Yoga

Yoga

Time to de-stress

More on Phnom Penh

For a small city, Phnom Penh offers a diverse range of possibilities for yoga fans. Whether you’re a devoted yogini or yet to bend your limbs to anything resembling a cow pose, the scope is here to extend your practice or try out something completely new, safe in the knowledge that no one you know can see you.

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Established in 2004, the longest-running centre in Phnom Penh is Nataraj Yoga, at 52 Street 302 in BKK1. A project of the Krama Yoga NGO, they run programmes providing yoga training and life skills for young Cambodians, and a yoga therapy programme.

Relax beforehand at Nataraj. : Stuart McDonald.
Relax beforehand at Nataraj. Photo: Stuart McDonald

For the public, Nataraj runs daily classes at the site on Street 302 and also at Samata, health and wellness centre (and spa), on nearby Street 306. The classes include pilates, meditation, private yoga classes and yoga therapy, and cost $9 for drop-ins, or you could try the unlimited one-week yoga class pass for just $45 to really kickstart your programme, or a 10-class pass costs $80. They host regular workshops here as well, so check out their website for information on any upcoming events.

The studios on Street 302 are open- or partially open-air, though protected from the elements, and quite simple. They provide yoga mats free of charge, but you should bring a towel and a water bottle—which you can refill for free. They have showers and changing rooms on site. If you require air-con, then the Samata site is much more upscale, and has a beautiful studio. Prices are the same.

On the other side of Norodom, the Azahar Foundation have remodelled the downstairs of a Khmer villa to create a dedicated studio where they teach regular weekday classes. The cost for a drop-in class is $7, or you can pick up a five-class pass for $30, or a 10-class pass for $60. The classes range from soothing hatha, yin flow or Vinyasa flow basics to more dynamic power core. They’re also the only studio in town that offer fly yoga classes, using ropes and swings to help you achieve deeper postures safely, and dynamically. Ashtanga is also offered. They provide yoga mats for free, and a small towel. You can bring a water bottle which you can fill for free. There are showers and changing rooms as well. They are on a small residential lane a ten minute walk from the trendy Bassac Lane area.

Plenty of space and prayer flags at Azahar Foundation. : Stuart McDonald.
Plenty of space and prayer flags at Azahar Foundation. Photo: Stuart McDonald

If air-con is non-negotiable for you, then you may want to consider The Place, the imposing three-storey gym on Street 51. This is where Phnom Penh’s hot shots go to sweat it out, some a little less effectively than elegantly, but it’s their money. And money is key here. The classes are $15 for a drop in pass. They also offer hot yoga, flow, hatha, stretching, power and gentle yoga classes.

The Place is beautiful, as you would expect for those prices. The changing rooms are all polished dark wood and smoky mirrors that everyone looks good in and hairdryers and things like that. You can ease out your muscles in the 25-metre outdoor pool afterwards if you like. They provide towels—don’t forget to collect one at reception—and water, and yoga mats are included. The Place also offers aerobics, Zumba and Khmer dancing.

Azahar Foundation: #39, Street 21, Tonle Bassac; T: (012) 739 419; http://www.yogaphnompenh.com
Nataraj Yoga: #52, Street 302, BKK1; T: (012) 250 817, (090) 311 341; http://www.yogacambodia.com
The Place: #11, Street 51, BKK1; T: (023) 726 999; http://www.theplace.com.kh/

Reviewed by

Nicky Sullivan is an Irish freelance writer (and aspiring photographer). She has lived in England, Ireland, France, Spain and India, but decided that her tribe and heart are in Cambodia, where she has lived since 2007 despite repeated attempts to leave. She dreams of being as tough as Dervla Murphy, but fears there may be a long way to go. She can’t stand whisky for starters. She was a researcher, writer and coordinator for The Angkor Guidebook: Your Essential Companion to the Temples, now one of the best-selling guidebooks to the temples.

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