35th floor in the speediest of lifts.
On entering the Sky Garden I was immediately struck by the amazing view… the shard glinted like a sharpened knife, poking up above the surrounding buildings resplendent. It was a WOAH moment. The room is surrounded by lush green plants (which smelled oddly of weed…) and there’s glass from floor to ceiling with 360 views. Stairs led up to an even higher floor, where the rest of the class was gathering.
You can see SO much from this spot… the gherkin, the eye, the glinting river. It was an odd feeling looking down on a city which seemed so still and peaceful in the early hours, knowing that the shit was hitting the fan in buildings all over town as the election results rolled in.
Mats were laid out and I set out my jumper in case I needed knee protection! Our instructor Charlie introduced herself and, before we did anything, she announced “we don’t want these bags cluttering your view” and asked us to move our belongings from the ledge overlooking one side of the building. I loved that! Who wants the sight of someone’s trainers detracting from the sky view?!
It was pretty busy – 30 or so people – and she told us to listen rather than watch, as not everyone could see her. I, fortunately, had prime position right in the middle at the front… a bit like maths class at school, I was always the geek at the front!
Charlie was super friendly and down to earth. As we started our vinyasa flow, cinematic music started to play and we quickly got into it. The routine kept moving and was nicely paced for a beginner like me. I never felt out of my depth, but held full focus and got a great stretch. For the first time ever, I also understood what yogis mean when when they say down dog should feel like a rest position… it’s always felt pretty excruciating to me, but today something clicked! Hooray!
As the class went on we had plenty of time to gaze at the sky. It was magical seeing the light white clouds drift by as the sun got brighter, truly serene.
The class flew by, and the savasana (corpse pose) at the end was spectacular, staring up out of the glass ceiling. I could have stayed there for hours.
As we left, breakfast was being served downstairs, laid out on platters adorned with huge drooping lilac displays. We had booked to eat elsewhere, but it looked like there was something for everyone… even a large pile of meringues, which is kinda weird as a breakfast option!
Stepping out into the still-quiet streets, all my senses felt energised and I was full of positive vibes – there aren’t many better starts to the day than that.
Worth getting up early for the views alone! This is a pretty cool bar, but I’d way rather see glorious London in the bright early morning sunshine than by night.
The class wasn’t overly challenging, but you wouldn’t want it to be at that time of day and I still felt I got a good workout. Deep breathing, stretching and a wonder to the eyes; for me, it was simply perfect… I was even fine without a mat!
Where: Sky Garden, EC3M 8AF
Cost: £10 yoga only, £20 to include post yoga breakfast