(UPDATE: Pulse Yoga is now closed.)
I was flipping over my February issue of Yoga Journal a few days ago and was reading about the booming yoga studios in Asia, particularly HK. What particularly caught my attention was the write-up on mYOGA and Pure Yoga, accompanied by pictures — modern ambience, fantastic HK skyline view, huge shala expanse, zen interiors, black mats laid out in formation with white rolled up towels beside them, hotel amenities in the bathrooms. And I was thinking, Gosh yoga has come a long way from just a yogi practicing on the ground with a heavily-used woven mat underneath him!
My experience of yoga studios till today has been pretty limited. Well, here I am blogging and listing down yoga studios but I have always been one to stick to what I like and hesitate to venture out into unchartered waters. Till recently….
Working in Makati forced me to get out of my comfort zone and attend yoga wherever was convenient lest I opt out of yoga practice altogether.
Then came a call from Chona who was organizing a private class at Pulse Yoga with Tesa. Did I want to join their 5-some for some power yoga? Sure, why not, I said. The die was cast. I was going to venture out into yet another experience.
Due to work and travel circumstances, Chona could not make it to class but last night, 4 of us did. That will be another post altogether as I want to blog about that experience without mixing it up here but let me say that when I arrived at the place, I was pretty much delighted to find a microcosm of HK’s mYOGA or Pure Yoga.
Florida Street in Greenhills used to be what I refer to as the back side of Dad’s and Kamayan where our family would dine during special occasions. Nothing back there really. Just entrances to the buildings fronting EDSA. Till now.
This is the entrance that greeted me. Not shown (I missed out taking shots of those!) are large white tarpaulins on the left wall showing the instructors against a white backdrop doing asanas. My initial thought bubble: WOW!
Stepping inside was a visual delight. Eye candy all over. Pastel green shades for the throw pillows, bright inviting lighting, minimalist decor, a comfy waiting area, fairly large and clean reception area, a cabinet with items for sale, bulletin board, water dispenser, clothes rack with yoga outfits for sale and more.
Right outside the shala is a shoe shelf for storing your footwear. As they knew there were 4 of us, they had already pre-arranged 4 black mats on the floor with white towels each. I thought the mats were from Manduka but Tesa said these were Mandara mats from Malaysia. The 4 of us practiced using these mats and I must say that these were sticky enough. I liked the horizontal groove lines of the mat that gave traction for the ashtanga moves we did.
After practice, we were served Tulsi tea from India (on real teacups, mind you, not disposable styro cups).
Some people say that the bathroom says a lot about the people who live in a house.
Well, Pulse Yoga may have taken this to heart because the changing area-cum-shower/toilet area for ladies was a sight to see. As you walk in, you find almost ceiling-high lockers. Practitioners are each handed their own rent-free padlock and key (really huge padlocks with keys strung on nylon — well thought out way to keep keys around your neck or hanging somewhere safe). You place your stuff inside a locker. The toilet/shower area can hold its own against other modern wash rooms in premier gyms or offices — marbletop counter, baskets with free-to-use bath and hand towels (were those free tampons in the basket as well??), and free liquid soap.
The shower areas are private enough with individualized curtains. Wooden, raised stepping areas are provided in each shower cubicle allowing one to keep clothes dry. From the stepping area, one goes down into the tiled area where you can see a very modern shower area with removable shower head and yes — HOT AND COLD WATER!!!).
Crissy and I took our showers in opposite cubicles, all the time talking about how wonderful it was to take a hot shower right after practice in such posh surroundings.
And this morning, I woke up to a text from them which said:
Good morning, Ms. Jane. It was such a pleasure having you share a class with us yesterday. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns about class or how your body feels. Peace + love + light. Pulse Yoga
I did get such texts after classes from another yoga studio, and I admit that this small gesture of appreciation and concern goes a LONG way to making practitioners feel that the shala looks out for them.
Overall, my first experience at Pulse was truly a positive one and I know that I will be revisiting them.
Of course, a modern, clean and welcoming yoga studio is not the end-all of what a good yoga studio should be. The line-up of teachers must also be considered (they must be qualified and must have the right personality and caring attitude towards their students).
But as I say, the culture of a yoga studio reflects on the owners/management. If you come out of a practice feeling warm, wonderful, wanted and rested, it is probably because your instructor and its staff make you feel so.
I foresee yoga studios eventually enlarging their spaces and probably renovating to provide more amenities. Like HK and other parts of Asia, yoga is slowly expanding its practicing reach here. But for now, it seems like Pulse Yoga has indeed set the local benchmark for what a yoga studio needs to have. I am glad they set up shop — and so close to my home too. Congratulations to everyone at Pulse. And thank you for a wonderful first experience with you.