For those constantly on the lookout for new and interesting workouts, we’ve got just the thing. Ever thought of taking yoga to the next level? We mean that literally by the way. In this special interview, we speak to Reiko Soo, the founder of Flyoga and owner of Dreams Dance Studio, where one can partake in one-of-a-kind workouts and learn to fly.
How did you start Flyoga?
I was teaching yoga previously for almost ten years before I started Flyoga. About six or seven back they had a fatwa on yoga and it was banned so a lot of yoga teachers were out of work. I had to find an alternative – I took a pole instructor course first and I started teaching pole and after that my partner in pole brought in aerial fitness. And I told her that those stretching exercises before you warm up using silk, they’re rather similar to yoga. I suggested using a hammock to make it easier for people instead of using two pieces of silk. She taught me the safety part of using silk and hammock while I came up with a syllabus of converting floor yoga poses into Flyoga. It took me a year plus to come up with the basic syllabus.
I asked my yoga master who is the president of the Malaysian Yoga Society to try it out and he said it was good because it helps people understand yoga a little better. And he wrote me an endorsement letter so we are endorsed under the Malaysian Yoga Society. It’s been four years since and we have a branch in Plaza Damas and five studios in Hong Kong.
Can beginners do it?
Yes! You might feel a little intimidated at first but once you get up there, it helps you understand yoga poses better. Invert poses such as headstand and handstand, if you can’t do it after a year of trying at a regular yoga class, you will drop out because it’s repeating the same stuff over and over again. Look at Bikram and hot yoga now, not many people are doing it because it’s a repetition of 25 or 26 poses at every single class and people get bored. I have courses for beginners, fly flow 1 for intermediate, fly flow 2, fly flow 3, I also have fly yoga partner and it evolves. Hopefully it won’t die off so easily.
Could you describe how is Flyoga different to traditional yoga?
Flyoga lets you get deeper into poses. it makes normal floor yoga poses more challenging and difficult yoga poses easier up on the hammock. Any invert exercise, once you’re up on the hammock, you’re hanging stress-free without any pressure on your joints. People always put pressure on their neck when they attempt headstands because they think you have to stand on your head but it’s not, you’re just activating your chakra with contact with the earth. We do inverts to get the blood circulating to your brains.
Are there any injury risks with Flyoga?
Not really because it has less impact on your joints. When you do regular headstands, your elbows will be on the floor so if you feel pressure on your neck, the pressure will be diverted to your elbows and your shoulder starts to drop and it’s rather dangerous if you don’t have a good teacher.
What are the benefits of Flyoga?
Decompression of your spine because you’re hanging upside down. Anti-aging, anti-sagging and hair growth. For women, it’s good for your womb because your uterus drops easily so when you go upside down, it helps you strengthen your womb and productive system. It’s fun and easy. It’s low impact on all your joints. It helps with your core balance and strength. It builds your alignment.
Tell us more about your classes.
We are open from Mondays to Thursdays. We are off on Fridays and we open on Saturday mornings. One class is an hour but it’s usually not enough.
How often would you suggest doing Flyoga?
Flyoga costs a little more than normal yoga – we charge RM160 for four classes. There are only 10 students or less per class and there’s personal attention from your instructor. Most of my students come in once a week but they usually want more. For those who want to come in twice a week, we charge RM250 a month. If you do other classes plus Flyoga, we only charge RM120 for Flyoga.
How would you recommend slotting in an exercise routine for those who have long working hours?
If you think of it, it’s only the part where you need to get from your office to your fitness center that makes you lazy. Once you’re in there and if you enjoy yourself. Get an exercise regime that you have a passion for and you have fun doing it. If it de-stresses you properly, you’ll want to go back even if you’re busy.
What other classes do you have?
Besides Flyoga, we offer pole fitness and aerial hoop and these are unique workouts that you can’t get elsewhere.
Tell us more about Aerial Hoop.
Aerial hoop is more like a Cirque du Soleil type of exercise – the feeling of being airborne. It’s new here and we don’t teach more than 6 people in a class so that they have pairs. It’s a good exercise for those who want to build their stamina, upper body strength and core control. It also helps with flexibility. It’s not for a a lot of people because your hands will have lots of calluses. The good thing is you feel satisfied every time you get to do a pose and an extra boost of confidence.
For workouts like pole, how do convince someone to get past the sleazy connotation?
That’s why with the name of our workout; we call it pole fitness instead of pole dancing. Our syllabus here is more on targeting the tricks rather than dancing. It builds stamina and strengths. We don’t wear bikini tops here – we wear normal shorts and tops. There’s nothing sleazy about it, it’s pure strength and how it’s labeled.
Dream Dance Studio has branches at SS15 in Subang Jaya, Plaza Activo at Bandar Sri Damansara, Aravin Yoga at Plaza Damas and Viva Vertical Stage near Asian Heritage Row and five locations in Hong Kong. Call +6017-331 1688 or email [email protected]