Hippies, chanting, and weird clothes. Just some of the things some people think of when yoga comes to mind. Most of who have probably never tried it.
Not me. I love a good bit of yoga. I first tried it in Argentina and regularly went to a class when living in London. A couple of years ago I even decided to go on a yoga retreat to Spain instead of going on a guy’s golfing trip (much to the bemusement of my friends).
I like the general vibe of yoga studios, the people who go, the physical challenge, the way it chills you out and the subsequent feel good factor.
Yoga is gaining popularity across the globe and the yoga scene in Colombia is no exception.
As explained by, Andrea Chehebar founder of 108 Yoga in Poblado, “the taboos that surrounded yoga are disappearing and people no longer think of it as some sort of religion, just good exercise.”
After living in Miami for 10 years, Andrea returned to Medellín and realized that there wasn’t any yoga studios like those she found in the US.
So she built her own and over the past four years, she has built up 108 Yoga to encompass three studios, five teachers, and an accreditation with the reputable Yoga Alliance.
The cool looking studio is purpose-built and is just in front of the popular church La Visitación in Poblado. It is a 10 minute metro bus ride from Estación Poblado and clearly sign-posted from the main road Calle 5 Sur.
As soon as you walk into the building, you know you are in the right place. It’s open, colorful, with a selection of yoga goods, flowers and healthy looking teas/people.
There are three studios, two of which are smaller and fit around eight people each, with the larger one accommodating around 20. The average class size is approximately eight people.
The focus of 108 Yoga is on the physical benefits of the practice, rather than a focus on the spiritual side, although they do ‘omms’ at the start of the class (don’t worry – no hand holding necessary).
The classes on offer are diverse, ranging from Yoga Basico (beginner level) to Power Yoga (more physically challenging), Hot Yoga (yoga in a hot room) to Yoga planet (yoga for kids).
The teachers each have their own distinct styles of teaching and classes are for all levels. There is a bit of everything for everyone (Vinyassa to Ashtanga), from seasoned yogi professionals to the novice.
You don’t need to reserve a spot for the classes apart from hot yoga (it’s popular and you need to book online/over the phone), so you can rock up, pay your money and go to the class.
The cost ranges from 30,000 pesos ($15) for a pick up class to 20,000 pesos ($10) per class if you do a bulk purchase. Not cheap, but then you get what you pay for.
Mat usage is included (apart from the hot yoga where it is 2,500 pesos to rent) but there are some available to buy from 63,000 pesos ($32) and there are toilets to get changed if your yoga get up doesn’t quite work in the office.
There were eight people in the beginner class I went to. It was cozy but the teacher was very good. The postures were similar to what I had done before (downward dog, tree, child pose etc. for those versed in yoga speak), with some slight variances.
Angela, the teacher, was patient and friendly, and would help out when I got confused.
The trickiest part was when I had to close my eyes. The class is all in Spanish, so when I didn’t understand something I had to do a one eye closed the other squinting type thing.
There were also a couple of awkward moments when eyes were open. I couldn’t see what Angela was doing at one point so I had to check out what position my fellow yogis were in. Bit awkward when they are bending over, but sometimes, needs must!
There was music accompanying the class, think chill out music, rather than people singing hymns, and overall it was a very enjoyable way to spend a Monday evening.
I would definitely recommend 108 Yoga. The schedule can be found here along with class prices and offers.
They don’t do retreats just yet but they are having an event on September 21, 2014, where they do 108 salutations at an outdoor venue (to be confirmed) for world peace and donate the proceeds to local charities.
Call me a hippie, but I for one will definitely be going.