Yoga in Siem Reap update

What we say: 3.5 stars

Siem Reap offers plenty of opportunities to practise yoga, both for yoga-nuts and for first-timers, for whom the studios’ location far away from home may provide the perfect opportunity to try without running the risk for evermore of bumping into your classmates in your local supermarket, knowing that they know that you can’t chaturanga for toffee.

A perfectly executed downward facing dog

A perfectly executed downward-facing dog.

A lot has happened since the last posting on yoga in Siem Reap, not least the departure of Carla Mardell of Uberoum Studio, a devastating event whose repercussions will be felt, in my life at least, for many moons to come. For some reason she prefers New Zealand to graciously testing the limits of her resistance and not laughing out loud at my endless mid-bakasana face plants. Bizarre girl.

All the classes below are run on a drop-in basis, though if there are more than two or three of you then perhaps you should give them a call. Hariharalaya, Th!nk Fitness and the yoga and reiki girls in the last paragraph also run private classes which you can discuss with them individually.

The Peace Cafe, a lovely garden restaurant/fair-trade shop/community centre has been hosting classes for years. The current online schedule is a little out of date so beware, and they’re now running classes in the traditional Khmer building (wooden upstairs, brick downstairs) every morning from Monday to Thursday from 08:30 to 09:45. The fee is $6.

Staying with the garden theme, the Hariharalaya Retreat Centre is a few miles out of town, but very much worth the trip. Set in the stunning countryside to the east of Bakong temple, Hariharalaya is a guesthouse with a world of difference. Only two years old, the centre is on a large piece of land that features permacultured fruit and vegetable gardens (all the better to provide for the delicious vegan food they make here), dormitories, mud baths, meditation huts, a cool and naturally ventilated outdoor yoga studio, a creativity centre and all kinds of weird and wonderful things. Yoga classes are held every morning at 07:00, and the drop-in rate for yoga and breakfast is $7. They also host evening meditation classes from 18:00 to 19:00, and these are also $7, for the class and dinner – a bliss bargain. Classes and meals are free for guests.

Back in town again, the Siem Reap Hostel has recently expanded its offerings and classes are now available on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 18:30, and on Wednesdays at 18:00. Classes are only $5.

If you’d like to try something a little different, the Th!nk Fitness Studio holds yoga fusion classes on Tuesdays and Fridays at 08:30 and on Thursdays at 18:30. Yoga fusion is a mix of yoga, tai-chi and pilates and the classes are very popular with participants. The studio is at 595 Hip Guan Street (between the two streets that link Central Market and the river, behind ANZ bank, and a few doors down from Frangipani Spa) and classes are $6.

A new studio has just opened on the other side of town that has no real name as such, except Yoga & Reiki, which is all the little sign on the door outside says. They hold regular classes at 18:00 every weekday evening and on Saturday and Sunday mornings at 09:00. The week classes are a gentler hatha yoga, while the weekend Ashtanga classes will give participants more of a challenge. The fee is $6. To find them, go to the Quad Adventure ATV Tours location, and then turn right. The studio is the first building on the left. Confusingly, the right turn is not there on Google Maps, and even more confusingly, there are two Quad Adventure Tours outfits on the same road — you want the second one on the right side as you are going away from town, that is, as you’re heading south/southeast. As the name indicates, reiki is also available.

Peace Café Angkor
Street 26 (off River Road)
T: (063) 965 210 / (092) 177 127

Hariharalaya Retreat Centre
Near Bakong Temple (15km from Central Market)
T: (088) 932 9556

Siem Reap Hostel
7 Makara Street
T: (063) 964 660

Th!nk Fitness
595 Hip Guan Street
T: (092) 956 154

Yoga & Reiki
Wat Damnak area, behind Quad Adventure ATV Tours
T: (097) 743 2458

Last updated: 31st January, 2015

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