I don’t normally endorse anything that isn’t food related on this blog, but I really want to endorse the yoga studio that I’ve been attending. I just finished my tenth class on a ten class pass and I can’t be more impressed.
I first heard of YogaShala from a yoga-enthusiast friend from India. They practise Mysore style Ashtanga yoga, inspired by the Patthabi Jois Institute and this class is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced in a yoga setting.
Here are my reasons:
1) It is completely personalised training. You come in, they teach you a number of asanas and then you memorise them at home. Over the weeks and months, they teach you more and more moves.There is no teacher leading the class at the front, instead — everyone is practising at their own pace, and the teacher moves around helping you perfect your moves, rather than simply standing at the front of class and showing you moves you should already know by now. Perfect because it really trains you to be able to go home and practise without anyone leading you.
2) Individual, personal attention has also meant that at every class I learn something new about various asanas. I have spent months practising in other yoga studios without truly learning how to do any particular asana. Here at Yogashala, I learn something new everyday about the simplest of moves, such as my downward dog. I could spend 2 years doing yoga at a teacher led class at Pure or I could 6 months at YogaShala and I think I would learn more at Yogashala. My body is being worked like it has never been worked before. Yes, they are probably twice as expensive as a package at True/Absolute/Pure, but in all honesty I am getting way more bang for my buck here. I have never experienced yoga like I do here.
3) This place is real. Class is held in one long room in a building in Tanjong Pagar. There are no frills. There are simple clean showers outside. Class prices are fixed — my biggest gripe about commercial studios like Pure/Absolute/True are that they are corporate demons. They will hound you to join them, they will offer you complicated package after package, they will tie you to a 2 year contract. Bad luck if you don’t manage to bargain down to a good price. It’s exhausting and ingenuine. These places are like the McDonalds’ of the yoga industry. Yogashala doesn’t do packages. Their prices are fixed and made obvious on the website. The owner is right there and I love how humble and genuine and intimate their service is. The first time I signed up I told them I needed to go draw cash to pay my fees. James, the owner and primary teacher, told me, “Don’t worry about it, just pay us at your next class.” That convinced me this was the kinda place I wanted to train in yoga from.
4) There is no air-con. The fans don’t get turned on half the time. There are a few open windows and plenty of natural, profuse SWEATING. I am a fan of hot yoga, I did months of Bikram few years back, but i cannot stand the artificial heat Bikram uses. It is suffocating, it is unnatural and I don’t like it. Bikram is right when he says that heat helps your yoga practise, but in a country like Singapore, with year-round hot weather, why do you need a heater? I sweat buckets at this place, no joke.
5) They have flexible class hours. Drop in anytime between 7 and 9.30am. Or 5.45pm and 7.30pm. There’s no stress about being late for class and not being allowed in. You drop in when you can.
What more reason do you need? I am not gaining anything from Yogashala by endorsing them through this blog, I am merely ecstatic that I have found something real and genuine in a city that can often seem too plastic. Don’t go joining in droves though, I like my classes small and intimate.