June 21, 2014

Finding the Perfect Yoga Class in a New City. ~ Andrea Leber

Bakasana in St.Kilda_AndreaLeber

I’ve lived in Germany, France, Hungary and Malaysia, then spent seven years in the UK and finally, two years ago, moved to the other side of the world: to Melbourne.

Apart from the usual challenges relocating always throws at us (no matter how often we’ve gone through the whole process), if you’re a dedicated yogi, a particular challenge is finding a new place to roll out your mat.

No, not just any yoga studio, but somewhere that resonates, where you love the vibe, connect with the teacher, and that will soon become your new “yoga home.”

Again and again I realised that while it’s easy to get a guide book that helps you with getting to know your new city, or to find restaurant guides, it’s impossible to get your hands on a yoga guide that talks you through all the options to stretch and bend after you’ve finished unpacking.

For me, it’s always been trial and error and a time-consuming, exhausting and costly process.

After all, how many classes at how many different studios can you try out (and pay for!) until you either give up or are lucky enough to find the perfect spot? And what do you do when you travel for business, you don’t know anyone to ask, and your schedule simply doesn’t allow for trying out yoga spots?

Usually the guys at reception aren’t the most reliable resource when it comes to yoga.

After arriving Down Under I simply decided to research the guide I wished existed myself, and then share it with fellow yogis. I wanted it to be a guide that tells readers about what’s available, what’s the vibe, what other yogis say about classes and studios, and where are the super interesting, quirky and simply different classes to try out.

Heres the top 10 of what Melbourne has to offer when it comes to unusual & quirky classes:

>> Listen to talks by visiting saints and discuss their pearls of wisdom over a complimentary veggie dinner at Urban Yoga.

>> Salute iconic Luna Park every time you stretch up your arms and look through the panoramic windows at Ihana Yoga.

>> Practice at a studio that has no sticky mats but a history stretching back almost 50 years, at Mangala Studios.

>> Immerse yourself in a singing bowl meditation at Ohana Yoga.

>> Float through your practice like you’ve never done it before, following the innovative fusion of styles at SomaChi.

>> Finish up your last postures while looking forward to sharing the chai that’s brewing—every morning at the Ashtanga Yoga Centre of Melbourne.

>> Soak up the playful vibe and roll out your mat between retro furniture at the innovative and quirky The Yoga Lab.

>> Watch the world upside down while suspended in gorgeous silks at the airy and spacious Body Flow Yoga.

>> Practice within the serenity of a church yard, immersed in light that’s seeping through multicoloured windows at Yoga Dance of Life.

>> Be taught by a cheerful Swami in an orange robe and enjoy the satisfaction of supporting a global non for profit organisation at Yoga in Daily Life.

I wanted a “Lonely Planet for Yoga,” and a guide that simply tells it the way it is, just as a good friend would do.

And maybe the guide inspires others to go off and research booklets for their own cities!

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Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Author’s own.

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Andrea Leber