Yoga in Arambol and Mandrem

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Arambol, India

Yoga in Arambol and Mandrem Reviews

alexchan alexchan
122 reviews
Plenty of choices; don't commit and play it by ear Dec 06, 2013
There are countless options for yoga in Arambol, spanning all sorts of styles. Your best option is not to commit to any one and try out the different styles and teachers. You’ll have less options in Mandrem. Here are some notes on my experience for my own memory, and also in case it helps anyone out.

Himalaya Iyengar Yoga Centre (Arambol)

Having previously done a beginner Iyengar course at the Himalaya Iyengar Yoga Centre in Dharamsala, I thought I’d do their continuing course here in Arambol. Their premises were tops! They had two yoga studios (with open but netted sides) set amongst coconut trees and their student accommodation huts.

Their continuing course is very much the same as the beginner’s; in fact it has the same poses plus a handful of others, notably the rope-hanging inversions, handstand, forearm balance and reclined padangusthasana. The new poses didn’t take much time to teach and in fact, for our week, we were combined with the beginner’s class.

The class experience this time was different from previous, as classes were led by Sharat, the chief teacher. At other times, they classes may be led by other teachers. His style includes a bit of philosophy which he imparts while we are holding the poses for a long time. It doesn’t go well with some students as they don’t agree with his philosophy, or because we end up holding the poses for a painfully long time!

As with the beginner class back in Dharamsala, their belief is to keep the poses really shallow so as not to compromise the alignment. For an outsider, the Warrior I or II may be so shallow it is unrecognisable; trust me ... a shallow pose doesn’t make it easy when you’re holding for a long time!

Classes are four hours long, starting at 0800. Students are encouraged to come in for self-practice soon after 0700. So, this often means a 0630 wake up, and a 1230 lunch. It ain’t no holiday! There are no drop-in classes, and the five-day course is the closest thing available.

Please beware that their classes are like no other, Iyengar or otherwise. Poses are shallow, alignment is precise, poses are held for a long time and you don’t do a multitude of poses in one class. Not everyone likes Iyengar and not all Iyengar practitioners will like the version here.

Ananda Iyengar Yoga (Arambol)

I did a drop-in class (2h, INR500) led by the Singaporean and German pair. The studio was a rooftop one (with a shelter and open sides) set amongst some coconut trees. The instructors seemed like nice people and the classes were very much like the Iyengar classes I love.

Hatha Yoga with Mahi (Arambol)

I did a drop-in class (2h, INR300) with Mahi. The classes are like the Iyengar classes that I’m used to. Even though the class was referred to as “Hatha Yoga with Mahi”, it was an Iyengar style class. There may be licensing reasons why he hasn’t called it Iyengar but he is as good an Iyengar teacher as any other. Further, he is upbeat and fun, sometimes walking around to give his students and encouraging slap here and there but mostly to give adjustments. He seems like a genuinely nice guy.

The sheltered studio was on a rooftop on Arambol’s side street with shade from some trees.

Balu Ashtanga Yoga (Arambol)

I haven’t done any ashtanga classes before but I bravely dropped in to their afternoon class which was focusing on vinyasa on that day. The students were all teacher trainees. I was rather apprehensive as ashtanga/vinyasa stitches everything into a sequential flow which is very demanding and also taken to the extremes ... it is the form of yoga you want to learn if you want to impress people or do party tricks!

Fortunately, the class is like a harder version of the vinyasa work I do once in a while and I kept up with most of it. I did end up completely drenched just as I do in any vinyasa class.

It is plenty of fun unless/until you injure yourself. I wish I was 30 years younger so I could take this stuff up! Right now, it's just accidents and injuries waiting to happen.

The instructor, Balu, was a nice humble man. The studio was on a rooftop on the main road. For an afternoon class, it was hot and noisy. This particularly class was 90 minutes and cost INR450. Fees vary (INR600 for Mysore style classes and INR300 for beginner classes).

Himalaya Yoga Valley (Mandrem)

The yoga studio was a single storey shed with netted sides on a vacant plot of land. Classes are mostly 90 minutes and cost INR400. The style was vinyasa but at a very relaxed pace, unlike some of the power vinyasa I’ve done elsewhere. This easygoing style complemented the other practice I was doing at the same time elsewhere.

They have several instructors but I only experienced one. She was a young thing who was knowledgeable enough but I couldn’t help think of her as a yoga teacher that was mass-produced in one of the many yoga-teaching centres in India.

Dunes Holiday Village Yoga Studio (Mandrem)

The studio was a single storey shed with netted sides overlooking the beach and restaurant. Classes are 2hours and cost INR300. The style was hatha, but not too different from Himalaya Yoga Valley next door. Again, it was an easygoing style which complemented my other practice I was doing at the same time elsewhere.
One of the yoga studios at Himalay…
One of the yoga studios at Himalay…
Student accommodation ohuts at Him…
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