Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Take yoga outside

By Rebecca Almond

With much of the country seeing temperatures soar to dizzying heights, sweating it out at the gym might not be top priority. But that’s not to say your exercise regime needs to fall completely by the wayside – there are plenty of enjoyable ways to get fit outdoors (and top up your tan while you’re at it).

Yoga is one of the most portable forms of exercise. ‘You can roll out your mat almost anywhere, says yoga instructor Leslie Saglio, ‘in the park, on the beach, in your garden…’ The sky is, quite literally, the limit, as I discover while in downward facing dog 80ft above London’s business district.

Wellness community SERENE Social is hosting a summer series of vinyasa flow classes in the private garden of rooftop restaurant Coq d’Argent. The concept is simple – women of all yoga abilities are invited to take their asanas (postures) to new heights while enjoying breathtaking views of the city – the Shard, the Gherkin and St Paul’s Cathedral are all on the horizon. ‘Practicing yoga above the hustle and bustle helps to change your perspective of the city,’ says SERENE co-founder Millana Snow. 

It’s not just London that’s getting high on rooftop yoga – classes are popping up all over the UK (search spogo.co.uk). But if you can’t find a class in your local area, or prefer to keep your feet on the ground, Leslie recommends trying these three poses outdoors:

1.     Mountain pose
Standing tall, feet together and firmly on the ground, stretch your arms up towards the sky, then bring them slowly down by your sides. Close your eyes and feel the elements against your skin.
2.     Tree pose
Standing on your left leg, slowly draw your right foot up to rest on your ankle, calf or inner thigh. Stretch both arms up towards the sky and hold. Repeat on the other leg.
3.     Downward facing dog
From a plank position, lift your hips and push them up and back, arms and legs extended. Drop your head to look back through your legs. Your shape should resemble an upside-down letter ‘V’.

SERENE Social Rise Up Rooftop Yoga classes are held every Thursday 8–9am at Coq d’Argent, London, until the end of September. To book, visit serenesocial.com.

For more get-fit inspiration, pick up a copy of August’s Healthy Food Guide, out this Friday.

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