A yoga session at home is great. Don’t get me wrong. Adrienne on YouTube really knows her stuff. But when you’re trying to clear your mind and realign your chakras, your sweaty, hot bedroom isn’t quite going to cut it. Nor are the building works outside the window, or your noisy housemate, or the next door neighbours stomping upstairs. What you really need is some open space and the soothing sound of a yogi’s mantras.
Right on cue, yoga sessions are popping up all over London’s parks, rooftops, and squares. You can twist into pigeon pose in your favourite park or flop into downward facing dog on a hotel rooftop. Other sessions will be popping up in due course as places open up so keep an eye out for The Shard’s rooftop yoga return as well as the the Sky Garden’s sessions and Fat Buddha Yoga who have previously run classes at The Hoxton Hotel, The Allbright Club and Coq D’argent.
1. Ham Yard Hotel x Third Space Rooftop Yoga and Brunch
On a rooftop in the heart of Piccadilly, you can ommm to your heart’s content under the expert eye of yogis from the luxury Third Space gym.
Set amongst olive trees and meadows of wild flowers, you can flex your muscles in a hatha yoga class. The aim is to bring balance, strength, a sense of wellbeing and 45 minutes of calm. The session will guide you through a series of postures and conscious breathing in combination with mental focus to develop awareness, strength, flexibility and relaxation.
What’s more, you’ll be treated to a healthy brunch, including avocado and poached eggs on rye; granola, yoghurt and berries; or coconut chia seed pots with mango. You can also upgrade the experience if you wish with an express manicure at the Ham Yard’s nail bar. Forget ladies that lunch, it’s all about ladies that brunch.
Price: From £39
When: Every Saturday from 19 June – 28 August, 9.15am for a 9.30am start
Where: 1 Ham Yard, W1D 7DT
Practising yoga on a sandy beach is great at strengthening the muscles in your feet, hips, knees and shoulder joints.
2. Neverland Yoga on the Beach
Over in Fulham there’s an actual beach. Whip out your Lulu Lemon outfits or your Sweaty Bettys and enjoy an energising 75-minute class on the weekend complete with beachside beats.
Set on soft white sand, you’ll be surrounded by palm trees, beach huts and the sounds of the River Thames streaming past. What better way to get up and flow on a Saturday morning!?
The classes are led by Cassie McClements of the Pop Up Yoga Club. The unique location will help you forget how much agony you’re in mid-stretch and you can just pretend you’re in Ibiza instead.
Practising yoga on a sandy beach is great at strengthening the muscles in your feet, hips, knees and shoulder joints. Apparently that’s because an unstable surface forces your body to micro-adjust in order to maintain the posture. It means you use more muscles than normal, and your body will work extra hard. What’s more, some of the classes are themed around different destinations around the world, which means it’s also like a mini holiday.
Price: From £20
When: Every Saturday: 10:30am – 11.45am
Where: Wandsworth Bridge Road, SW6 2TY
3. Yogarise at the Bussey Building
You would never think that the heart of bustling Peckham could be where you find inner peace, but it turns out it is. Every Saturday there is dynamic flow yoga taking place on top of the rooftop of the Bussey Building. You can gaze out over the sparkling skyline as you step into warrior one.
Each class will help you set new intentions for the future, and you can start practising mantras to get you onto the right track for the following week.
Price: From £20
When: Every Saturday: 10:30am – 11.45am
Where: 133 Copeland Road, Peckham, SE15 3SN
Expect to sweat and work hard for that well deserved cool off in the pond.
4. Yoga (and swim) on the Heath
The leafy surrounds of Hampstead Heath seem like the ideal place for a quiet meditation or a gentle yoga session. Particularly when there’s also the added joy of a wild swim at the end of it.
Local Yogi Charli offers classes in the park with a refreshing dip to wake you up. The vinyasa flow classes are for all levels as Charli gives the option of different poses throughout the session. It’s not all about lying down to reconnect with the earth though… expect to sweat and work hard, for that well deserved cool off in the pond.
The swimming bit is optional, but if you’re all about focusing on a new version of yourself, then why not give your body a little physical and mental boost with a quick dip. The cold water improves immunity, builds a positive mood, helps with circulation and helps to reduce inflammation. Basically, it’s the elixir of life.
Meet at either 10am or 11.45am outside the Freemasons Arms Pub on Downshire Hill and then wander into the park to find a nice spot.
Price: From £10
When: Saturdays at 10:00am & 11:45am – with optional swim after the 11:45am class
Where: Hampstead Heath
5. SUNday yoga in Kensington Gardens
Now’s your chance to practice ashtanga and hatha yoga in front of a house full of princes and princesses. SUNday Yoga classes by Ivan Molochko take place in Kensington Gardens just a stone’s throw from the palace. Ivan is an experienced yoga instructor trained in the Sivananda style of hatha yoga (any keen yogis will know what that is. The rest of us? Clueless).
The outdoor sessions are great for beginner and intermediate level, with a strong mix of challenging asanas (postures) and deep pranayamas (breath work). Some previous yoga experience is recommended, but all skill levels are welcome. Sun and salutations, what more could you want?
When: Every Sunday at 10am
Where: Kensington Gardens
6. Sup yoga on water
Lucie Norris is taking yoga up a notch. She does it on water. It sounds a lot more daunting than it actually is. The sup yoga classes are based at the serene location of the West Reservoir Centre in Stoke Newington. The water temperature ranges from a chilly 12 degrees to a tropical high of 26 degrees, so you can either dip in your finger tips or go the whole hog and jump right in. You’ll be balancing on inflatable paddle boards for the whole one-hour session – but don’t worry, you’ll be briefed on how to use them so you don’t plop straight in.
There are added benefits to yoga on the water. Not only does it enhance your sense of tranquillity, calmness and positive well-being it also has great physical benefits too. It enhances balance, posture, coordination, endurance and body strength. It’s a great way to enjoy the sunshine and a bit of exercise at the same time.
Price: From £25
When: Various dates and times throughout the week
Where: West Reservoir Water Sports Centre, Stoke Newington, N4 2HA
7. Sky Garden Morning Yoga
Bring your own mat to do your sun salutation 36 floors up at the Sky Garden for a bright start to your morning. While this one is technically inside… it’s a sort of inside/outside situation. You’ll be surrounded by tropical greenery and have the backdrop of incredible city views, but you’ll also be protected from the elements. And let’s face it, if the English summer continues as it is, we really need that protection. The dynamic, vinyasa flow style is suitable for all levels and abilities and afterwards, you can explore the Sky Garden, as your ticket will include access to the gardens.
When: Saturdays and Sundays, from 24 July, 8.30-9.30am
Where: 1 Sky Garden Walk, EC3M 8AF