Melbourne

ROMANCED BY Melbourne’s sophisticated vibrancy, a heartfelt pull drew me to explore yoga in Australia’s cultural capital. Travelling from my hometown of Byron Bay, my only understanding of Melbourne was its reputation for trendy cafés and the latest fashion, so I expected the yoga scene to be much the same: hot yogis practicing in unique, architect-designed spaces in the coolest of yoga threads. What I found was refreshing: a vibrant and diverse yoga community with studios offering traditional practices as well as the most current styles emerging on the yoga scene. During my short venture I went on a serious yoga binge, but only really scraped the surface of yogic activities; there are easily more than 100 spaces offering yoga in this progressive city.

South Side Melbourne Yoga (Inner south east)

I based myself in Prahran and explored the Chapel St Precinct, the place to be for yoga aficionados. There’s a studio on almost every corner; I squeezed in seven yoga classes in four days, all within walking distance or short tram ride from my base.

Happy Melon is a chic, oh so Melbourne space, co-owned by our cover model, Masha G. With a warm, owery courtyard and intentionally designed interior, the studio is inviting, encouraging yogis to explore their practice with a focus on mindfulness. Meditation classes are taught in a bright space perfect for stillness and gratitude.

Entering One Hot Yoga feels like stepping into a stylish office, clearly appealing to corporate yogis. One of the first of its kind of super luxe spaces, One Hot set the bar for a new style of architect-designed yoga studio. There are mints on entry and mirrors for you to watch yourself getting sweaty in one of their Signature Flow practices.

Body Flow Yoga is simple and non-pretentious; classes are with experienced teachers and include the popular aerial yoga practiced in hammock- like ‘silks’ strung from the ceiling (in Savasana you’ll feel like a caterpillar in a cocoon). Windows adorn three walls of the yoga space in the old, revamped building.

Australian Yoga Academy hosts some of the most popular teacher trainings in Victoria and teachers at their three studios (in Prahran, Northcote and Sedan) are highly respected. KX Yoga is a refuge within the hustle and bustle. It’s friendly and inclusive and classes range from sweaty vinyasa to chilled out yin.

Ihana Yoga in St Kilda and Hampton came highly recommended by my yogi friends, and teachers here are known for their anatomical knowledge.

Humming Puppy is the most unique yoga studio I’ve ever visited. Walking into this dimly lit space feels like entering a prestigious club. At reception you’re greeted with herbal tea or coconut water to enjoy while icking through a GQ-style magazine or just looking kind of important. HP has found its niche among Melbourne city slickers. The shala is futuristic with its black walls and three levels of yoga mats. Make your way to your numbered mat and practice while enjoying the ‘hum’ through surround sound speakers—a combination of frequencies to deepen your experience, leaving you undeniably more relaxed than when you arrived.

In the middle of Melbourne

Yoga 213 is Australia’s first Hip Hop yoga studio with loud, funky beats providing the backdrop to classes. The stylish, fresh space invites the trendiest yogis to indulge in some of the most unique classes around.

On the north side of Melbourne

A world away from the trendy city spaces popping up, Gertrude St Yoga is a home away from home. Dark wooden oorboards create an old terraced home vibe, and the space is dotted with Hindu deities and simple decor. Classes are authentic and friendly; you could rock up in your tracksuit pants and no one would bat an eyelid.

Good Vibes Yoga in Northcote has been lovingly designed. It’s light with a sense of simplicity and sustainability, earthy colours and plants creating an organic feel and instant calm. Classes are taught by popular and experienced teachers offering mellow, yin and vinyasa flow.

Prana House is a beautiful, white space with two big yoga shalas and treatment rooms. A morning practice in the front room is delicious as the sun streams in. The studio is elegant and invites people from all walks of life to practice together and enjoy tea after class. With more than 10 different yoga styles to choose from, including their famous ‘enter the zero stress zone’ Yoga Nidra, Prana House provides a peaceful urban sanctuary.

Further north, Yoga Flame is one of the only studios in Melbourne’s north-west, offering a range of classes, a thriving yoga community and regular workshops. If you’re a yoga teacher, make sure to ask if the studio offers discounts. Some studios get busy, so jump online to book your space beforehand.

Yogic eats

Never failing to impress with its funky dining options, the healthy vegetarian and vegan joints are no exception. Around Prahran you’ll find a handful of healthy delights on Chapel Street. Pressed Juices, Nutrition Bar and The House of Nutrition were my favourites. The Prahran Market is home to a vibrant collection of international and local goodies, including an organic grocer, cheap eat cafés and fruit and vegetables. Close to Happy Melon is a hidden café, Walk Don’t Run, which I would definitely recommended for unique breakfast options and vegan desserts.

Fitzroy’s eclectic Brunswick Street is home to Veggie Bar and Radhey Kitchen and Chai Bar, my two favourite stops for post- yoga goodness. The Veggie Bar, which feels like a huge underground diner, is the go-to for vegos looking for a diverse menu. Radhey Chai bar is a humble space with a vegan, soul-conscious menu. Kirtan music plays in the background and you’re free to browse the Hindu books while sipping on your chai. Still in Fitzroy, The Cruelty Free Shop is a vegan’s paradise, selling everything from chocolate to handbags.

If you’re a health food junkie, make the trip to Northcote for Terra Madre Health Food Store (right across the road from Good Vibes Yoga). This quirky space is packed to the brim with fresh organic fruit and veg, bulk foods, deserts and so much more. Pana Chocolate Café in Richmond and Monk Bodhi Dharma in Balaclava also came highly recommended by my yogi friends.

And treats…

After some serious yoga-ing, I made an essential visit to Beyond Rest, a float centre in Prahran. The pod containing 500 kilograms of Epsom salts, eases tired muscles and infuses your body with minerals. Energetically, the experience is phenomenal. During an hour of total sensory deprivation (you pull down a lid on the ‘pod’ and turn out the light so you’re in complete darkness and silence) you can’t help but begin reflecting on life’s existential questions. When I emerged I felt more expansive and connected to those around me.

Leaving Melbourne was bittersweet. I had found myself so quickly welcomed into the city’s inspirational yoga community and felt sad to leave the place where I could step outside at any time and find a beautiful studio just a short stroll away. “Could I live here?” I wondered as I nostalgically took my last wander through the health food store, stocking up on goodies. Although I’d spent the past week in the big smoke, I felt the kind of calm I would after a relaxing getaway. I was ready to take on the hustle and bustle of my inner world after finding stillness in the city.