Ever since gym closures happened and safe distancing restrictions were put in place as a result of Covid, I’ve pretty much been on home workout mode. Working out to YouTube videos and subscription-based videos, self-yoga practice, solo outdoor running… over the last year, I found contentment in doing these things in my little safe space. The hypochondriac in me had no qualms about missing the gym life – including the small talks and equipment-sharing – because home is the safest place to be in unprecedented times like these, isn’t it?
But hey, news flash: We are born to crave company and nature, and not to mention, novelty. Hearing about Virgin Active’s SkyPark Yoga, held on the rooftop of Marina Bay Sands, made my heart race. Would this be a reflection of the new normal for events? Could this take my yoga practice to new heights, or jump-start my return to group workout classes? Only one way to find out.
Thanks to being home-based almost 24/7 over the past year, trooping to Marina Bay Sands on its own gave me holiday feels already. It was nice to know that I didn’t have to bring my own mat or towel, as some yoga studios require that. All I needed to do was show up in my activewear, with mask on of course. After having my temperature screened and checking in SafeEntry-style at the Skypark Box Office (B1 of Hotel Tower 3), I took a lift up to level 57, the SkyPark Observation Deck. There, I was briefed about the safe distancing measures:
- Participants are to keep to groups of no more than two people. Groups are to ensure 3m distance apart during the session with no intermingling
- All participants (including the instructor/assistant) are required to put on masks before and after the yoga sessions
On to the rooftop yoga experience, here’s what to expect.
It definitely feels a whole lot more liberating being at an open space like the SkyPark Observation Deck 57 stories up in the air, than surrounded by walls and pillars in a studio setting. What I missed though, was checking out my reflection in the mirror (as most studios allow me to) when I settled down on my mat. So I gazed at the sky – it was grey and cloudy without a picturesque sunset that day, but still it invited me to tune into my surroundings, and inhale and exhale more deeply, with the abundance of fresh air around me.
In a smart move, participants were told to put on the designated wireless headphones on each mat for the class. That way, we would be able to receive instructions clearly as though the teacher is right beside us, even if we were at the back of the class.
Wearing a headset while doing downward dogs and forward-bending poses like warrior 3 wasn’t part of my expectations, but thankfully, the class was Hatha-based (which involved holding poses and slow-paced transitions) and the headset stayed put throughout my careful movements. Calming, ambient music accompanied the teacher’s instructions, taking my mind off work.
The main drawbacks of using wireless headphones were the slight, occasional noise in the transmission, and that they physically restricted me from fully turning my neck in a lying spinal twist. Nonetheless, having the class conducted with wireless headphones, along with the teacher’s gentle coaxing voice, allowed me to immerse confidently in the session without feeling the need to peek at what the other participants were doing.
I don’t know about you, but I’m one of those who enjoys lingering at relaxing outdoor spaces to soak in the vibes and reflect after an event. After we wiped down the yoga mat and blocks with the disinfectant provided, we were told to exit SkyPark promptly in a group-by-group fashion, in accordance with safe distancing measures. No mingling. I know, it’s all for the greater good, so we should definitely play by the rules. But I found the ending a tad anticlimactic, and my introverted self craving social interactions as I left the place. Until we learn how to live with Covid-19 as an endemic virus, I suppose events will be muted and controlled like this.
All things considered, yes. With the strict adherence to safe distancing measures, the SkyPark Yoga experience may feel like a cross between a yoga retreat and a silent retreat. But in all honesty, doing yoga in an iconic spot like the Marina Bay Sands SkyPark, with gorgeous city views to boot, is bound to rejuvenate you no matter what.
Do it for the view, and because it’s an escape from the daily grind. It’s the mini-retreat you never knew you needed. You will return to your work desk feeling 10 notches less stress, and damn proud at having made your escapade happen. At least I did. And I’ll be keeping this in mind the next time I need a mental health break.
Venue: Marina Bay Sands SkyPark
Schedule: 6:45am and 8am daily except Wednesdays; 6:30pm and 7:45pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays, starting from July 20, 2021
Class duration: 45 minutes