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Tried And Tested Wellbeing: Can Rooftop Yoga Ease Back Pain And Reduce Stress?

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Climbing the urine-stained stairwell of a car park in South London one Saturday morning, it's hard to believe I'm about to attend a rooftop yoga class designed to wash away the stress of modern living.

But, ever open-minded, I try to stay optimistic. I've been to the Peckham car park before to visit Frank's Cafe (also located on the rooftop) but that was on a Friday night and after countless gin and tonics stairwell piss is somewhat less offensive.

When I reach the top, the setting - with a clear view of London's skyline - is pretty breathtaking.

It's the hottest day of the year (so far) and the desolate top storey car park in the blistering heat makes me feel like I'm in the Spice Girls' 'Say You'll Be There' video.

rooftop yoga

Rooftop yoga in Peckham, South London

But while the venue - with its view and the juxtaposition of brightly-coloured yoga mats against the concrete car park floor, is incredible (how often can you use The Shard as your focal point to help you balance?) - the yoga leaves a lot to be desired.

The class follows Dru Yoga, which is set firmly in ancient yogic traditions and draws emphasis on soft, flowing movements. This teamed with the mixed ability of the class and heat, meant that the class isn't dynamic enough for my taste - I much prefer the strong Hatha-based postures in Bikram and the speed of Vinyasa flow.

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But while Dru yoga may not be for me, the benefits are said to include increasing energy levels, easing back pain and reducing stress.

The class teacher Lucy says that she has personally benefitted from its therapeutic nature.

"The focus Dru puts on the therapeutic nature of yoga has been hugely important to me personally and I love being able to pass that on through my classes," she reveals. "I love the different ways it can be practiced, from meditative salutations to really dynamic, powerful sequences."

If I take one thing from this class it's that its important to find the yoga style that works for you. Although the venue is incredible and the class well-executed, leave feeling dissatisfied and unchallenged.

So yogis, do your research and get yourself to a rooftop yoga class pronto to make the most of the summer. (While it lasts.)

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Peckham rooftop yoga classes run between 6 July – 14 September. Buy your tickets here.

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