I’ll admit it (and please be nice mamas!) that I’ve never really got the hype around yoga and why it’s meant to be so good for you – after all, I’m a hardcore gym junkie who feels invigorated pounding the pavement, rather than stretching my way through a yoga class. But one thing that does excite me is hot yoga! There’s nothing quite like working up a river of sweat while doing gentle stretches and deep breathing. I like to think of it as getting the most out of my one hour – gaining all the normal benefits of yoga, but adding a thick layer of detox through sweating.
So here I was all set to try out a hot yoga class at Meraki Yoga, a brand new yoga studio launched earlier this year at One-North Residences. Meraki — Greek for “to do something with soul, creativity and love” embodies the atmosphere that this studio aims to provide. Meraki offers both heated and non-heated yoga classes — so far so good! Turns out, the location wasn’t as easy to find as I had assumed it to be. Nevertheless, between driving round in circles for a bit (thanks GPS) and asking security guards at The Biopolis where this elusive studio was located, I finally managed to find the right place.
The first thing that struck me when I entered the studio, was that the space is quite petite when compared to the other yoga giants out there these days. However, this is exactly what Meraki specialises in: small group learning in an intimate atmosphere. Two beautiful studio rooms: a smaller 11-mat room and a bigger 24-mat room, allow for greater teacher-student interaction and a more personal touch. Not surprisingly, my hot yoga class only consisted of one other person and yours truly, making it almost as good as a private class! Too often, other yoga studios have a huge student-teacher ratio, giving it a relatively “packed in like sardines” touch and a more commercial feel, rather than holistic.
My hot yoga class was conducted in the smaller room (heated to 40 degrees, with 40% humidity), and even with just the 3 of us, the warm setting, soft lighting and gentle relaxing music paved the way for an excellent hour of simple stretches. I felt so instantly relaxed that I almost had a short nap when I lay on the mat to start the class! Yen, our instructor, a certified Yoga Teacher for Holistic, Pre-Natal and Akhanda Yoga (Levels 1&2) was super lovely to this yoga newbie. Did I mention that the last time I did hot yoga was some seven years ago? I was a lot lighter then and more flexible! However, Yen started us off nice and slow with simple meditative deep breathing exercises, before moving on to the different postures that hot yoga practices. We did the whole lot – high lunges, chair poses, downward-facing dogs, extended triangles, warriors and the Marichi’s pose. And it was such a pleasant change not being just another number in a large room, fumbling my way through, not really sure if I was doing the right thing.
Here, with just the 2 of us, Yen adjusted our positions constantly and ensured that each pose was done correctly before moving on to the next set. Each time I thought I couldn’t stretch any further, she was right there, pushing me just a little bit more. It was very motivating to see just how much I could achieve with a little persistence. Somehow doing all these positions in a warm environment seemed easier than normal yoga – perhaps heat really does enhance flexibility!
My hour was up all too quickly and soon it was time to cool down. Even though I was completely soaked in sweat, I felt alive and I knew I had just given myself a great workout. The studio provides shower facilities too, and 10 minutes later, I was ready for the next adventure of my day. So if you’re thinking about trying out yoga (heated or non-heated), but don’t want to face a big audience, try Meraki Yoga. You’ll certainly like their small numbers, chilled ambience and qualified teachers!
For more information on their classes and schedule, visit their website.
See you on the mat, mamas!
7 One North Gateway, #01-15 One North Residences, Singapore 138642
Tel: (+65) 6872 3711 or 9172 7712