Singapore as it turned out was a great stop. Good food, good fun and good practice.
I arrived in Singapore on a Friday night planning to spend Saturday checking out the three studios with Mysore programs and then trying each of them during the week I was in town. Part of the Ashtanga “explosion” in East Asia, there are three studios in Singapore with morning Mysore classes – Pure Yoga (on Orchard Rd.), Ashtanga Singapore (on Club Street in Chinatown) and Ashtanga Yoga Singapore (then in Little India, now on Mosque Street in Chinatown). I ended up staying in Little India at the Perak Hotel (great value and location), I went to Ashtanga Yoga Singapore first since it was a quick walk at 6 am and I had heard good things about the teacher Stanley Alim and he had just been authorized to teach.
The studio was on the second floor of a community arts building on Kerbau Street, near the Little India MRT station. An old building it faces a little green space which in the evening turned into a beer/tea garden where south Indians gather to watch Chennai movies and Tamil TV. You enter the main door and then climb a set of stairs to the second floor where the practice room appears right at the top of the stairs. There is no reception, no sign-in, nothing other than Stanley who either knows you or doesn’t and then asks where you practice, how long you have practiced and do you have any injuries that he should know about. We went through our introductions and I took a place on the floor with about 4 or 5 other people.
The studio is not air-conditioned which required some pretty careful maneuvers to keep from slipping into Hanumanasana by accident. I got some good advice from Stanley and slowly began to get used to practicing in Singapore’s hot, humid climate. By the end of the week, I had actually grown to love the heat and humidity, but had to tell myself every morning to take it easy and to remember that things stretch much more when they are heated than they may normally….
Anyway, Stanley’s helpful instruction, the convenience of the location and the almost storefront nature of the practice space left me so comfortable that I never ventured to the other two studios. Pure I have used in Hong Kong. They are a group of studios, well-run and very swank. I have no information on the other studio in Chinatown, other than it is also on the ground floor of a traditional shop building and has a regular program. When I stopped by they were already closed and I could only check out the building and pick up a schedule.
For what it is worth, I would highly recommend Stanley Lim’s practice group, if you are in Singapore for business or passing through from Australia or the west coast of the US on your way to Mysore it is a great first stop.
As an aside, Stanley has given up the location in Little India and found a permanent space in Chinatown, which is actually more convenient if you are traveling for business. The new address is 36A Mosque Street, 2nd floor. Look him up, if you are passing through.
Since I was such a slug about checking out the other studios, if anyone has any specific information, please feel free to post it to the comments section.