As a newcomer to Shanghai, and one whose Chinese vocabulary does not span much further than “Ni hao,” I was in a bit over my head trying to navigate the huge city when I first arrived. Within the first week, however, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that there is a very friendly, welcoming English-speaking expat community, many of whom are eager and active yogis. I would quickly find out that there are tons of yoga studios scattered all around Shanghai, the vast majority of which offer classes in Chinese, English, and mixed languages. As a result, I decided that a great way to explore the city and meet more of these English-speaking yogis would be to embark on a free trial tour of Shanghai’s numerous studios.
During my tour, I have come across a number of fascinating people and classes. Of the studios I have tried out, my favorite have been Red Door, Y+, and Yoga Space.
- Red Door yoga is a tiny studio that offers only Ashtanga classes, all of which are taught by the studio’s owner, Rob. While Red Door might be a bit pricey, the classes are tons of fun and Rob is a great guy.
- Y+ has three separate locations across Shanghai, and each one is very nice. The Y+ studios are probably the biggest in Shanghai, fully equipped with spacious locker rooms and multiple studio spaces. While Y+ has arguably the best facilities in Shanghai, it is also among the most expensive.
- Yoga Space: this is my favorite studio in Shanghai, maybe because I have spent the most time there, so my opinion might be a bit biased in that regard. Taking advantage of a new promotion aimed toward increasing the number of male members, I was able to prolong my free yoga tour of Shanghai with a free month at Yoga Space, and it was fantastic. Although the facilities are not as big as Y+, which causes classes to feel a bit cramped at times, the quality of the classes is always high due to their wonderful staff. But beyond the classes and the teachers, Yoga Space also offers a beautiful little lounge area outside the classes where it is common to find everyone sitting, or laying, as they sip tea and chat with their fellow yogis. And if you are not lucky enough to have a free month offer at your disposal, membership prices are very reasonable.
But while Yoga Space might have been my favorite studio, there could very well be another one out there for you. What is important to know is that Shanghai, with its vast array of yoga studios and enthusiasts, has all your yoga needs covered. And if you play your cards right, you might not even have to pay for it.
Thanks to Jon Saft for this great contribution to The Yoga Trail!