Over the past few years Shanghai’s yoga scene been on the up and up. This new found mainstream success has created a market for new wave yoga styles which some find unorthodox. Corporate agent turned yoga instructor Amy Aichholz meets us in Jing’An Sculpture Park to discuss the art of relaxation.
Where are we and why have you brought us here?
We’re in Jing’An Sculpture Park and the reason I’ve brought you here is because it’s my favourite place to go and escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday Shanghai.
What makes it unique from other parks?
The sculptures for one. Two, there’s just not very many people so you really can escape. There’s less going on than in other parks and it’s quiet.
Is life as a yoga teacher in Shanghai as tranquil and calm as one might imagine?
It can be, definitely. It’s way more calm and tranquil than when I used to work in corporate, absolutely!
Tell me about the yoga scene in Shanghai.
The yoga scene is fantastic! There is so much energy around yoga here and so many local people loving it. When we first came, five years ago, it was just on the rise but it’s grown and the interest is now phenomenal.
How did you get into yoga?
In 1999, when I graduated from university and started my corporate job, I noticed that I felt stiff and had some pain in my back and shoulders. I knew I had to do something physical so I joined a gym. I noticed that they offered yoga class so I thought I’d give it a try. I tried it and loved it! I stopped doing the other stuff because I felt that yoga gave me everything I needed: strength, flexibility and a deeper connection to things than I got from just pumping weights.
What style of yoga do you practice?
The main style that I do is called vinyasa flow. The poses move from one to the next, in connection with the breath, to form a synchronised movement. Other styles might hold the pose for up to five minutes. Mine is a little more athletic in that sense.
What is the most popular kind of yoga in Shanghai?
Hot yoga is very popular in Shanghai and at Y+. It’s a set yoga sequence that’s practiced in a hot room, usually around 40 degrees centigrade.
What demographic are you missing in your clients and what would you say to encourage them to give it a try?
Well, I have some male students, but most of my students are women. I think men can be a little intimidated by yoga because they feel they aren’t flexible enough to do it, which is just a reason why they should do it. You need equal amounts of strength and flexibility in your body to really be in balance. Men are probably some of the people who need yoga most.
|Jing’An Sculpture Park
128 Shimen Er Lu
Metro: West Nanjing Road (Line 2)
|Y+ Yoga Center
2/F, 202 Hubin Lu
Metro: Huangpi Lu (Line 1)
|Y+ Yoga Center
2/F, Blg 2, 299 Fuxing Xi Lu