Unable to tell my left from my right, yoga sessions have always been a struggle for me. Instead of listening to a teacher’s instructions relayed from the front of the class and focusing on my own body and soul, I usually have to copy whatever the person next to me is doing and pray no-one will notice. As you can imagine, this is not exactly conducive to relaxation.
That said, I’m curious about the inner peace and satisfaction yoga brings about for so many other, coordinated people and would therefore never turn down an invitation to attend a class. Especially if said class takes place in Sky Garden at the top of the Walkie Talkie Building at sunrise. No biggie.
The daily Sky High Yoga sessions, which involve dynamic vinyasa flow style yoga, are open to everyone for just £10 – which is a good deal when you consider the stunning city views.
It is for this reason that, despite my formidable experiences with this ancient practice, I found myself up at 6.30am two Sundays ago, accompanied by my yogi flat-mates, stewing a cup of tea and mentally preparing for the Zen morning ahead.
The first thing to interrupt my hangover-free, wholesome morning was the realisation that I had absolutely nothing suitable to wear for any form of exercise. I curse myself for not setting my alarm even earlier to piece together something acceptable.
Foraging around in the section of my wardrobe I like to call “why on earth did I buy this – I have no money”, I find a long-sleeved white garment with buttons down the back. It’s a little transparent, so I throw a grey baggy jumper over it that looks semi-cool in a nonchalant sort of way.
For the legs, my options are alarmingly slim; it’s between thick, bright blue American Apparel leggings covered in daisies, faux leather leggings from Topshop and pajama shorts. Due to their very thin material and stretchy disposition, the faux leather leggings make the cut.
Part of my flat-mates’ strategy to invite me to yoga at a time when I’m usually taking off my heels and climbing into bed on a Sunday was to buy me a yoga mat from TKMaxx. Bright turquoise and adorned with the inspiring quote “DREAM WITHOUT FEAR” in on-trend typography and a hipster arrow to boot, I was quite taken with it.
The difficulty came when I unwrapped the mat and realised I had no yoga mat holder. My dressing-gown belt would have to do.
And so, dressed in my usual cleaning-the-flat attire and armed with a green bundle, by 7am my tranquility was finally restored and I met with the crisp morning air ready for some morning yoga.
Arriving at the venue, I was thrilled to discover the Sky Garden is “pretty chilly” – aka freezing – and therefore the perfect temperature for me to leave the understated baggy jumper on.
Actually, after scanning the room, I note that many other people are also wearing casual tops, many of which are of a Breton style.
Where I do seem to have gone slightly wrong is with the trendy leggings. 99% of the room’s yogis are sporting bottoms that have actually been designed for exercise.
As the session begins, I become aware of the fact that my ultra-thin, 5-year-old leggings are probably quite unforgiving and could even potentially rip at any point. As I slide into the backwards warrior pose, I pray this does not happen and thank heavens for the length of my jumper. What a lifesaver.
Aside from my sartorial setbacks, the session flashes by seamlessly. I do have to routinely check with the person next to me which leg is supposed to be bent forward and which arm should be in the air, but I seem to have improved since my last encounter (don’t ask).
I finish the session feeling pretty good, and surprisingly energised. I am proud to have done something productive on a Sunday, and glance outside at the sprawling cityscape, wondering how many people are waking up to a glass of wine on their windowsill and a throbbing head (*evil laugh*).
The session has taught me, however, that whilst yoga is primarily centered on restoring a sense of calm and well being, what you wear is also pretty important.
And so, for all those who – like me – are late to the party for realising just how important clothes are when it comes to yoga, here are a few simple but fundamental tips. I hope I sound like I know what I’m talking about.
- Make sure the fabric is breathable
- Avoid ancient garments that have lost their quality
- Short shorts are never a good idea when it comes to yoga. This is self-explanatory I think
- If you’re not sure what the temperature will be like, layers are good
- For a head start, visit the Sweaty Betty website for their super helpful What to Wear for Yoga section