Yoga has become my companion for life. I began a serious yoga practice several years ago and it has sustained me, shored me up, and supported me.
Given the cost of yoga classes in Singapore—in most cases, almost double of what I paid in New York City—I have been working on developing a disciplined home practice. You can find me most mornings on my olive green mat, armed with The Women’s Book of Yoga & Health by Linda Sparrow (a gift from a beloved yoga teacher) and several yoga podcasts. I hope my home practice leads me on a path towards an intentional life. It has already increased my awareness of how my body moves and where my limits are, both on and off the mat.
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Having said all that, sometimes I need an instructor and the structure of a class to deepen my understanding of yoga. I have tried at least one class at nearly every yoga studio in Singapore, including the big, corporate chains on Orchard Road and in the CBD. Some recommendations:
COMO Shambhala Urban Escape Singapore is a splurge (introductory offer: 6 sessions for S$135+; block of ten: SG$298.00) but a worthwhile way to spend my money, IMHO. As far as I know, it is the only studio in Singapore to offer restorative yoga, a key element in my weekly practice. Restorative yoga might best described as a supported, conscious body and mind relaxation practice. The more fully one’s body is supported in a restorative yoga posture, the deeper one’s sense of relaxation and surrender will be. Due to a limited knowledge or interest in this form of yoga in Singapore, it is only offered on the last Sunday of the month. Tip: My preferred classes/teachers: Iyengar (Beginner and General)/Jay, Ashtanga (Led)/Denise, and Hatha (Beginner)/Adeline.
Sangha Yoga is my favorite “boutique” studio in Singapore. Angie Goh’s Friday “Sangha Detox Flow 1-2” class at 9:30am de-stresses, detoxes, and enlightens. She emphasizes breath awareness and meditation. Mind you, this class isn’t for beginners! Get ready to practice your favorite inversion: sarvangasana (shoulder stand) or sirshasana (headstand) or adho mukha vrksasana (handstand). Tip: Kanya Kanchana’s “Sangha Flow 1” class and former New Yorker Nadia Faruki’s “Yin and Yang” class are two more reasons to visit this beautiful shophouse on Kandahar Street. Take advantage of Sangha’s introductory offer: SG$50 for three classes.
I love my local Community Centre (CC). Dear American readers: think no-frills YMCA/JCC. The CC’s can be found in every neighborhood—there are three within walking distance of our apartment—and offer a range of sports, arts, and lifestyle classes. (In fact, I’ve registered for a flamenco class that begins in May!) Membership is SG$12 for five years and my intermediate hatha yoga classes cost SG$75 for a series of eight classes. Yes, I have to bring my own mat, but I love the mix of young and old, local and expat, male and female that these classes attract. Tip: I think the CC’s elementary hatha yoga classes are great for total novices who want to learn more about yoga and don’t want to spend all that much.
(Additional credits: Stick figure illustrations via Justine Aldersey-Williams.)