This week, I was invited by Gap to a very special yoga class. It took place 1016 feet (310m) above London’s pavements, on the 69th floor of Europe’s tallest building The Shard at the crack of dawn, to watch the sunrise over a stunning 360-degree view of London. Certainly not your average sweaty bikram backdrop! Given the weather was utterly flawless with just a wisp of fluffy haze on the distant horizon, the spectacular natural theatrics didn’t disappoint; This was quite simply the most epic and magically uplifting yoga session I’ve ever done! Get the review & pictures below…
When I arrived at London Bridge station at 07:00, the City was threatening, shrouded and pitch black. From ‘The View’, you could see London’s veiny little roads illuminated by millions of Christmas tree fairy lights (though actually street lamps). Then at 07:45, at altitude, we began the session by waking up the muscles, stretching out in the ‘downward dog’ and similar poses. Within minutes, the sun slowly began to break from the horizon, throwing off a gorgeous deep red glow, warming the sky and the all-glass room we we’re in. Seconds later, it sparkled like gold as it was saying ‘good morning’ through the last of the mist, and by the time I left the building it was a perfect sunny winter’s day.
In truth, I’m not particularly good at yoga, and this class was a reminder of just how relatively inflexible I really am. I do a lot of weight training and although I always stretch and use the foam roller, I think a good yoga session a week would do me wonders. That was why one of my 2014 New Years resolutions is to improve my flexibility through this ancient Indian exercise going back c.5,000 years!! Aside from improving flexibility it can help build strength (especially the core), hone balance, and may also help those who suffer from lower back pains, high blood pressure, heart disease, and general aches and pains.
I find that the focus on breathing and the mind is of greatest benefit to me; why you ask? “Surely everyone knows how to breathe and think!?” Yes, but doing it well is harder than it sounds, and I find that an awareness of one’s breathing and thoughts helps us to control them. The removal of unnecessary mental anguish can help improve our overall well-being, is de-stressing and can even lift the mood. That, combined with a stunning vista like this left me simultaneously invigorated and relaxed – a unique feeling that I only seem able to get from yoga!
For the occasion, GapFit generously kitted me out with an entire outfit which I’m wearing in the shots. The clothes are very ‘Gap’ – relaxed and comfortable, with a strong emphasis on appealing details. I particularly liked the soft, satin feel of the pants and the fun patterned print; some pants tend to ‘dig’ into your waist, but it was though I’d forgotten I was wearing any at all – they were that comfortable!
(Gap’s photography provided by SuzyJay.com)
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