“It’s a laid back, relaxed life in Phnom Penh,” yoga and pilates teacher Kate Liana acknowledges, but adds, “there are a lot of stressors that creep up on you.” Kate lists some of these worries: medical care, being asked for bribes, crossing the street, and I can quickly feel tension envelop my body and my shoulders start to creep up around my ears. This is why, Kate explains, I should come to her Pilates class. And if you’re in Phnom Penh on holiday, it goes without saying you should get as unwound as you can get.
“It’s important to find healthy ways of de-stressing. There’s a big drinking and partying culture here, which is nice — it’s communal and it’s everywhere, but ultimately it adds to more exhaustion and can result in burnout after a while. You want to balance that with healthy things like Pilates, yoga and meditation.”
Many of the gyms in Phnom Penh offer yoga classes, including the InterContinental, the Place, and the Sofitel. These courses are meant for hotel guests or gym members, but day passes can be had for $10-15. Kate also teaches Pilates at the InterCon twice a week and their class lineup is quite good.
Kundalini Yoga House also offers yoga courses. Their primary offering is Kundalini yoga, sometimes called the “yoga of awareness”, which focuses on attuned consciousness through chanting and breath work. They also offer pre- and post-natal yoga classes, Pilates classes and yoga for kids by appointments on Sundays. Classes for foreigners at Kundalini Yoga House cost $9.
If you are looking for both beginners classes and more serious, challenging yoga, NataRaj Yoga offers Vinyasa flow, Ashtanga yoga, introductory classes and workshops. NataRaj offers two or three yoga classes each day and Kate also teaches Pilates classes on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and Sunday mornings. Classes for foreigners cost $9 and 10 classes cost $80. NataRaj also organises various yoga and cleansing retreats.
Whether you’re a seasoned hand at yoga and Pilates or a complete beginner, there are classes in town to meet your needs. “It’s great for your body and your mind,” Kate told me. “It’s a great workout, improves your flexibility and balance, and helps your concentration and relaxation as well as burns calories. Your body will thank you in the morning!”
Private individual and group yoga and pilates classes.
T: (017) 236 025
Kundalini Yoga House
#204 St 322 (between St 63 and St 57), Phnom Penh.
T: (092) 429 835
#52 St 302, Phnom Penh.
T: (012) 739 284; (012) 739 419
90 Sihanouk Blvd, Phnom Penh
T: (023) 999 799
So FIT at the Sofitel Hotel
26 Old August Site, Sothearos Blvd, Phnom Penh
T: (023) 999 200
InterContinental Hotel Gym
296 Mao Tse Tung Blvd, Phnom Penh
T: (023) 424 888 ext. 4721
By Lina Goldberg
Last updated on 8th August, 2014.